I pulled up old stick on tile from a plywood subfloor which is now so sticky it pulls my shoes off. I need to get this surface ready to install vinyl planking which needs to be able to "float" on the surface. This is a small poorly-ventilated room, so chemicals are out. I see some have tried corn starch or baking soda.....any helpful input for me?


The sticky residue shouldn't be an issue once you have laid your underlayment. After that point the installation process will have the desired floating affect.

Side note: The sticky subfloor might actually aid in keeping the underlayment in place while your vinyl flooring is installed.

  • Thanks, but the vinyl plank I am installing not only doesn't require underlayment, it specifically prohibits using any. It has a layer of "underlayment" built into the planks. I did end up dusting the sticky surface with corn starch and sweeping it in with a soft broom....it worked like a miracle. – Papa Don Oct 31 '20 at 20:53

I would "wallpaper" the floor with red rosin paper AKA builder's paper. It's commonly available in rolls 36" wide by 166 feet long for less than $20 in big box home improvement stores. Since the floor is so sticky, there's no need to apply any adhesive.

  • Many thanks for your suggestion, I actually thought about doing it. But, I did try dusting with corn starch and that worked incredibly well....the surface was completely 'sticky free' after I did that. – Papa Don Oct 31 '20 at 20:54
  • @PapaDon Please post that as an answer, then click the check mark next to your answer as soon as the system will allow it. That way others will be able to find your excellent solution. (So long as the corn starch doesn't rot and smell...) – FreeMan Nov 30 '20 at 13:08
  • I used red rosin paper on my 'sticky' floor. It works, it's cheap and it's easy. Note, corn starch properties could diminish over time..weight on the floor could push through the particles and into the adhesive. – Steve Wellens Nov 30 '20 at 15:35

I dusted the subfloor with corn starch and swept it around...instant non-sticky surface that stayed absolutely non-sticky to lay my vinyl plank flooring. There can't be any easier solution than this.

  • Be sure to give yourself a check mark as soon as the system will allow it! – FreeMan Dec 1 '20 at 15:45

Since you've ruled out chemicals, which probably would not have worked as well as you need anyway, I suspect you will find that the only solution is to either REMOVE the subfloor that is covered with glue and replace it, or ADD a layer of floor underlayment (i.e. Lauan) and cover up the messy subfloor.

  • Yes, I considered that too. I decided to try dusting with corn starch since I had some in the pantry and a failure wouldn't cost anything...it worked like a miracl. Dusted and swept around, the surface was smooth and the vinyl planks were able to float freely. Thanks for your input, it's appreciated. – Papa Don Oct 31 '20 at 20:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.