Once the flooring is pulled up is it necessary to remove the dense paper layer which ultimately glued the linoleum to concrete. If it is not necessary to remove do I rough up the surface to make a more adhesive surface?

Or will thinset adhere to the dense paper layer? This paper layer has been exposed on my kitchen floor for over 3 years with spills. It does absorb but no deterioration. Help! thank you for the expert advice.

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    – Niall C.
    Nov 13, 2018 at 17:11
  • 1
    I use a wide blade scraper with a long handle to scrape up the backing, if the original linoleum is pre 1970 era you may want to have it tested for asbestos. I like to remove the backing so there is a solid bond but have seen others lay over the top and the end result looked good but I am not sure if it will last as long but in the few cases I have seen without looking at those jobs again years later I can't say Absoutly one way is better than another. I do know with a solid base of concrete , thinset and tile the tile is less likely to crack if a heavy item is dropped on the tile.
    – Ed Beal
    Nov 13, 2018 at 17:29

1 Answer 1


I would not attempt to bond mortar to fuzzy paper. The resulting bond will only be as strong as the paper itself, which isn't good.

Use a combination of grinding tools, moisture, and scrapers to get the concrete reasonably clean before installing tile.

  • I agree , I have seen it done but don't know if it lasted stripping / grinding is the way to go.
    – Ed Beal
    Nov 13, 2018 at 20:08

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