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I'm having to deal with an unknown mastic or all-purpose glue, installed approximately 2 years ago to adhere VCT to concrete in a school in Illinois. It's distinguishing characteristic was a HORRIBLE smell, somewhat musky and chemical-ly. It had a yellow/amber color when demoed by our firm this winter. The substrate was grinded, aired out, encapsulated in Ardex, and re-finished with new VCT; however the horrible smell endures!

We fear that the odor is permanently infused in the concrete, and we now have to decide what to do. We're considering demolition, scraping and applying a water- or vapor-barrier, then new VCT. We may even resort to shot blasting the concrete.

Any advice out there? Does anybody have an idea of what the original mastic might have been? Thank you.
 

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Groutface
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quietrumpet said:
I'm having to deal with an unknown mastic or all-purpose glue, installed approximately 2 years ago to adhere VCT to concrete in a school in Illinois. It's distinguishing characteristic was a HORRIBLE smell, somewhat musky and chemical-ly. It had a yellow/amber color when demoed by our firm this winter. The substrate was grinded, aired out, encapsulated in Ardex, and re-finished with new VCT; however the horrible smell endures!

We fear that the odor is permanently infused in the concrete, and we now have to decide what to do. We're considering demolition, scraping and applying a water- or vapor-barrier, then new VCT. We may even resort to shot blasting the concrete.

Any advice out there? Does anybody have an idea of what the original mastic might have been? Thank you.
Did it have an amonia smell? Some of the VCT glues, that aren't the blackout have a very strong amonia like smell...haven't encountered it in a ripout situation though
 

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Sounds like moisture in the slab that wasn't taken care of on the first install.
I have seen large scale VCT failures on the replacement due to moisture where the first install was perfect. The first install used cut back, second install removed all the cut back and used clear spread. The cut back is a natural moisture barrier, the clear spread is not.. and the VCT holds moisture down and allows molds accumulate...
 
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