Basement Renovation: Defeated by Glue

In the relatively short time we’ve lived in our house, the basement has now had 3 different floor coverings. We pulled out the lovely blue carpet before we even moved in, to reveal some vintage sheet vinyl. Unfortunately the vinyl was in pretty bad shape, so we knew part of the basement reno would involve replacing the floors.

2013-10-12 16.29.36-1


We knew we didn’t want carpet in the basement, so we were off to try to find some basement-approved easy to install ourselves floor covering. After lots of research we picked some gorgeous peel and stick wooden planks from Lowes.  The only tricky part with the peel and stick is that you need a smooth clean surface. And thus started the removal of the sheet vinyl.

It cam up in great big chunks. Apparently they only glued it down in some spots.


Lifting up the Linoleum - Part 1


We (and by we, I mean Andy) used a razor scraper to take up the vinyl. Below you can see some of the glue spots we found.Lifting up the Linoleum - Part 2 - The glue

Now let me reiterate, we needed to remove ALL of this glue to 1) ensure that new glue bonds with the cement floor correctly and 2) ensure that our new floor doesn’t create an imprint of the glue spots.  So we started on the glue removal process.

Scraping with the razor did nothing.  So then we tried the wall paper remover steamer. Nada.  After some googling we poured boiling water on and scrubbed.  Well that took a few teeny tiny pieces up. So we added some Mrs. Meyers to the mix, which improved the smell of the job, but did nothing more to dissolve the glue.  Next we tried: vinegar, goo gone, nail polish remover. None of these things helped. At All.

So despite reading all about how you shouldn’t use adhesive remover, we thought we’d give it a try. Heck it says it will take the adhesive off right in the name, right?  So we got the kind that’s made to remove the backing paper and glue (since we have some of both).  Below you can see what it looks like when you’ve got it on the glue.

Lifting up the Linoleum - Part 3 - Getting off the Glue

We followed the directions, waited, scrubbed, reapplied, scrubbed, and almost cried.  It was clear that it was NOT going to do much more than any of the other methods we had tried. Here’s that back corner spot after the adhesive remover has dried.  (Actually, I’m pretty sure if my cousins weren’t doing that last round of scrubbing and scraping there really would have been tears! Thank goodness for family that like to get their hands dirty!)

Lifting up the Linoleum - Part 4 - Failing to get of the glue


So since we’re apparently stuck with the glue we have a few options: skim coat of cement, plywood underlayment, or a different type of flooring.  Since we’re trying to keep the budget to a minimum, and I’m 100% sure we cannot do the cement ourselves, we crossed that option off the list. After LOTS and LOTS of research, we decided that plywood on the floor in the basement seems like a terrible idea (even if it is a dry walkout basement). So that leaves us with a different type of flooring.  Any suggestions?

We’re currently consider a floating vinyl floor (made to go over situations like ours and sticks to itself, rather than to the floor).

But we’re definitely open to other suggestions.  The task for this weekend is to deal with the walls. I’d like to have the floor in by the time my uncle and aunt arrive for their visit on the 29th. Nothing like a hard deadline to make sure you encounter countless obstacles…

What projects have you pulling your hair out?

Sarah Signature


6 thoughts on “Basement Renovation: Defeated by Glue

  1. ugh! that sounds awful! I have no advice for flooring, just sympathy for trying to get the glue up!

  2. What about tile? The motor will be forgiving enough to go over the glue without issues as long as your floor is fairly level. Tile is durable, I think it is easy to work with, and there are tons of price points so you should be able to find one in your price range.

    • I think we’re pretty set on the floating vinyl floor. With all the nooks and crannies we’ll have to tile around, I’m concerned that it’s beyond our skill set. Oh and I’m pretty sure the floor is not level enough for tile, so we’d have to get a professional in to at least deal w/ that part!

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