How to Remove a Bitumen Floor

Written by owen e. richason iv
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Bitumen floors are made with a type of asphalt tile typically found in early- to mid-20th-century homes. Bitumen floors are most common in basements, but they may be found in other areas of a house. Bitumen floors were installed generally in the same manner, secured to the subfloor with an adhesive. This makes the removal process arduous, though not complicated. With a good deal of work, a bitumen floor can be removed to make way for a new floor.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Screw gun
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Metal pans
  • Dry ice
  • Goggles
  • Respirator
  • Leather work gloves
  • Floor scraper
  • Adhesive solvent
  • Household floor cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Mop

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  1. 1

    Remove the threshold trim in the doorways, using a screw gun, to gain access to the bitumen tile edge in the entryway.

  2. 2

    Roll a wheelbarrow next to the entryway in the room so you can dispose of the bitumen as you take it up from the subfloor.

  3. 3

    Open the windows and put on goggles, a respirator and leather work gloves.

  4. 4

    Place several metal pans filled with dry ice over the floor, and wait about 15 to 20 minutes before proceeding. This will help make the bitumen brittle and easier to take up.

  5. 5

    Insert the blade of a floor scraper between the bitumen and the subfloor in the entryway where you removed the threshold trim. Push against the floor scraper, leaning your weight into the scraper to begin removing the bitumen flooring.

  6. 6

    Continue to scrape up the brittle bitumen floor, from the entryway to the corner along the same wall. Next, scrape up the bitumen from the corner along the next wall to the opposite corner, creating a type of border to gain access to the bitumen floor remaining in the middle of the room.

  7. 7

    Scrape up the remaining, brittle bitumen, and then pour an adhesive solvent over the subfloor and wait for it to break up the adhesive, following the manufacturer's instructions.

  8. 8

    Scrape up the adhesive with the floor scraper after the solvent has worked into the bitumen adhesive.

  9. 9

    Combine water and a household floor cleaner in a bucket, and mop the floors as you normally would after all the adhesive has been scraped away from the subfloor.

Tips and warnings

  • Bitumen floors may contain some asbestos and should not be touched with your bare hands.

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