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Vinyl floor should be stripped regardless of replacement

DWIGHT BARNETTScripps Howard News ServiceGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Q: I currently have sheet vinyl flooring in the kitchen, utility and baths, and everywhere it is separating at the seams. It also cuts easily when a can is dropped on it. I have been considering peel and stick vinyl squares. Can you place them over the sheet vinyl, or do you have to remove the sheet vinyl? If I have to remove the sheet vinyl, what preparation has to be done to the concrete floor before applying the vinyl squares?Also, my floor in the kitchen has some slightly uneven areas. Could that pose a problem in applying vinyl squares and for its life? And although I think it is beautiful, I do not want ceramic tiles. Are there alternatives other than wood flooring?A: No matter what flooring you choose, I would recommend you remove the sheet vinyl. My experience is that the finished floor covering you choose would not be secure if attached to the old vinyl.You must have a clean and level surface when applying all floor coverings except carpeting, which is not highly recommended for kitchen floors. Once the sheet vinyl has been removed, the next step would be to remove any adhesive that is still stuck to the concrete floor.What you do next depends on the type of floor covering you choose. A wood composite material can be installed without having to fasten the wood to the concrete. You may need a felt paper or other barrier placed between the wood and the concrete. To apply peel-and-stick vinyl or ceramic tiles, the concrete needs to be level and clean. Use a two-by-four or other straight-edged material to find bumps in the concrete and simply beat them down with a small sledgehammer. Be very careful because the concrete will fly and could cause serious damage to unprotected eyes.To clean the concrete, mix muriatic acid with water. Use a stiff brush to scrub the surface of the concrete and then rinse with clean water. Muriatic acid gives off fumes that can be harmful, so work only in well-ventilated areas and wear rubber gloves and protective clothing.It takes a lot of hard work to get the appliances moved, the concrete prepared and the new flooring installed, so make arrangements to store your refrigerator on-site or plan on dining out more often.Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Write to him with home improvement questions at C. Dwight Barnett, Evansville Courier & Press, P.O. Box 286, Evansville, Ind. 47702.


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