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Vinyl floor under carpet... what to do?

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SleepyLittleSunshineGirl Wed 03-Oct-12 15:34:24

I've just pulled up our carpet and underlay to discover that the gripper rods have been nailed to the old vinyl tiles which were originally down. They are cracked all round the edges and a few tile pieces are missing. OH took the hearth up and there's a patch of missing tiles there, too.

Underneath the tiles is a black, thin layer of bitumen-like adhesive. It's not sticky to the touch, but after a few days the room does smell strongly of bitumen.

We want to lay a new carpet, but need to know whether I should take up the old tiles first, or leave them in place? The tiles are typical of those in the late 70s early 80s (house dates from 1981). Pale beige mottled, approx. 3mm thick and 9.5 inch square. From what we can see they also run under the kitchen units, so seem to have been laid all over downstairs.

So WWYD, bearing in mind that I am asthmatic and struggling with the bitumen smell?

a) leave the tiles down and hope that the gripper rods can be laid over the cracks

b) Take up the tiles round the edge so the gripper rods can be laid on the concrete and leave the remaining tiles in place

c) take up all the tiles, seal the floor with something to stop the smell - PVA or something?

d) none of the above, something completely different that I haven't thought of!

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