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Cut Back Adhesive: How to avoid scraping?


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Recently purchased a condo unit in Florida built in 1985. The kitchen and second bathroom have a couple cracked, hollow and missing ceramic tiles. A layer of old, black cut-back adhesive (most likely laid down when built) is underneath the tiles and apparently not addressed properly or at all when one of the previous owners had the current tile installed. We would like to install ceramic tiles again, but would settle with peel and stick vinyl if need be. I've read through a lot of post on various sites that provide good info and suggestions, but I'd like to get input from the brain-trust of TIJ.

This link:http://www.flooring-professionals.com/dealing-with-cutback-adhesive/ provided a lot of info connected with use of primers. Mohawk Sure-seal falls within as it suggest scraping until "residue" layer.

Encapsulators require scraping too.

Others have suggested using an elastomeric fast-dry concrete "link" topped with a a higher quality thinset like Flexbond or Versabond.

If I go the peel and stick route Armstrong S-700 Thin Spread Floor Tile Adhesive can be used without scraping down to the residue layer. The cut-back could possibly contain asbestos or may be a bitumen compound. Any experiences or suggestions for both ceramic and/or peel and stick vinyl?

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