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How can I put plywood over hardened half-removed thinset?

When I moved into my house the kitchen had a slate floor that was coming up all over the place. The joists are over-spanned and the person who installed the floor just put the tile right on plywood. It was doomed from the beginning. I have pulled up the tile with the intent of putting down some cheap crappy floor as a temporary measure until I totally remodel the kitchen at which time I am replacing the floor down to the joists, and actually a few of the joists themselves.

Ideally I’d like to just put a sheet of linoleum down, but there is thinset still stuck in places and it is a real bear to get off. I’ve gotten it all down to less than a 16th of an inch or so, but it’s still not good enough to put a sheet floor over.

I considered putting luan over it and screwing it down good, but am afraid with the unevenness, and lack of contact the floor will move around, perhaps ungluing the sheet flooring.

I’ve also considered putting thinset Between the plywood and luan to try to bond them and wind up with a thick piece of wood/concrete composite. That seems like a gamble. It might be stiff enough not to move enough to crack. Or it might not be, then I’d have little pieces of cracked off thinset between two layers of wood.

Any suggestions? Insight?

I don’t want to pull the plywood up since the cabinets, stove, dishwasher, and other things are presently sitting on it.


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    5 Comments

    1. How long of a temp. fix will this be? A couple months, year or more? Kinda depends on the answer.
      I am going to assume it is a temp. fix less than a year.
      You could put down a layer of thinset in between the sub floor and the luan and then screwing or nailing with roofing nails to secure everything. When I tile floors I put down cement board with thinset between it and the sub floor. It serves the purpose of quieting squeaks as well as makes a strong non moving surface to tile on. This will work for luan with some linoleum over the top. I wouldn’t suggest doing this considering the fact that in a short time you’ll be tearing out the floor to the floor joists. You won’t get the layers apart and it will be horrible to remove later on.
      You could take some floor leveler and just pour it over the whole floor. It is self leveling so there is very little work to it. Mix according to the directions and pour it on the subfloor. Basically you mix it very thin and when you pour it out it will seek its own level.
      The stuff will flatten the floor however it’s not really meant to have linoleum put right over it. It has a tendency to crack and if your floor joists are already weak and/or too far apart this is more likely. so I would recommend putting the luan over the floor leveler and then lino. over the luan.

    2. Assuming this is allegorical, you can’t.

      Just let it go.

      Move on. Plenty more fish etc……

    3. Floor scraper, hammer and chisel, grinder (in that order). It might be more work than it’s worth, though.

      I wouldn’t put down any more thinset as a leveler–if the floor’s flexing then it’s just going to break up. There are flexible floor levelers (DAP makes one) that might be an alternative.

      Another option would be to cut the plywood around the cabinets. You”ll want a toe-kick saw for that.

      Good luck.

    4. pour a 1/2 inch cement floor

    5. floor scraper and use some chemicals

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