Monday, May 27, 2013

Can open, worms everywhere.

All I wanted was a house without a discernible stink.

My cat is old, he does unspeakable things on the carpet.  My plan was to pull up the carpet, and do a paper-bag floor treatment on the concrete slab.  It would be seamless, it would be moppable, and it would be very very cheap.

I got the green light from the landlord (aka my mother).  I got the Friday and Tuesday surrounding Memorial Day weekend off from work.  I got Viking Roommate on board.

I bought polyurethane and rug cutting knives and funny Tyvek jumpsuits to contain all the airborne allergens.

We moved all the furniture out of the den and dining room, and stacked it up in the living room.

We started to tear up the carpet.

What the hell?  This isn't concrete.  These are... tiles?  And they're coming off?  No problem, I have one of those pushy tile remover thingies.  They popped off without a hitch.  Begone, ugly tiles.

The tar adhering them to the concrete?  Not so much.

Great.  Now the house stinks like tar.  How the hell do you remove tar?

Internet says boiling water and scraping.  It takes 20 minutes to to about a square foot, and it's not really coming off all the way.

Home Improvement Store sells the Viking a can of citrus-based stripper.  It works... kinda.  It liquefies the tar, and makes it somewhat easier to scrape off, but mostly smears it around, and the tar starts sinking further into the concrete.

I pull up random corners of carpet in other rooms, to see if the tile is maybe just in the den?

Nope.  It's all over the house.


New plan- lay plywood over the old tar garbage in the den, stick it to the old tar with new tar, and patch the cracks with wood putty.  Leave all the old tiles everywhere else, patch the cracks, and paper over the whole shebang.

Tomorrow, we dine in hell!


  1. Why couldn't it have been a beautiful hardwood floor underneath that carpeting? Still, the paper/plywood idea sounds good. Hope that goes better. :o(

    1. I can only hope. At least the tar is sort of a vapor barrier...

  2. Tar?! :O Damn, that stinks - figuratively and literally! Good plan with the plywood. You might want to try caulk instead of wood putty. Caulk doesn't need so much sanding and application is much faster. Good luck!

    (Just got a captcha of "difficulties." :P )

    1. I know, right? It's some corollary to Murphy's Law that the time it will take for any construction project can be estimated by taking the amount of time you think it SHOULD take, multiply it by two, and change the unit of measure to the next largest unit. A two week project will take four months. I should have known better than to think this would go smoothly.

      And I didn't realize I had captchas turned on- let alone psychic ones.

    2. My projects usually follow the 1-2-3 rule: 1 extra trip to the store, 2 times the estimated budget, and 3 times the estimated time. :P