Removing Linoleum Adhesive From Floors

Procedure code:
965001S
Source:
Ohj - Shirley Maxwell & James C. Massey, 9/30/92
Division:
Finishes
Section:
Resilient Flooring
Last Modified:
08/02/2016

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Prior to inclusion in GSA’s library of procedures, documents are reviewed by one or more qualified preservation specialists for general consistency with the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitating historic buildings as understood at the time the procedure is added to the library. All specifications require project-specific editing and professional judgement regarding the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers are to serve as a general guideline and do not constitute a federal endorsement or determination that a product or method is the best or most current alternative, remains available, or is compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards. The library of procedures is intended to serve as a resource, not a substitute, for specification development by a qualified preservation professional.

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We’ve reviewed these procedures for general consistency with federal standards for rehabilitating historic buildings and provide them only as a reference. Specifications should only be applied under the guidance of a qualified preservation professional who can assess the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers serve as general guidelines and do not constitute a federal endorsement nor a determination that a product or method is the best alternative or compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards.


REMOVING LINOLEUM ADHESIVE FROM FLOORS

PART 1---GENERAL

1.01 SUMMARY

  1. This procedure includes guidance on removing the mastic adhesive left behind when linoleum flooring has been removed.
  2. Linoleum flooring was very popular from 1863 to 1974. It was used historically as an original floor treatment in some GSA buildings. Linoleum's chief ingredient was linseed oil, pressed from flax seed, which became a tough, elastic material when exposed to air. The process essentially consisted of mixing linseed oil and gum with ground cork or wood flour, and pressing it onto burlap or canvas. It was then glued down to concrete or wood floors using a mastic cement.
  3. See "General Project Guidelines" for general project guidelines to be used along with this procedureThese guidelines cover the following sections:
    1. Historic Structures Precautions
    2. Submittals
    3. Quality Assurance
    4. Delivery, Storage and Handling
    5. Project/Site Conditions
    6. Sequencing and Scheduling
    7. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)
      These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing this procedure and should be followed along with recommendations from the Regional Historic Preservation Officer (RHPO).

PART 2---PRODUCTS

2.01 MATERIALS

  1. Clean, potable water
  2. Vinegar
  3. Citrus degreasing solvent such as "Limo Sol", or approved equal.
  4. Dry ice
  5. Chemical solvent such as isopropyl alcohol, paint thinner, xylol, lacquer thinner, or paint stripper.

2.02 EQUIPMENT

  1. Heat lamp or hot-air gun
  2. Putty knife or scraper

PART 3---EXECUTION

3.01 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION

NOTE: A waterproof glue is usually applied at the edges and seams of the linoleum; the center of the felt layers is usually attached with a water soluble paste.

  1. Soak the mastic area in hot water for 20-60 minutes or until soft.\
  2. If this is not effective, try adding vinegar or high-strength citrus degreasing solvent to the water and then soak for 20-60 minutes until soft.
  3. If mastic still will not soften, try applying heat to the surface using a lamp or hot-air gun.
    -OR-
    Try freezing the mastic with dry ice to break the bond with the substrate.
  4. If no other methods are effective in softening the mastic, test a chemical solvent on the area.
    NOTE: Be sure to test in an inconspicuous area to determine appropriate chemicals and strengths before proceeding with cleaning.
  5. Scrape away the softened mastic using a putty knife or garden edger.

Last Reviewed: 2017-08-13