Weekend Warriors: Tearing Up Tile { Part Two }

A few weekends back we torn up our fugly cracked icky tile {yes it takes that many words to describe, its awfulness} in our dining room and kitchen. As I mentioned before we discovered the previous owners placed the tile over the linoleum, hence all our cracked tile. Since we decided to lay floating floors in the dining room and kitchen, we had 2 options. #1 Remove all the remaining thinset (cement like mixture on the linoleum) #2 Remove the linoleum and replace all old flooring boards with new subfloors and then install our new flooring. Before we started the next step we consulted my dad, who's a contractor. He said this easiest step for our situation, since we just want to float of new floors is, remove all the thinset from the linoleum.

When we started the Part Two - We had no idea how hard this step would be! Image ripping up tile then realizing you now have to painstakingly remove what looks like hardened oatmeal cement from your floors.

Weekend One

The first weekend of removing the thinset we were optimistic, we had our chisels and floor scrapper on hand, but it ended up taking an hour or longer to remove a 12x12 section of flooring. It also didn't help, that I became easily frustrated and would disappear from our 'job site' for a1/2 hour, leaving Mr. CLH all by himself. Needless to say he would become agitated by me. Next we bought a flathead shovel to help remove the thinset, it helped a little.

All the thinset residue, has to be removed before laying new floors
Weekend Two

The following weekend we must have gone to Home Depot 5x times trying to find a tool that would remove the thinset without damaging the linoleum. One Home Depot Associate tired to sell us Acid to remove the thinset. Yes Acid! Could you imagine bringing a bottle of Acid home, when you have a 9 year old and a small dog? Not a good idea. By the end of weekend two, we were stressed out and feeling spent. I begun to ask myself, Should we just have left that ugly flooring? I mean was it that bad?

On Saturdays we had many fun conversations about removing the annoying thinset (H: husband
W: Wife)

H: let’s just go buy the Acid

W: we are not buying Acid, eat will eat though the linoleum and it’s not safe! We can't even be home when you doing that. It could splash on you!

H: let’s just rip up all the lino then

W: we can't rip up the lino, my dad said that will create even more work. Besides I've done some research, since our home is older the lino was likely applied directly to the subfloor which is most likely plywood. Which means the lino and subfloor would come up in chunks, creating more work

H: Lets just buy the Acid

W: NO!

Of course these conversations are followed the by silent frustration in the air. We hated coming home to our dining room and kitchen items parked in our living room. Even wrose we thought this project would take at most two weekends. Reality bites, talk about DIY novice. So Sunday night 2/7 after calling my dad and crying asking for more removal advice, we decided to stop in Lowes and look for a better chisel, no luck. Then I had an 'we have nothing to lose idea' is there some sort of cleaning product we could use to soften the thinset and turn into mush without buying toxic ACID??

We started browsing the cleaning aisle when my wonderful husband found CitraStrip Adhesive Remover. Our mouths dropped open, we had been 'Goggling removing thinset set from lino / wood subfloors for days' and talking to various Home Depot associates with no luck. Would this even work? Is this a pipe dream? We loved that the product is Low V.O.C and is safe to use indoors and still strong enough to remove the mastic aka thinset from the floors. For $11 bucks for a quart we couldn’t wait to try the product out.

Mr. CLH, followed all the directions carefully (wore goggles, gloves etc). He simply poured the CitraStrip Adhesive remover on the floor, and this used a long handed paint roller to apply to the floors, each coat must be thick. Next he waited 3 hours to remove the thinset. Guess what? It worked, like a charm. He ended up going back to Lowes and buying a one gallon container to help remove problem spots.

Weekend Three

Fast forward to Friday 2/12, with all the thinset removed from the lino, we mopped the floors good using a good old fashioned bleach. Judge me if you must, but it cleans - lol

My new BBF is the ShopVac, great for picking up thinset crumbs

Late Saturday afternoon we began prepping the floors with underlayment and began installing our lovely floating faux wood floors. We choose faux wood over engineered flooring because, for the color choices and our budget. We have all original 1956 hardwood floors in the rest if the house, so we are more than happy with our faux real floors.

This is how our floors looked a few weeks ago

And a peak of our new floors

I think Mojo appoves!

We still have trim work in the kitchen- baseboards. I'm happy to say our dining room is done; next we need to relocate the dining room from the living room to where it belongs. So I will have a dining room reveal soon.

Have you had any DIY projects that took, longer then expected? I'd love to hear about them.....