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  #1  
Old 05-20-2009, 09:28 PM
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Vinyl floor tile question

In one of my rental properties the front foyer has VCT (vinyl composite tile). These were installed probably 30 or more years ago directly (?) on top of the original 120 yr old fir tongue and groove flooring. The tile is old and I need to do something with it. On the most heavily traveled area, the joints in the fir floor have telegraphed up thru the VCT, cracking it. I'm wondering if the same thing will happen again if I put another layer of VCT on top of the existing. Or, will that additional layer of old VCT have a moderating effect on the new VCT?
I know I could put thin plywood on top the tile before installing the VCT, but this would involve removing 4 doors in the foyer and trimming the bottoms. It wouldn't be a big deal except the front door is huge, heavy and hasn't been disturbed in probably 100 years and I don't want to induce any bad mojo into it.
One layer of VCT is thin enough that I won't have to cut any doors. Current VCT is also about 30-20% thicker than the stuff that was installed long ago.
Opinions?
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  #2  
Old 05-20-2009, 10:25 PM
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Sand and refinish the fir floor?
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2009, 10:32 PM
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I've considered that. However, whatever glue they used on the VCT is some kind of eternal bond. It would take a great deal of effort to get the existing tile up and glue removed. I don't think I have the will for it.
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2009, 10:38 PM
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Just put down another layer of the vinyl tiles.

You'll probably have sold the building before they crack through.

Some of the more expensive tiles ($1.25-$1.50) are more than thick enough to take a decent beating.
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2009, 10:50 PM
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Careful working on that stuff, the bond and the tiles were full of asbestos in those days. Don't breath any thing you cut.
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  #6  
Old 05-20-2009, 11:02 PM
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have any of the tiles come loose? This may indicate that the adhesive has past its useful life.

Pull up a corner tile and assess the adhesive and its relation to the substrate.

I would recommend refinishing the wood as well unless you are overcome by the adhesive's holding strength.
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  #7  
Old 05-20-2009, 11:51 PM
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Jolly has a point there...you may want to proceed VERY CAREFULLY where it concerns the tiles altogether...

First...If the floor is "flexing" - are you able to stabilize that area to eliminate the flexing? Otherwise, you know better than anyone else that whatever you do, it will be only temporary 'til the "flexing" comes back and wrecks what you fixed.

Second...Removing the tiles (provided they aren't asbestos!) and sanding down the floor (or removing the T&G) and laying down some serious sub-flooring in that particular area before laying down some serious ceramic tiling instead might be a better route...it's an entryway and you can't hurt yourself for durability if you stick in some serious flooring in that area...
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  #8  
Old 05-21-2009, 03:19 AM
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The condition of the fir and subfloor make a big difference in how to proceed. And if there is any asbestos in the tile or glue then the best course of action is to seal it in place. You can get it tested for about 30.00 if you want to know, maybe even less, the kind of test where you send in some samples in the mail.
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  #9  
Old 05-21-2009, 06:46 AM
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I would remove the old VCT. There is no way to adequately resurface that kind floor. All the old cracks will return. The old VCT will actually cause the new material to crack sooner, as all the movement of the floor is focused on the fault lines. If cheap and easy is the MO, I would cover the floor with thin indoor/outdoor carpet, at least then it can't crack. Otherwise, I would get back to the original floor and assess it's chances of being refinished. The asbestos issue is a possible concern, but unless you are cutting/drilling/sanding the material, I would treat it as negligable.
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  #10  
Old 05-21-2009, 09:17 AM
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Ceramic tile is out because it would raise the floor too high. All doors open in to the foyer. I thought about indoor/outdoor carpet and it's still in the back of my mind, but I'd prefer a floor that can be washed since it's an entrance. The fir is probably in pretty good shape underneath if the rest of the house is any indication. I've removed carpet and linoleum in other parts of the house and either refinished with stain or painted the fir. If I thought the tile would come up relatively easily, I'd pull it up and paint the fir. There are a couple of heat ducts in the foyer and I pulled the grates to see if I could easily raise the tile around the opening. On one duct the tile moved slightly, the other one was immovable. I've also thought about the asbestos issue. I wouldn't sand the tile. I have had good luck laying VCT on top of this tile in some kitchens in this house so I'm not concerned about bonding issues.
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  #11  
Old 05-21-2009, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpolli View Post
The condition of the fir and subfloor make a big difference in how to proceed. And if there is any asbestos in the tile or glue then the best course of action is to seal it in place. You can get it tested for about 30.00 if you want to know, maybe even less, the kind of test where you send in some samples in the mail.
Good advice.
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  #12  
Old 05-21-2009, 05:41 PM
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I removed vct from some of the hardwood floors in my building. The old black mastic they put down in the fifties is like harder than diamond....just kidding....but its about impossible to get off, unless you use a professional floor sander with very coarse grit.

In a rental I probably would reluctantly put down another layer of tile.

When we ran into it in the latest space I remodeled in my building I paid two guys to scrape and scratch for three days and had only about fifteen percent of the room done so we ended up buying new prefinished bamboo and installing it over the black mastic.
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  #13  
Old 05-21-2009, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t walgamuth View Post
I removed vct from some of the hardwood floors in my building. The old black mastic they put down in the fifties is like harder than diamond....just kidding....but its about impossible to get off, unless you use a professional floor sander with very coarse grit.

In a rental I probably would reluctantly put down another layer of tile.

When we ran into it in the latest space I remodeled in my building I paid two guys to scrape and scratch for three days and had only about fifteen percent of the room done so we ended up buying new prefinished bamboo and installing it over the black mastic.
That confirms it. I'm not trying to pull up the tile. The mastic that had dripped down the edge of the floor at the heating grate was definitely black and it was as hard as iron.
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1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
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  #14  
Old 05-21-2009, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyRoger View Post
Careful working on that stuff, the bond and the tiles were full of asbestos in those days. Don't breath any thing you cut.
Doubtful that the tiles have asbestos in them if they were installed in 1979 and if they do, it would be because they were laying around in a warehouse for several years before that and then would only contain up to 3%. The mastic from that era contained no asbestos. Absolutely no danger of mesothelioma from exposure for tearing up a floor like that unless you do it everyday for 20 years and you grind up the stuff in a blender and huff it through a bong. If you are still concerned about this issue, send me a pm.

If you have a paint gun style heater, you may be able to heat the tiles a little and be surprised how easily they will come up. Then you could put down luann and use an undercut saw on the door jambs.

I gotta disagree with BC on going over it with more VCT--telegraphing would definitely be a problem, and the mastic may actually reactivate the mastic under the existing tiles. Also, I used to buy VCT for $.18/tile and sell it for $.60-$.90.
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  #15  
Old 05-21-2009, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpolli View Post
And if there is any asbestos in the tile or glue then the best course of action is to seal it in place. You can get it tested for about 30.00 if you want to know, maybe even less, the kind of test where you send in some samples in the mail.
No offense, but that is marketing at work, and is snake oil.
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