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I recently had carpet and asbestos tile tested and removed from my basement, and now am left with concrete covered with black mastic (non-asbestos per testing). I would like to cover the floor with floating planks, and was wondering if the mastic must be removed first.

The concrete is reasonably level with some pitting, and does not appear to be sealed. There is an "All-dry" water mitigation system in place around the edge of the concrete directing any moisture towards the outside of the foundation, so the concrete is unlikely to see much moisture.

My understanding is that floating planks over concrete is usually 3 layers:

  1. 6 mil vapor barrier
  2. Underlayment
  3. Floating planks

Provided the concrete does not need leveling, will I have problems if I install these layers directly without removing the mastic?

Wide view

Close view

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As with any flooring the flatter and smother the base is the better the end result will be. I have had good luck with a heat gun and a putty knife. You do really want to remove the high spots for a good looking floor that will last.

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    Perhaps the OP needs to know HOW best to remove the mastic so it is not telegraphed through or cause problems with the "floating planks". Floor Scraper - amazon.com/Warner-Heavy-Scraper-Handle-591/dp/B000FNTN28/… – Alaska Man Feb 25 at 19:51
  • Yes a floor scraper also works but at my age and both knees replaced I go slower with a putty knife and heat gun. A torch will work but it sets the asphalt (black stuff) on fire. – Ed Beal Feb 25 at 20:14

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