I have a layer of old, crumbly and very sticky vinyl tiles that I need to remove to bring the old tile back (see picture). What is the best way of removing these?
Bonus question: How do I get the adhesive off the floor underneath?
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Use a heat gun to heat up the tiles and soften the adhesive underneath and pry it up with something (putty knife/scraper/pry bar).
You should be able to buy floor adhesive remover to get the stuff off of the bottom tiles you want to keep. I found some that was a sort of gel that you spread around on the floor and let it sit for 15 - 30 minutes. Then, scrape it up and it would pull some of the adhesive up too. It was not perfect for me (vinyl tiles glued to hardwood) but it worked OK.
The stuff I used is made by Klean Strip and was available at the local Lowes, http://www.wmbarr.com/product.aspx?catid=72&prodid=115
I would use a "Wonder Bar" to remove the tiles and be careful not to scratch them too much or scratch them at all. A Wonder Bar is a short pry bar, made by Stanley. I have used that to do many tasks and consider it one of the most versatile tools in my tool box.
Unless you are only removing a small floor space like 3' by 3' feet the amount of effort put into your project will outweigh the results. You perhaps will not even get the original tile to be completely free of the glue/adhesive. You may want to consider removing all tiles and starting from scratch, as outlandish as that recommendation sounds. You can try some heat to remove the vinyl but I think the Wonder Bar will rock the heat on its ass. Hopefully you are not renovating one of the White House bathrooms because your project will probably not come out with the highest quality results but if the floor can be pretty good then you have a shot.
Good luck with it!
Too many scare notes on asbestos. Asbestos is only dangerous with repeated exposure. If you remove tiles whole and properly ventilate to the exterior (use a wet vac that I put a hose to and run out the house) it will be fine. Just don't sand it and wear a respirator.
dry ice works too. it essentially freezes the tile and it pops right off.