How do I remove the paper backing left behind by vinyl flooring?

by Tessc
I'm trying to remove worn-out sheet vinyl and uncover the 1930s porcelain tile underneath, but the vinyl is leaving behind this felt-like grey paper stuff that's stuck to the tile. I'm soaking it and scraping it off with a metal spatula, but it's slow going. Is there anything that might speed the job without harming the tile beneath?

  4 answers
  • Desiree Desiree on Nov 01, 2017

    Have you tried steaming the tiles to soften the glue. It would probably come off easier. You can also try using nail polish remover.

    • Tessc Tessc on Nov 01, 2017

      I don't have a steamer, but i have been using very hot water. I'll give the nail polish remover a test, thanks!

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Nov 01, 2017

    Try some Goo Gone. It should lift the gunk that remains. I would use a plastic scraper to avoid scratching the porcelain tile. Without seeing it or knowing any more about, if it's old enough, could you be dealing with asbestos underneath the sheet vinyl? There are test kits. Hopefully, it isn't, but, it is something you need to be aware of in older home

  • Tessc Tessc on Nov 01, 2017

    The vinyl was put down in the mid 1990s, so I hope I'm in the clear on the asbestos issue, especially considering the swathe I've already removed and scraped clean. I'll give Goo Gone a try on the really stubborn spots. It's a pretty rank solvent, if memory serves. Since the bathroom is unvented and the tiny window is the only means of fresh air, I'll have to be really careful with it. Thanks for suggesting it, though. I had forgotten about Goo Gone.

  • Shoshana Shoshana on Nov 02, 2017

    Nail polish is an interesting idea. Keep us posted on what works!