Removing old non-slip appliques from tub

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Henry Ramsey, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Henry Ramsey

    Henry Ramsey New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Hey all, I have a 40+ year old condo in Houston, Tx.

    In our hallway bathroom the 1970s flower shaped non-slip appliques have fallen apart and
    come up, but the adhesive part is still stuck down to the tub. I posted a photo.
    I've tried to peel them off but they're stuck down firm. I don't want to scratch the enamel.
    I believe it is enameled cast iron but perhaps steel.

    I put some regular nonslip strips on there, but the water gets underneath where they pass
    over the old appliques and they're lifting off.

    Is there any way to fully remove the old applique backing from the tub without tearing the enamel surface up?

    Any advice,
    Henry

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    Have you tried GooGone? How about mineral spirits? If that doesn't do anything, maybe lacquer cleaner?
  3. Henry Ramsey

    Henry Ramsey New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I haven't tried any solvents so far. I was concerned about the enamel. Also, the area is not well ventilated; it's an interior bathroom without windows. The only venitlation is the regular exhaust which is again circa 1971.
    I think it's a 2" or 3" stack to the roof.
  4. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    I'm with Jim. Xylenne, Lacquer thinner and Goof off. They are all very smelly stuff.

    JW
  5. Henry Ramsey

    Henry Ramsey New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I'll start w/ the goofoff and see what happens. It's the least noxious methinks. There is zero ventilation in that room and the vapors can concentrate too easily. I'm extremely sensitive to inhaled chemicals of any kind; they put me out of commision for days if I breathe even a little.

    I have one of those OSHA approved respirators that I used when I was grinding cement a while back, but I need
    new cartridges for aeresols and/or vapors I guess.

    Should I be using a razor or something to get the stuff off the enamel or will goofoff make the
    stuff peel up do you think? I hope to not damage the enamel of the tub if I can avoid it which is why
    I have not tried a razor so far.
  6. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    The main ingredient in Goof Off is Exyelne. If you do not have a proper mask or ventalation you best hire someone to do it for you.

    A flat razor may do the job.

    Is there no window in the bathroom?

    JW
  7. Henry Ramsey

    Henry Ramsey New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I'll try that. No windows. It's in the middle of the building so there's only an exhaust vent and fan that works fine for steam, but isn't likely pulling near enough air to recirculate properly with harmful vapors.

    I'll have to run a fan from the hallway to make for good airflow.
    I do have the proper mask I use it when painting. I just need to get the right cartridges for it.


    What type of company would I look for to do this kind of work if I were to want to hire out?
    One of those that do refinishing of tile surfaces?

    I wonder now of the merit of having the tub and maybe the walls too resurfaced by a pro? The walls and tub are intact just astetically unpleasing with puke green ("avacado") tile circa 1971. The other shower which I rebuilt was actually built on a
    genuine mortar and lathe surface this one is on sheetrock (or whatever served as sheetrock in 1971), but it isn't in need of being replaced except for the tile. This would also solve the problem of the valve since I wouldn't bother changing it out.

    I have seen the 'kits' at Home Depot that purport to allow a DIYer to resurface their tub or sink.

    Being so little airflow in that room though I have not considered it for more than a few moments upon reading the package which proscribes "adaquate ventilation". One of my neighbors who rents the unit out did something like this last year when the tenant moved out and the xylene or whatever solvent was being smelled outside the front door. It's wonder those contractors didn't die of CNS failure the smell was so bad. And all they had were those cheapo paper masks. They were obviously ignorant of the dangers of the fumes. This is why I haven't tried that here. Would a professional resurfacing company be able to contain the fumes?
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    Goofoff and GooGone are two different products. GooGone is primarily a citrus based product (and yes, it does smell, but like concentrated lemon/lime). The GooGone I have works on many adhesive labels (price tags, etc.) and some other generally hard to get off stuff and may not be as strong as you need, but it wouldn't hurt to try. It's hard to say what solvent will disolve and soften that adhesive...some are quite resistant to most common chemicals. Sounds like Goofoff is a lot stronger - I'll look for some if I get a situation where the stuff I have doesn't work. No doubt it works for what it is designed, but not all adhesives are created equal!

    As to contractors and smell containment...for those that don't read and heed the warnings, I think that after a few times, they've burned out enough brain cells that they don't care and don't notice!? In the states OSHA has some clout, but they need a complaint or a random on-site inspection to catch this type of problems...not that many inspectors out there.

    Anything sharp you use, you'd need to be very careful that you didn't scratch the surface. Another thing you will likely find out is that once you do get it off, the color may not match anymore.

    While some people swear by them, there are more horror stories about tub/shower liners than glowing reports. They don't tend to last all that long. The biggest issue is the seal at the drain...if not done perfectly, you can get water between the original tub and the liner that squishes when you walk on it. That stagnet water can get pretty ripe.
  9. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    You might find a good painter would be willing to do it. They have the proper masks. My "Fume" mask is worth $225.00

    I need it for the primer used with Jiffy Seal 140/60.

    This same mask is great for working with PVC primers and any Laquer spraying we do.

    JW
  10. Henry Ramsey

    Henry Ramsey New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I actually ended up with the googone first. I'll see what happens. I took a small sniff of the goofoff and my head went swimming (still is a little bit three hours later) so I put it back hence trying the googone first.

    I bought normal paint/insecticide/organic vapor resiprator cartridges for my mask just in case the smell becomes a problem with the citrus stuff. I've used citrus based paint remover "citrus strip" before and with worked well on my stair railing which the previous owner varnished several times over. If this googone is even half as good it'll work. I'll know shortly. I got a 3" wide scraper for glass which I hope will work OK. I'm not worried about color as long as it's not too different and it lets me put new non-skid strips down so they won't lift.

    The main reason I'm looking to remove them is that the top pieces have cracked and float into the drain clogging it in several cases along with their interfering with the non-slip from sticking.

    Otherwise I would leave them alone. If the googone doesn't work I'll have to try the goofoff.
    If I thought that citrus strip wouldn't harm the enamel of the tub I'd use that.
    But it says it removes all paints including enamels. I would be concerned it would hard the tub.

    I have no plans to use any kind of liner that would go over the tub. I've seen the horror stories of that. If anything I'd look for someone that does actual refinishing. As long as they have a way to contain the vapors that would be idea.


    I somehow doubt my neighbor's workers were 'contractors'. I suspect instead they were 'handymen' perhaps even volunteers. The owner is a 'pastor' and is a retired GC, I think. He has some non-qualified persons he uses routinely to make-ready his units when he re-rents them. If they knew what they were doing with that paint stuff I'd be extremely surprised.

    This same person while President of our HOA hired know-nothing volunteers to remove a fallen tree after Hurricane Ike vs a real tree service who bid the same $2500. The persons were ill-equiped and knew nothing about how to remove the tree over a roof including letting limbs hit said roof and gutters none of which damage they reimbursed our HOA for. My neighbor had to use her pickup truck as a counterweight at one point to prevent the huge limb they cut from crashing through the roof.
  11. Henry Ramsey

    Henry Ramsey New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I ended up with the normal OSHA-approved respirators for paint/insecticide/organic vapor.
    I just got the cartidges I already had the mask. I'll see if I need them. I ended up with googone which may not be noxious enough to require it. I'll blow my high speed fan toward the bathroom which should be enough to keep the citrus vapors from concentrating.
  12. Henry Ramsey

    Henry Ramsey New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Solved! The googone worked and perhaps wasn't needed afterall. The 3" razor worked pretty good on it's own but it went through them like a hot knife in butter. A few scratches but they're barely noticible. What is noticible and I think avoidable is the shadow of the appliques is still there. I can live with that though.

    Once I put new strips in there the shadows should be less noticible. The last thing is the citrus has left a film that
    is slightly oily. I'm going to have to use something that neutralized oils to clean the tub before I use new non-slip strips.
    Regular bar of soap took it off my hands so I'll just try some of that.

    Thanks again. I think I'm done with this.
    Back to fretting over the valve instead...
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