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Cutback adhesive / vapor barrier under laminate floor question

user-6454437 | Posted in General Questions on


I have a  small (3′ x 8′) hallway in a finished basement that I want to lay laminate floor on.
I know laminate is not ideal but I have it leftover and the floor is level with no signs of moisture, so I’m ok with trying it. The existing floor is concrete slab with a 1970s linoleum tile (with 1% asbestos in it), and black cutback adhesive under neath it. There is a 3’x2′ area with no tile and just the cutback.

I plan to lay the planks on top of the linoleum which is flat and in good shape. My question is this: Does that old cutback adhesive act as a vapor barrier, and if I add a poly sheet vapor barrier over the linoleum before laying the laminate, Is that causing a problem by having two vapor barriers and trapping moisture in between?

On the section where there is no tile and just the old black adhesive, I plan to float something over that adhesive to make it level with the tiled section. About a 1/16″ difference. Can anyone recommend a product I can use to achieve this?

Thanks. Any advice is much appreciated.


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  1. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #1

    Note that the GLUE for the tile may have asbestos in it too. I remember hearing that in an abatement class years ago and being surprised.

    I would check with the manufacturer of the floor and do whatever they recommend. When I put in bamboo flooring, there were very specific requirements regarding floor moisture and how to deal with it without compromising the floor.

    I would expect regular floor leveler compound will take care of the uneven floor. Just test a spot to make sure I will bond ok to the old tile adhesive.


  2. user-6454437 | | #2

    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes, I believe the cutback does have some asbestos in it, but my research tells me that leaving it be might be the best bet. If it is undisturbed and covered over it won't be harmful. I had a lot of the tiles taken out by an abatement company in another room, and they advised to leave it as well.

    The flooring manufacturer says its fine to lay this product directly on slab concrete if its smooth with no signs of moisture, as long as I install vapor barrier first. The question still remains though if the existing cutback adhesive acts as a vapor barrier, and should I install 6 mil poly sheeting on top of the tiles as an extra (better?) vapor barrier. The flooring company said yes, but I could tell that they didn't really understand my question. Just want to make sure I won't be trapping moisture between two vapor barriers, and if thats even a concern.

    Thanks again!

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