Todays story is about an idiot. A royal idiot. One that would be proclaimed king of his idiot empire. Maybe there’s more than one of them… it could be a whole dynasty of idiots!
Many of you know how I feel about underlayment. It’s great until you have to tear it out. It then becomes the personification of anger, hate and people who talk in the theater. Yesterday we met the worst underlayment I have ever heard of, fact or fiction.
It all started with tile. Ceramic tile (have you ever had a ceramic sliver?). Underneath the tile was vinyl tile (rubbery squares with sticky bottoms and decorative tops), which was on top of what may have been the original linoleum. The linoleum was glued to this underlayment.
Most people (the sane ones) use plywood as underlayment. The cheap ones use OSB (which is far inferior and much more annoying to deal with). Whoever did this floor used particle board. In case you don’t know what that is, let me explain it to you. Take sawdust… nice fine sawdust. Add wood glue and stir. Now compress it as it dries. Voila! You’ve got particle board.
Particle board in itself, isn’t a problem. Sure it’s kinda heavy and a bit crumbly, but it’s alright when it’s alone. As you’ve guessed, this particle board was not alone.
First of all, they nailed it down. Not with finishing nails, but large flat-headed nails. Those held pretty well, and caused a lot of crumbling. But that wasn’t the worst. What I’m about to tell you may frighten you, and cause you to wonder how someone could be so… well… they were either brainless or very very mean and angry. Ready?
They glued it down! Glue! Were you paying attention when I told you how particle board was made? Gluing little crumbs of wood together! That means that the underlayment was now effectively the same peice of wood as the subfloor! And we had to remove the underlayment, leaving the subfloor in good condition.
As you can imagine, we tried several methods (scrapers, pry bars, chisels, claw hammers), and nothing seemed to work. We finally found a method that worked pretty well. We cut the whole floor into 3-4 inch squares with a skill saw. Sounds more than a little bit excessive, no? Then we were able to use a tapping block and a sledge hammer to hit the squares from their sides and knock them loose. Not all of them came out clean, but most did. The remainder was still hell to get out. So we brought back the fish. It worked pretty well, but it still wasn’t perfect. All in all it took us 35 man hours to remove some underlayment. Dumb.
That’s it for now… I need to go to bed.