Asphalt Tile Asphalt Tile

Years ago asphalt tile was used commercially and in many basements because it was inexpensive. Asphalt is a hard nonflexable tile, usually 9 inches by 9 inches by 1/8" thick. It is easily softened by solvents and grease, so wipe up spills promptly and do not use solvents or solvent-based polishes on it.

Asphalt tile is safe when treated with alkaline cleaners, so can you use amonia and water on it. Damp mop as recommended for vinyl. When soil is not removed by damp-mopping, wash with detergent and water, or again with mild ammonia and water solution, and rinse well. Wax only with water based paste or liquid wax.

When you go to replace asphalt tile, if it has been installed over a wood floor it is difficult to restore the floor naturally as the black adhesive from the tile is troublesome to remove. To remove it:

  1. Get a gallon of denatured alcohol solvent at your paint, hardware or home center store
  2. Since it is flammable be very sure no flame, pilot light, or spark in the room or in any adjoining rooms as fumes can travel
  3. Do only when windows are opened wide for ventilation
  4. Apply solvent to adhesive and let soak until adhesive softens
  5. Scrape off as much adhesive as possible using a putty knife or 6 inch Wall Scraper
  6. Repeat
  7. After almost all is removed, sand floor to remove last residue.

This is hard, time consuming work, and dangerous unless all cautions in using solvent are followed carefully. Check with a flooring center store to see if any newer products which may be easier to use are available.

This article has been contributed in part by Michigan State University Extension

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