New Bathroom Tile - Cementboard for Tile - Keep Linoleum?

Discussion in 'Flooring' started by manbehindthecurtain, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Feb 24, 2013 #1
    First time DIYer...

    Finished ripping out the fixtures and disconnecting the cast iron tub in my third floor bathroom yesterday. I am planning on installing a subway/hex tile floor, where there currently is very old (probably 1970s) vinyl flooring installed. Will likely keep the cast iron tub, but add a shower attachment to it - we need to move the plumbing to the other side of the room - I'll be hiring a plumber for that. Re: the floor, we originally planned on removing the vinyl floor, putting in cement board on existing subfloor, then tiling. The vinyl is not cooperating with plan A.

    I used a heat gun to start pulling up the vinyl, but all that comes up is the top layer, and the foamy/glue back of the vinyl stays behind. Additional elbow grease with the scraper only leads to splintering up a couple of millimeters of the subfloor. I did about two square feet in this manor before deciding to check with cooler heads whether I should keep going as planned. If I keep at it, the subfloor is going to be pretty scraped up and not level.

    I'm considering the following alternatives:

    1) Give up on pulling up vinyl, and apply thinset to vinyl, install cementboard, continue as planned with tiling. (Downside here is lower quality bond and built up floor right?)

    2) Keep going and see how bad the sub floor looks when I'm done. Will likely require some form of self leveling compound before applying cement board. Is this feasible?

    3) Use a saw to pull up and replace entire subfloor. I am very uncomfortable doing this.

    Any feedback would be appreciated. I am leaning towards #1. A couple other issues:

    1) There is a 1# bow in the floor from wall to wall as it is, so I am considering a leveling compound anyway. How much does this add to height? Can I still thinset and cement board effectively over top of a leveling compound?

    2) No matter what, I am going to have to shorten my bathroom door - it barely clears the vinyl as it is.

    Thanks
     
  2. Feb 25, 2013 #2

    CallMeVilla

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    Put down the heat gun and and back slowly away!

    Assuming you have no open flames anywhere, get a spray bottle and a 1/2 gallon can of lacquer thinner. Have good ventilation in the room (open window, not a fan) Have a helper spray a line liberally to coat the underside of a vinyl pices. Push the scraper (long handle variety) hard into the vinyl ... it will begin to come up much more easily without ripping the subfloor. Repeat acorsss the room. Remove vinyl chunks to outside because they will be soaked with thinner.

    Continue until all vinyl is gone. Make sure you have no big chunks left. Do the plumbing, repair the subfloor. Proceed to tile.

    Cool? :D
     
  3. Feb 25, 2013 #3
    Hmm not cool. I can't get to the bottom of vinyl without major gouging into the vinyl strips I cut with a box cutter. There is no daylight ever, between the bottom of the vinyl and the wood. Nor do I believe the design top of the vinyl will allow any solvent to permeat. Can you describe this part in greater detail or does that change your approach?
     
  4. Feb 25, 2013 #4

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    I think I hear you saying there are TWO layers on your floor. If you are already into the subfloor level, the thinner will release that level as you push the scraper through it. The minor imperfections are not a problem because your cement board will provide the smooth floor substrate you need. You could get anal retentive and sand the subfloor but why?

    I have done this. It works. Did it on cement slab and on wood subfloor.

    That is what I recommend if you feel determined to remove the vinyl. Alternatively, you could simply leave the floor (after applying leveling compaound to your gouges) then installing a transition strip at the doorway to make up for the height variation.

    So many choices, so much fun. :D
     
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  5. Feb 25, 2013 #5

    nealtw

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    Remove the top layer of vinyl first so you are working on the paper and glue.
     
  6. Feb 25, 2013 #6

    bud16415

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    If you are going to have to get into the floor anyway to do the new plumbing and as much work as this sounds removing the flooring, I would go for ripping it up and having a good look at what you have below. This way you will also know the new sub floor is installed properly to take the tile. Most 40 year old bathrooms have something interesting to find under the floor.

    That would be my opinion based on the information provided. Sometimes you have to weigh the cost of materials against the time spent trying to save them.
     
  7. Feb 25, 2013 #7
    I believe the vinyl was laid directly on the subfloor, ie no underlayment b
     
  8. Feb 26, 2013 #8

    Jaz

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    Why don't you confirm that? It's very doubtful that the vinyl is direct on the subfloor though. If not, you should be removing the 1/4" underlayment, with the vinyl still attached. .

    Referring to post #2 above; Please do not do this, that's crazy!

    Jaz
     
  9. Feb 26, 2013 #9
    What's the best way to confirm whether the tile is on subfloor directly without really messing it up?
     
  10. Feb 26, 2013 #10

    Fireguy5674

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    Go to the 2 x 2 area you already have clear of vinyl. Take a utility knife, a wood chisel or a hand saw of some type. Try to cut a small square in the floor about 3/8" to 1/2" deep. If there is underlayment between the vinyl and subfloor at this depth you should cut through it. Generally the underlayment is nailed or stapled to the floor not glued. What is the age of your house? Do you know if your subfloors are plywood, OSB or tongue and groove boards? If you can determine this you may be able to tell by looking at the underside of the floor and comparing it to the top side without cutting anything.
    You mentioned you have a 1" sag in the middle of the floor. Can you tell why? You said you are going to move plumbing. Is there a basement or crawlspace under this room? Or will you have to pull subfloor to make plumbing changes? As suggested if you have to cut subfloor to move plumbing maybe removing subfloor and correcting your sag is the way to get everything straightened out to start fresh.

    I always hate covering up crap. But that is just me. A little anal retentive.
     
  11. Feb 26, 2013 #11

    Jaz

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    How about drilling a small hole? Or removing the stair nosing and look at the edge of the floor layers. How about a floor air register? You're looking for a thin ply over the subfloor.

    Jaz
     
  12. Feb 26, 2013 #12
    Thanks. The house is 90 years old, and the reason I suspect that the tile is on the subfloor directly is because the flooring in the hallway is just simple pine flooring that we had refinished, directly on the joists, and the bathroom floor is level with that flooring. The bathroom is on third floor, formerly was attic space but was converted into dormer bed and bath. I suspect the bathroom was installed in 70s based on the previous decor and discoloration of vinyl floor.
     
  13. Feb 26, 2013 #13

    Jaz

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    You need to know the type and size of the joists, spacing, unsupported span. Their species and grade will be a big help too. Thickness and type of subfloor and any underlayment over it. Vinyl flooring is not installed over the subfloor, but who knows?

    Jaz
     
  14. Feb 26, 2013 #14

    nealtw

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    Find a spot that will be hidden with the new vanity and and cut a hole in the floor.
     
  15. Feb 27, 2013 #15

    Jaz

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    You mean like this in post #11?
    Manbehidthecurtain, In post #1 you called it "vinyl floor". Then you said you were removing just the top and the foamy back was not coming out. This means the flooring is cushioned sheet vinyl. Later you called it vinyl tile. Now I'm confused too.:D

    Have you looked and found any 1/4" thick ply yet?

    Jaz
     
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  16. Feb 27, 2013 #16
    Haha, sorry my vocabulary isn't very exact with this stuff. To clarify, definitely vinyl sheeting, with a thin foam backing (that is incredibly stubborn to get off). I curse the former owners every time I look at it. I haven't had the opportunity to do any drilling or cutting during the week- I'll take another stab, literally, at it on Saturday morning.
     
  17. Mar 2, 2013 #17

    dthornton

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    The cheapest and easiest way to go is to just put thinset on top of the vinyl and install backer over top. Get the real stiff backer board (like Hardie Backer) and it will do okay over the "sag" - just use enough thinset to provide a level surface. Screw the backer down (use screws made for backer board!) then install your tile. Your vinyl isn't all that thick anyway. The alternative is to pull up the subfloor, lay down 3/4" plywood over the joists, and then the backer and tile. More work and more expense, but will give you a "perfect" job. As Fire said, it will get everything straightened out. One thing to think about is; what are you doing with the rest of the house? There isn't much sense to spending as lot of extra time and money to make one room "perfect" if you don't make the rest of the house match. Don't hear me wrong - I DO NOT advocate doing a cheap or sloppy job. I'm just saying that the thinset and Hardie backer should do you just fine.
     
  18. Mar 6, 2013 #18
    I'm leaning in this direction. frankly we don't use the third floor much, and I don't want to get in over my head. Other considerations are what to do with the radiator in the bathroom that might not reach its plumbing once the floor is raised up, as well as whether the toilet will fit back on the flange once the floor is up around it. Any thoughts there? Radiator will probably have to be taken care of by plumber who moves the drains for the tub to the other side of the room, and am hoping there are extenders for toilets on the market?
     
  19. Mar 10, 2013 #19

    dthornton

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    They make extra thick toilet bowl gaskets with the rubber grommet (not sure the technical term for this) for the toilet. That will work as long as you aren't raising it up too much above the flange. You are right that a plumber should take care of the radiator (although it's not all THAT complicated, a mistake here could cost you big time). The plumber can also reset the toilet for you (and make sure it's right). It's worth the few extra dollars you'd pay him to have it done correctly (and , a reputable plumber will guarantee his work). Just remember, you're saving a ton of money by doing the floor yourself. :D
     

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