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Most homeowners face a common problem when making repairs in their houses. We’re talking about removing old linoleum. Let’s take a look at whether it is practical to remove old linoleum, how to do it and what should you expect while doing it.
Common Mistakes While Removing Old Linoleum
Somebody might think that removing old linoleum is an easy procedure, but there is a set of rules you should abide by if you don’t want the procedure to be problematic. There are things you can’t do while removing the linoleum.
Do not experiment with different ways to remove old linoleum, as the incorrect approach may the inexperienced workers. Under no conditions should you wipe the layer with sandpaper, drill, split or force cut it with sharp objects.
When the cover integrity is breached, hazardous dust is released into the air. It contains several hazardous substances from the substrate and glutinous mixture used during installation. Among them are asbestos fibers and quartz particles.
Exposure to asbestos or quartz may lead to severe respiratory or oncological diseases. Allergic people must not remove old linoleum, as exposure to hazardous substances may trigger choking.
Dismantling Old Linoleum
If you want to remove old linoleum without health risks, why remove it at all? Removing the linoleum is the last resort measure. You could lay new flooring on the existing one or restore the existing one for continued use.
In many cases, linoleum can be a great base for laying out other floorings.
Main rules for dismantling old linoleum:
- Use powerful domestic or industrial vacuum cleaner with high-quality filtering system. Litter or dust cannot be swept away with broom or brush, as hazardous particles will be released into the air;
- If you’re going to remove glued linoleum, you can only use liquid detergents. Same rule apply to linoleum with felt base. You cannot use dry detergents;
- Any waste should be packed into tight polyethylene packages and dropped to special dumps, where the utilization of such kind of materials is allowed.
We’ve already told you that you should reconsider whether you should remove old linoleum or use it as something else.
There are a few alternatives to removing old linoleum. It can be manually used to something else:
- It can be used as a base for new linoleum or other types of flooring;
- It can be restored or flattened with special mixture;
- It can be used as the leveling layer for the subsequent laying of chosen materials.
So, as soon as you’ve chosen the material that would replace the old linoleum and read the manual and laying instructions, it’s time to prepare your floor… without removing the old linoleum!
Tools for Dismantling Linoleum
Before you rip the glued linoleum apart, you’ll have to prepare a full set of tools to do it:
- Individual protection measures: glasses, gloves and respirator;
- Multifunction knife used in construction works with ideal blade quality;
- Durable scraper with razor-sharp metallic blade;
- Powerful vacuum cleaner with high-quality filtering system. It must support wet cleaning and have industrial-class power in order to reliably remove any remains of dust and garbage left by old surface;
- Portable sprayer;
- High durability polyethylene packages to remove the trash;
- High-quality detergent. Feel free to use aggressive chemicals that cannot be used to take care of normal linoleum.
Removing the Old Linoleum
After you’ve got all the tools and learned all features of the procedure, let’s learn how to remove the linoleum from the concrete floor. Let’s assume that the linoleum was glued in a standard way to the glutinous mixture:
- As with every repair, remove all appliances and furniture from the room. This would free up space completely and allow you access to all linoleum-covered areas;
- Prepare the detergent solution. Add 100 grams of dry detergent to 1 liter of water. Fill the sprayer with the solution;
- During the first stage, the surface is cleaned with the vacuum with rigid (metallic) nozzle;
- Make parallel cuts on half the sheet of linoleum every 20 centimeters.
Any subsequent works must be done with an assistant. One person will remove the strings of linoleum, while another one will spray the detergent all over the floor. Synchronized actions will prevent the hazardous dust from being released into the air, thus increasing the safety of workers.
You could estimate whether the work is done correctly by the state of felt base of linoleum sheet. You’re doing it right if it is humid. Do not remove 4 or more strings simultaneously. Do not leave areas uncleaned from felt layer for long. The worker must stand on the clean floor or non-removed linoleum while removing the next layer.
All remains must be packed into garbage bags and taken out to special garbage dump where it is permitted to utilize such kind of waste.
Let’s take a look at several useful nuances that could be useful for removing old linoleum:
- Promptly pack the removed layers into the packages and do not move on the remains after removing another layer! Your health depends on it. Freshly removed layers release much more hazardous materials into the air, and it would be wise to play safe;
- Thoroughly wash the footwear used while removing the linoleum or use safely disposable footwear. Every garbage bag must be labeled with a warning denoting that the bag contains materials that release asbestos dust into the air;
- Use tough metallic brush to remove layers that are firmly glued to the substrate. Make sure to remove the substrate from the linoleum, not vice versa;
- Thoroughly clean the floor from the felt base with the prepared detergent. Drench the felt base with the detergent and scrape it off with scraper;
- Vacuum each area after cleaning it and clean the floor again. That way you’ll receive an ideal basement that can be shown to experts who will decide what to do next.
After following all instructions in the right order with adherence to recommendations you’ll get a clean surface. Your health will not be affected. If you’re unsure whether you can do it on your own, contact the certified specialists. They’ll complete the job faster and provide you a thoroughly cleaned area that can be used for further repairs.