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I have to remove a parquet floor with possible bitumen adhesive and am unsure how thick the adhesive was applied. I need to remove the flooring to prep for laying ceramic tiling.

  1. Could a heat gun be of use to remove the adhesive rather than costly solvents?
  2. Is this an effective method for preparing the floor for new tile?
  3. If not what course of action would you recommend?
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  • You could probably freeze the bitumen with dry ice and then chip it off. That would be a pretty non-standard approach though. Mar 11, 2015 at 19:02

3 Answers 3

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I'd advise against using heat. Last week I removed a parquet floor from my living room that had been stuck down with bitumen. After trial and error I found the best technique was to use a hammer and chisel to prise the tiles up, leaving just the bitumen coating on the floorboards. I then paid a guy to sand up the bitumen with a large industrial sander using very rough sanding paper. It took him about half a day and the floorboards now look great. (Make sure you use very rough paper and a powerful machine - if the paper isn't rough enough, the bitumen just gums it up.)

I did try a heat approach but this just melted the bitumen, making it sticky and even harder to remove. I also tried to use solvents, which had the same effect.

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You might be able to remove the bitumen mechanically by scraping it off. It might actually shatter as you scrape it.

Failing that, a heat gun might work, but it might be too localised as a heat source and make for very tedious work. If you can scrape the bulk of the bitumen off, a heat gun might work well for tidying up the inevitable remaining spots of bitumen.

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I've been advised that the best way to take up the vinyl "tiles" in my place is a combination of a heat gun to get them started and a paint scraper shoved under them to pop them up. Caveat: I haven't tried this yet.

(I still need to get one up, carefully and get it and the adhesive to a lab to be checked for asbestos before I do anything more.)

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