Money pit

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I wrote last week about my plans for removing glue and vinyl from the floor of my basement. I guess readers who’ve actually had to do this job in the past got a pretty good laugh at my hopes.

First, I bought some citrus-based adhesive remover. You put it on with a brush, wait 30 minutes, and then scrape it off with a razor knife scraper. It has a nice orangy odor, and it softens the glue, but if there’s any paper left on the glue, it doesn’t have the strength to power through it. I think it was $12.

On the way home Friday, I bought a heat gun. It softened the glue, but it was barely better than scratching the crap off with a spatula. It cost about $15 and filled the house with an airplane glue smell. I think that’s about when I bought the first 1.5 liters of red wine.

Saturday, I brought in the big guns: Chemical adhesive remover from Carter Brothers Ace Hardware, I think about $12. Smells like Satan’s flatulence, and though it says, “non-flammable,” all the warnings on the can suggest the stuff would light off the sparks from a dropped cotton ball. Open the windows, shut the door, apply 9 square feet, wait 30-40 minutes, remove. Try to keep the dog, Alice, from sampling the stuff. It’s the easiest, but was just too nerve wracking. I settled my nerves with a bit more wine.

I even did a little internet research. Someone suggested I put a towel down, pour boiling water on the towel, and let it sit for a few minutes. I might as well have scraped the floor with a kitten.

You know what I finally did? On my hands and knees with a razor scraper, I scraped 4-inch swaths. I’m about halfway finished, but now it occurs to me that I won’t want to stain the floor until summer when I can turn off the pilot light under the heater, and open all the windows so I don’t give Hunter, Alice, Prometheus and myself cancer.

So, in the meantime, I’ve got a room downstairs that looks kind of like a garage. Makes me think maybe I should go with the hardwood down there, too.