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How To Remove Vinyl Flooring

How To Remove Vinyl Flooring Step by Step Instructions

by Dylan Johnson

When you find your vinyl flooring dated, worn or torn, you know it wouldn’t be easy to repair. So you think of replacing it with another flooring type, here are the tips on how to remove vinyl flooring to enable you to install the new flooring.

In most cases, people may simply leave the floor in place or install the new flooring just over the existing vinyl flooring.

If the old vinyl flooring is still well-structured, it would be possible to install new flooring types such as laminate, carpet, certain types of vinyl and some wood flooring, too.

However, it will be preferable to completely old vinyl flooring due to the fact that you must pay attention to the layer and height of the subfloor.

Or you may want to install the new flooring on a fresh place, removing the vinyl is the option you must consider taking.

In this regards, removing the vinyl can be easily carried out by the use of liquid chemical-based adhesive removers, one of which is Klean-Strip.

As a consequence, this remover carries some issues such as mess, odor, cost and safety. Further, liquid strippers often work improperly.

Hence, we come with the idea of the dry-chemical free method that we are going to describe here on the article.

It will be much depend on your patience and determination along with the right tools and good understanding of the glue-down vinyl installation technique used in the first place.

We also offer the tips on how to remove certain types of vinyl flooring that you may need.

Consider The Safety

Considering the safety is the first prominent thing to know how to remove vinyl flooring. Avoid using a heat gun to remove the vinyl because it is really harmful.

If you hold the heat gun too close to the flammable flooring materials, there is will be an ignited fire.

So you must carefully keep the heat gun far away from the flooring materials.

Additionally, using gloves is much recommended for your safety.

Read Also: NovaCore Vinyl Plank Flooring Review

Prepare Equipment and Materials

The next thing to do dealing with the vinyl flooring removal is preparing the equipment as well as the materials.

This way, some of the crucial equipment that must be on your side include the flat pry bar, mallet or hammer, five-in-one tool, utility knife, work gloves and heat gun. Meanwhile, the material you have to prepare is the wood block.

Instructions of Vinyl Flooring Removal

There are nine instructions on how to remove vinyl flooring you have to carefully read and practice.

Keep in mind that you won’t miss any single step in order that you can successfully remove the old existing vinyl flooring.

Now you can check them all out in the following parts.

Remove the Quarter Round Trim

Quarter round trim is basically installed to cover the gaps occurring between the flooring and the baseboards.

Thus, if you want to remove the vinyl flooring, you must remove this quarter round trim first. You can do it simply prying it off using the flat end of the pry bar.

Remove The Baseboard Trim

The second step is to remove the baseboard trim. Typically, vinyl flooring is installed up to the baseboards edges which is just beneath the quarter-round molding.

However, completely removing the baseboards is much recommended to allow you to take off all of the old vinyl flooring.

This step requires you to place the wood block in a position against the wall which is a few inches above the baseboards. Put the pry bar’s flat end on the top at which the trim and wall meet.

Make sure you have enough swift rap to force the bar under the trim. Alternatively, you can just rap the pry bar using the hammer.

After that, pry the trim gently up to the wall. If you pry back too fast, the trim will probably break.

Though you will not use the trim again, it will still be easier to remove the entire lengths of the trim than in small broken pieces.

In this case, the baseboards will often get damaged when you are removing them.

Thus, if you have expensive baseboards, make sure you have a removing quality since you may want to price out the new baseboard cost against the old baseboard recovering process.

Here we have a tip for you. In order to have an easy installation for your next project, make sure you devise a marking system on the back part of the trim especially when you want to use the trim again.

Start writing 1 on the back part of the first piece with an arrow “up” and continue this technique following the clockwise fashion around the space.

Remove The Center Section Of Flooring

The next tip on how to remove vinyl flooring you can perform is removing the center section of flooring.

If you find your old vinyl is installed using perimeter, you will easily remove the vinyl more quickly. Though only a 6-inch perimeter glued down, the middle part of the vinyl will lay loose.

So you can start cutting the flooring around the perimeter of the space. Cut it about 8 inches away from the walls and keep it parallel to the walls.

Check out whether the center of the flooring is removed easily.

Cut The Flooring Into Strips

Surely, you can cut the flooring into strips using the utility knife. Start slicing off the flooring in enough lengths along with the narrow strips.

Maintain the width of 18 inches, no more than that. Cut the length off when the flooring is unwieldy.

Keep the strips narrow since it will be beneficial when you remove the old vinyl flooring.

In this step, you are not recommended to pull back the large sheets at a time since the sheet vinyl will be hard to manage.

Don’t keep the vinyl large unless you will give it to someone else or you will reuse it for your other part of the home.

Remove The Glued-Down Flooring Using Pry Bar

The glued-down vinyl flooring is considered the easy to remove either the whole part of the flooring or just the perimeter.

You can start removing the glued-down vinyl by using the flat-end of the pry bar. This is aimed to separate the flooring from the underlayment.

Due to the blunt pry bar, this can be done only on glued-down vinyl flooring.

Use Five-In-One Tool

The next way on how to remove vinyl flooring is to use the five-in-one tool.  This kind of tool is much of advantage to use when you cannot scrape using the pry bar.

This tool comes with the sharpness to cut the end between the sheet vinyl and subfloor.

Furthermore, if the adhesive is already old, it will just easy to remove the vinyl flooring.

When you are chiseling, your other hand can be used to peel back the sheet vinyl. If the strips are too long, you may cut them off using the utility knife so that you can easily do the work.

When you find the process too easy, it shows that the sheet vinyl is delaminated – taking the vinyl layer out of its backing layer.

Thus, remove the full thickness the vinyl flooring when you either chisel or pull.

Peel Away Using Your Bare Hand

To enable you to pulling the sheet vinyl greatly, you can use your bare hand to pull back both straight upward and backward toward you especially when you are controlling a flooring section.

Use A Heat Gun

It is considered very useful to use a heat gun to loosen the difficult adhesive in scarping the vinyl flooring.

This way, the heat gun can be turned on low until it heats up well. Wave it around the junction between the underlayment and the flooring.

Other way, you can also heat up the flooring topside in a small section and pull it back.

In this case, the glued-down vinyl flooring tile is also possible to be removed using the heat gun.

Dispose Of Old Flooring

The last way on how to remove vinyl flooring is to dispose the old flooring.

This way, fold up the long strips of the sheet vinyl into squares of accordion style when you use the utility knife to score the flooring surface.

You will be able to fold back first score easily but not with the second score. The rests of alternating score are all difficult to work on. The only thing you can do is forcing them harder to fold them.

Typically, sheet vinyl flooring is not recyclable, meaning that you need a landfill to lay the vinyl. So you must create a folded square to provide a space for trash collection.

Some people look for the other disposal methods since some building materials are not allowed to put into the household trash.

Possibly, you can have a particular disposal location to take the old flooring into.

One of the recommended way dealing with the disposal method is recycling the flooring.

For instance, an old sheet vinyl flooring can be reused by laying it down on a woodshed with an oriented strand board wood floor.

This will provide the floor with the protection against the oil drips or moisture.

How to Remove Linoleum or Vinyl Flooring with Plywood Subfloor

In this article, we also include the tips on how to remove the linoleum or vinyl flooring with plywood subfloor.

In this case, there are two options you can consider selecting to help you work with the process.

Option 1

Option 1 involves the step to remove the resilient vinyl flooring by cutting it into multiple strips using the utility knife. It can about 6 inches wide.

Use hammer to tap the knife under the linoleum flooring to make it loose. Peel of the backing or glue by pulling up the linoleum in strips.

Once you are done with the surface layer, you can remove the linoleum glue using a paint scraper.

A heat gun is also good to soften the glue when you are scraping the flooring away with the paint scraper.

If your flooring is an old linoleum with the tar-based glue, you can soften it using water or mineral spirits.

Option 2

Option 2 on how to remove vinyl flooring is by removing the plywood and linoleum as well as subfloor altogether.

This way, you can start drilling a hole through the floor to check out the plywood thickness.

Use your blade to cut 1/8 inch deeper and cut the section away on one side of the space. When you want to cut flush against the walls, you may use your reciprocal saw.

However, please be aware of cutting the floor joists. Manage your cut about 3 or 4 feet long and continue removing it.

If you want to lay down the new subfloor, the crosspieces must be nailed between the joists to support the end-to-end edges of plywood subfloor, especially if your old existing floor was tongue and groove plywood.

If you choose this option, skip the step of glued-down vinyl or linoleum removal.

How To Remove Linoleum or Vinyl Flooring Glued To Wood

Unbelievably, many years ago, people covered their wood flooring with linoleum or vinyl. It was just a common thing in flooring.

Truly, removing the vinyl or linoleum is similar to removing them with plywood subfloor.

Firstly, you just need to peel the covering away in a corner until you can determine where the flooring runs.

So you can cut the vinyl in about 6 inch wide strips in the similar direction that the floor runs to avoid cutting across the scrap.

In this case, you must be more careful in scraping as you must not want to break the beauty of the hardwood.

Start using your utility blade to cut the vinyl or linoleum. Heat it using the heat gun and pry it as well as glue it up while the glue is soft. Scrape as much as the glue but avoid gouging the floor.

Once you successfully clean the floor, you can sand the remaining glue and refinish the floor.

How To Remove Linoleum Or Vinyl Flooring From Concrete

Other way on how to remove vinyl flooring to consider is removing the linoleum or vinyl flooring from the concrete.

In fact, this is one of the easiest type of subfloor at which the linoleum or vinyl can be easily removed. However, it is still not a piece of cake.

What you need to do is to cut the vinyl or linoleum into multiple strips about 6 inches wide.

Later, pull it up in strips so that you can reveal the glue. If you find it difficult to do, you can use a heat gun to make it soft to allow you to pull it off easily.

Scrape the remaining glue using the floor scraper. Or you can soak it overnight using the water and dish detergent.

This is aimed to soften the glue. Repeat this technique to remove the glue of the linoleum.

Read Also: Vinyl Flooring Vs Linoleum Tile with Comparison Tables

Alternative Techniques To Removing Vinyl and Linoleum Flooring

There are some techniques you can choose alternatively to remove the vinyl and linoleum flooring.

One of the most considerable techniques is by putting a new one over the existing flooring.

If this old existing vinyl or linoleum flooring is still soft enough, you can surely lay the new vinyl flooring on the top of the existing floors.

Here you are provided with the two options.

Firstly, lay the ¼ inch plywood on over the old existing floor to provide a smooth base. Later, lay the new resilient flooring on the top.

Second, raise the old floor using the self-leveling concrete. Take about 1/8 inch thick when it is dry. Later, you can put the new floor on. When a new floor is added to the plywood or self-leveling concrete, consider the process to raise your floor.

One most important thing you must concern is the fact that the process will not connect smoothly the end-to-end floors.