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removing felt from fir floor4/10
I've just removed vinyl from an old kitchen floor and underneath there is some kind of felt that is stuck to the VG Fir. What should I use to loosen the felt so the floor can be scraped clean and then sanded? Is there a product specific for this or will something like acetone work?
the felt is likely impregnated with tar.most any solvent should work. but acetone will dry too fast .try mineral spirit
If it's old enough, it may have been stuck down with mastic.
Try some hot water.
If you can budge it with a putty knife, then go and rent a power scraper; one of those stand up walk behind sort. They use disposable blades and can be had from rental stores or from places that sell supplies to carpet and sheetgood installers. ((Basically a couple horse motor on wheels with a transmission and blade holder in front that holds a six to eight inch wide steel scraper blade, and a handle stick at the other end so you can push it.)) It is what pro flooring installers use to get old gluedown of any sort up. (The manual version is a sidewalk ice scraper.)
I would be slow to use solvents. They are flamable and you do not want a whole lake of sticky tar. Test it in a small spot first first. It is more likely to fill up all the pores of the wood if reactivated by adding solvents, then the other option of power sanding will get more difficult because the belts will gum up faster.
If you use a solvent I hope you have really good insurance for the structure and for your health. Watch out as solvent can help you remove the tar but they can also create a fire. They are also not good for the lungs. Use lots of ventilation. If you start to feel any affects get out of the area for fresh air. Heat may soften the tar so it can be scraped easier, watch out for this a it can also start a fire. Sand paper will clog up really fast, but the heat may actually help. I think I would use something like paint thinner, see if this works, on a small area keeping the area wet where you are working and do not get ahead of yourself. If you use paper towels or rags get them as far from your house as possible or soak them in water and keep them wet until you can get rid of them. I have many times heard of people creating fires from using solvents in homes. Be careful.
I tried mineral spirits in a small area and didn't have much luck. I think Geralds recommendation of the machine with scraper blades is the call and I'm going to hire a pro to do it.
thanks for the help, andy
You could also try a Multimaster or Festool inline sander with their scraper blades. If its a large floor,Gerald's idea of renting a large machine would be more cost effective.
The machine I am refering to works the same as a multimaster. The difference is one of scale. There is a great set of pictures and a video at:
You can also Google power floor stripper. There is a much smaller air powered model:
Which is interesting, but if there is any amount of area I will have the self powered walk behind, please.
If you still try to do it yourself, we once used a product called "old hard remover". I did not like the name very much but the stuff worked. Been some time since we used it and it may not be available any more. It did soften the felt and old glue, but it was still a terribly messy process. If possible, I would hire it out before doing it myself. We found the product in an Ace hardware store.