Below the Black Stuff

I e-mailed Larry over at Simpson’s Folly for a conformation on the soap and water to remove black stuff and glue.  Thank you again Larry for the suggestion and the laughs.  I told Larry that if I ever heard anyone talk about gluing any flooring, of any type, that I would hit them over the head with a frying pan. This act is for the next person who will someday have to remove it.  Larry suggested that I should slather them with the glue before they wake up.  I like that idea, I like that idea a lot.

Nothing like good ole behavior modification.  Better think twice before putting any glue, on any floor  – stupid.  How in the hell do you plan on replacing that floor when it wears out?  I know – put sub floor over, glue and new floor.  WHACK – up the side of the head again with the frying pan until they utter the words – “floating floor system”.

I started at the worst possible section of our kitchen.  I knew the fools would have used heavy amounts of glue in the corner and along the edge. This is my process of what I did to remove the “Stuff” off our floors and I take no responsibility if anyone tries this on their floors.

I had my favorite hand tool, a 5-in-1.  A bucket full of hot soapy water. One empty bucket with a garbage bag for the black tar paper/glue stuff. A clean sponge – not so clean any longer. A new roll of paper towels. My best bud in the world – my friend the iron.  For this floor, the key was hot soapy water, steam to keep it hot and wet, then scrub, scrub, scrub that hot mess off as fast as possible and keep moving.

A note about the steam iron: I do not put it on the floor. I hold it about an inch over the spot that I am working on to keep it moist.

I found out early on that if the glue was allowed to get cold it becomes rather brittle – what a pain. The soapy water must be changed often, it becomes gross very quickly. Keeping the edge of you scraping device clean at all times is a must or the black tar paper glue stuff will collect on the edge making scraping difficult.

So this is how far I got in a couple hours. Things began to move quickly when I got the process down.

Today I am going to take off the rest of the woodwork and see how far I get with the cleaning of the floor. I noticed that the one baseboard is rotted out along the bottom edge. I wonder what is below that.

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4 Responses to “Below the Black Stuff”


  1. 1 Larry S. December 1, 2009 at 10:55 AM

    WOOWHO!!!!!

    Great job! Great tip about the iron as well.

  2. 2 Karen Anne December 2, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    How many hours do you figure this is going to take?

    I was stressing about my undone stuff, and then I figured, two years to completion. Now when I look at the chaos, it somehow seems less overwhelming.

  3. 3 Nicole December 2, 2009 at 1:05 PM

    Ouch! All I know is that when I fought all the old flooring out of our kitchen a few months ago, I used a lot of mineral spirits. Only thing that kept me from sticking to the floor between layers!

    Hang in there. It’s a bear, that’s for sure.

  4. 4 Michele December 2, 2009 at 6:25 PM

    Larry – thank you again.

    Karen Anne – Well, It has to be done in 2 weeks. Yesterday I made it pass the stove, with many phone calls and interruptions. The Husband told me that he feels it will be done – knowing me – by the weekend. Working on it 2-3 hours a night, every night, will allow that to happen. The Husband is correct because I am already tired of stepping over the baby gate that keeps the animals of this house out of that kitchen.

    Nicole – the whole floor is covered in plastic. I sit on the plastic while I am working. My hands – well that is a different story. Thanks for the mineral spirits tip, I’m hoping that it will take the mess off my hands tonight because soap and water didn’t last night.

    Now that I have eaten and I’m finishing off a hot cup of tea back to being a slave to my kitchen floor.


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