Starting Over

Starting Over

Written by nick

Topics: Question & Answer


 I was wondering if you could give me some advice on my basement kitchen floor. Last weekend I poured five bags of LevelQuik on the basement kitchen floor, it had a 1/4” per foot slope from the doorway to the cabinets. It seemed to level out nice and was going to work well for the 16×16 tile until I looked at it this morning, most of the LevelQuik did not adhere to the concrete. I followed the instructions on the bag and cleaned the floor well and I primed it with their recommended LevelQuik latex primer. After reading the attached installation instructions this morning, I didn’t do the water penetration test, I don’t think that test was mentioned on the bag.

 Anyway, most of the floor previously had old asbestos tile on it and was stuck down with tar like adhesive. I didn’t bother to get this up so it was still on concrete when I poured the LevelQuik. So that is probably why the LevelQuik did not stick to the concrete. I know I will need break up and remove the LevelQuik that did not stick to the concrete and get the old adhesive up, so my question to you is: What would be a good way to clean the old adhesive from the concrete to have it pass the water penetration test mentioned in the LevelQuik instructions?



It’s too bad that you have to redo this part of the project, but you caught your mistake and are making the right choice in scraping the material off and starting over. The tar like adhesive that remains on the floor is most likely an asphalt-based cutback adhesive. This adhesive can be one of the hardest and most dangerous substances to remove from concrete. This adhesive probably contains asbestos and would be dangerous to remove by grinding or other mechanical means.  For your project I have 2 different ways to proceed with the preparing the floor for the cement-based underlayment.

Solution 1 – Remove all cutback adhesive. Use a safe and biodegradable mastic remover such as Bean-e-doo from Franmar Chemical. Using this product you can remove the cutback adhesive fairly easy. Simply apply Bean-e-doo to the floor; let sit for an hour; and then scrub and squeegee the area. The solvents from the soybean oil will emulsify the mastic and make it easy to clean up. Simply use kitty litter or an absorb-all to assist with clean up. After the floor has been cleaned with bean-e-doo you must clean with a degreaser to remove any bond breaking greasy residue. Bean-e-doo is a safe and effective remover to use indoors as it contains no harmful odors. Wait at least 24 hours to install the underlayment and confirm with a water penetration test to make sure no residue is on the surface.

Solution 2 – Use a product or primer specially designed to be installed overtop the adhesive. Certain products are manufactured to be installed over a thin layer of cutback adhesive. Ardex Engineered Cements carries a primer and underlayment that can be used together in this type of situation. As long as the glue is very thin on the concrete you can prime the surface with Ardex P82 primer and then apply Ardex K15 underlayment. Make sure to read all technical documents and procedures from the manufacturer.

Greg with your determination to complete the project the right way I know this will turn out looking great. Thanks for the pictures and good luck.

Nick Dancer – Fort Wayne, Indiana

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