Need advice on DIY floor project

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  #1  
Old 12-21-13, 08:31 AM
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Need advice on DIY floor project

Hi,

Not sure if I'm posting this in the right place, but hopefully someone can help.

I've decided to improve the steps in our basement here. I'm able to easily remove the top layer (which is laminate or linoleum or something?), but I'm finding that I'm left with black, sticky layer on top of the wood.

Is there something I can use (mineral spirits?) to clean the gunk off the wood easily? What I'd like to do is get rid of the gunk so I can sand the wood smooth.

I've attached a picture here for reference.


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  #2  
Old 12-21-13, 08:49 AM
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That appears to be a VCT type product. I would use caution as older VCT and adhesive contained asbestos, especially 9x9 tiles. You might want to get it tested before messing with it.
 
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Old 12-21-13, 08:50 AM
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Welcome to the forums! You may have asbestos tile and adhesive, so proceed with that in mind. How old is the house? It may be just as easy to remove all the treads and risers and install new ones as it would be to remove all the cut back glue. What are the treads made of? Looks to be a 2x12. Using 1x8 in either pine or poplar for risers and full 1" stair tread materials in either pine or oak would work. Start the installation at the top with your first riser, then tread, riser, then tread, gluing and screwing with trim screws as you go. You can fill the holes later.
 
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Old 12-21-13, 09:56 AM
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Thanks for the replies and for the warning. I'm not sure exactly how old the house is (my fiance is the owner, I'll have to ask her).

I'll hold off on doing anything else until I talk to her and see what she wants to do. Should I cover up the exposed black spot with something in the meantime, or does it matter?
 
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Old 12-21-13, 11:26 AM
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It shouldn't matter much. With asbestos the danger is mainly when the fibers become airborne. It they do test as asbestos the best option would be to cover the stairs up rather then tearing it out.
 
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Old 12-21-13, 11:30 AM
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It's probably ok like it is, asbestos is only dangerous when it's in a dry powder [airborne] form.

If you go with Larry's suggestion to replace with new, I'd recommend staining and poly prior to installation. It's quicker that way and you only have to shut down the staircase for the final coat of poly. Whenever possible, I stain [or not], apply a coat of poly, sand and repoly prior to installation. After installation putty the nail holes, sand, dust and apply the final coat of poly.
 
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Old 12-21-13, 11:48 AM
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Thanks for the replies.

Tolyn - when you say "cover the stairs up" what do you mean exactly?

My main interest here is really just to make the stairs look nicer appearance-wise. Could I possibly just lay a new layer of linoleum or something else on top of what's there already?

I honestly don't think I would be capable of removing the actual stair elements (i.e. wood) myself.
 
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Old 12-21-13, 12:01 PM
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I mean covering it with another floor finish like wood, tile, paint, or new VCT tile as you suggested.
 
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