How To Remove Vinyl Tile Mastic

Do you want to know why out of all the renovations that can be done at home, replacing the vinyl tiles and flooring is one of the most dreaded home-improvements? Well, it may be cheap to remove vinyl flooring, but it takes a lot of time and physical effort to do it perfectly. It is a laborious and meticulous job that needs to be done as a team. Doing the renovation by yourself will take up to a few days, that is if you are feeling up to it.

  • While peeling off the vinyl tiles is in itself an easy task, removing the stubborn mastic or vinyl adhesive is a totally different issue. Mastic is a bonding agent made from the highly sticky resin of the mastic tree, which is found in the Mediterranean. Because of its unique bonding strength, it is used for heavy duty construction application. Mastic is available in the market in thin liquid, glue or paste form. The strength of the mastic is so strong it can hold up walls (but only for a period of time as nails and screw are then applied for permanent strength.)
  • Aside from being a strong sealant and adhesive, the mastic is also heat resistor. After understanding how mastic is built to endure such trauma, imagine the work that must be exerted to remove it! Mastic may be difficult to remove but it is not impossible!  Here’s how to remove vinyl tile mastic.
  • You will need: a face mask, gloves, goggles, a long-handled screwdriver, putty knife, steel wool scrub, newspapers and rags, and a chemical stripper solution which can be bought at your local hardware store.
  • First, prepare your work area by moving all the furniture from the room, closing the electrical outlets and making sure that the room is well ventilated. (You will be using a lot of chemical solvents later on and will be scraping off chunks of old adhesive so do expect a lot of fumes and debris to be flying around as you dig out the mastic.)
  • Strip the vinyl tiles by leveraging the long-handled screwdriver between the floor and the tiles. You will perfect the technique and you’ll find that popping off the tiles is easy.
  • Once the tiles are removed, you will notice that the sticky and thick mastic is left on the floor. Don’t waste your time stabbing and trying to dig out the mastic. You most likely will just damage the floor, whether concrete or wood, underneath. Instead, take the chemical solvent you bought at the store and pour a few caps full over the mastic. Let the chemicals sit for about 10 minutes or as indicated on the bottle.  Tip. Divide the floor area into manageable squares and work section by section.
  • Using the putty knife or metal scraper, loosen the adhesive and scoop it out into a garbage bag. Little bits of glue may remain but you can rub this out with a steel wool scrub. Tip. Do not use your bare hands when handling the chemically-treated adhesive.
  • Continue to remove all the glue. Once that is finished, do one wipe down with clean water over the whole area to remove the chemical residue.

Then you are done! Good luck laying down your new vinyl tile flooring!


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