When I remodel my basement bathroom and remove the old vinyl sheet flooring, I realized the current one was on top of another old one. And between the two sheet flooring layers, there is a thin layer of paper/glue that is 1/16" thick.

enter image description here

Starting from bottom up in the picture:

1 is concrete

2 is old vinyl

3 is some weird paper+glue layer

4 is the topmost vinyl

I was able to remove all 4 layer and some 3 layer but most left there on top of the concrete:

enter image description here

I took me an hour just to pry off the small portion you see on the right side in above photo.

My questions:

  1. Should I just put thinset and then tile on top of what it is now? Basically forget about removing the current 2 and 3 layer? They stick very good and I would say it is adding 1/16" - 1/8" in some spot. This option saves the most time but I don't know if I get good result. I plan to sell the house in a year or two so I may not concern about 5-10 years later.

  2. Should I install hardie backer board on the floor? I would think it may be unnecessary as it's already concrete.

  3. Should I pour some self leveling cement? I saw this a lot on TV but never done.

  4. Should I just spend 8 hours to scrape off the rest? Or is there a faster way, with probably some heat gun and large putty knife??

I am leaning toward Option 1 above right now.

Please advise.

  • +1 for the improvised sewer gas stopper.
    – Gary Bak
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 16:09
  • Just a word of caution - I don't know how old your house is, but if it was built in the early 80's or earlier, some of that vinyl flooring may contain asbestos. My house was built in '81, I had a small sample of the vinyl flooring tested, and the backing material contained asbestos. I believe asbestos was banned in the US in the late '70's, but builders were allowed to use up their remaining supplies. Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


I would rent a power chipper, these have a blade that vibrates back and forth that chips up tile or vinyl on concrete floors. Since a bathroom is small a hand held oscillating multi tool could also do the job and you would have a handy tool for other jobs. I do not like tile over vinyl and the places I have found it I was usually pulling the floor up because of problems with tile or grout cracking.

  • You can also use a rotary hammer drill with a spade bit. Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 15:05
  • I have used an air chizzle but a rotary hammer drill I think would be dangerous unless it is a demo hammer drill that the rotation can be turned off.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 16:56
  • You're right. If it was spinning around it would be dangerous. I was like you referred too the type of hammer drills that the rotation can be turned off. :) Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 17:51

There isn't much of that left. I would remove it all to ensure a proper adhesion and also have a level floor. You can try a grinder if you don't like the hammer drill. But it will make the place quite dusty and will take you more time.

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