Tiling over glue or lino?

7 Replies

Hi guys,

Writing my first post here. I've been watching for a long time but didn't have much to say until I bought my first house which I just got the keys for yesterday! congratulations to me woohoo. couldn't have done it without all of you guys! Thanks.
So as soon as the renters in the
basement left for work I started ripping up my carpet in the entrance of the house so I could replace it with some nice porcelain tile. It's about 100 square feet including the entranceway, 6 steps and a landing. i have pictures but dont see an option to post it on here...

Anyway, under the carpet there was a ridiculous amount of yellow glue, as if that carpet alone was holding the entire house together. It's STILL STICKY to the touch. the carpet was mostly glued to plywood but in a small section it was glued down to some linoleum. 

I've been looking all over the web and mostly just run into people arguing with eachother. No time for that and DEFINATELY no time to scrape all that glue up, the lino isnt going to budge either without some kind of blood sacrifice.

I have to get these tiles in! Got a wicked deal and there's no refunds! 

I know atleast one of you smart folks has ran into this problem and did something clever which will save my *** and impress everyone so let's hear it! Thanks in advance for the help, and thanks for having me.


Hi James, you are going to need to install a backer board material as an underlayment before setting, or installing, your tile. Assuming that the glue you're describing is fully cured and bonded well to the subfloor, but just has a tacky feel to the touch, I would probably just install the backer board material over the glue, as long as there are no very high "peaks" in the glue that would cause uneven contact or bond between the plywood subfloor and the backer board. Get enough thinset material to apply under the backer board with at least a 3/8" notch trowel, and nail or screw the board down as instructed on the stickers found on the material. I doubt very seriously you will have any problems with that, as long as the glue is firmly bonded to the plywood, and the backer is installed correctly. 

Also, congrats on your first purchase! 

Will 1/4" cement board (or 1/2") plus tile thickness cause an issue with stair heights? The description about sounds like it will work wel, and is probably the way I would do it, assuming no stair height issues.

If you build up each surface the same height then the risers all stay the same

If the top step becomes too short you can think about splitting the difference over the steps.  That is using 1/2 on fist step. 3/8 on second step. 1/4 on third step so that the maximum difference in risers is no more than 3/8".  That is code because our brains clock in riser height and too much variance causes us to trip

@James Bailey

Use a product called Ditra. It is a membrane that you can lay over concrete or plywood and then you can thinset over that. Google that product. You can find it at any tile retailer.

Here is my issue with backer board on plywood. It will raise the height of the floor another 1/4" to 1/2" which means you will have to cut all door bottoms off as well as take the base board off or at least the shoe mold. If you had carpet there the height of the Ditra (less than 1/16") plus the tile will more than likely equal the height of the carpet (or less) so no trim needed in most cases.

Plus the Ditra is easier to install than the backer board. No safety glasses or dust masks. Cheaper too. Work Saturday and watch football on Sunday instead. After you grout Sunday morning that is lol.

3/4" plywood

hardibacker on top of that

then tile

If the plywood you describe is not level from all of that glue, just cut it out and replace with new plywood.

@Brian Pulaski Yes agree, if you don't factor in labor or new shoe mold and/or base board. Labor is my biggest expense. Plus the cost of labor and expense to paint the new shoe mold. Nails etc.

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