What is the easiest way to remove vinyl flooring?
Let’s be clear: It’s no fun to remove vinyl flooring. Peeling up the material itself is no picnic, but the real trial is to get rid of the glue that had been securing the vinyl to the subfloor. The only silver lining here is that while the work may be tedious and time-consuming, anyone can learn how to remove vinyl flooring. No special tools or advanced skills are required. It’s really only a matter of elbow grease. Follow the steps below to get the job done with a minimum of frustration.
How to Remove Vinyl Flooring – Process
STEP 1: Clear the area.
To remove vinyl flooring, you must first take all furniture out of the room, giving yourself unimpeded access to the work area. You’ll also need to carefully remove all baseboards and any other trim that meets the floor.
STEP 2: Cut into 12-inch strips.
Next, locate a section of the floor with no glue underneath. Start removing vinyl flooring right here, using a utility knife to cut the material into 12-inch strips. Pull up each one gently. Where you encounter resistance from the glue, use a scraper tool (or even a kitchen spatula) to get the strip loose. In places where the glue is especially tenacious, you can use a hammer-and-chisel combination to chip at the hardened adhesive.
STEP 3: Get rid of the glue.
If you remove vinyl flooring but the glue remains lodged on the subfloor, try this: Combine warm water and soap in a bucket, then apply it liberally to the glue, allowing time for the mixture to soak in. When you return, the glue will have softened and become easier to remove.
STEP 4: Clean up.
Finish removing vinyl flooring with some cleanup: Use a broom or shop vac to pick up all the debris that now litters the room.
How To Remove Linoleum Or Vinyl Flooring From Concrete
This is probably the easiest type of subfloor to get linoleum or vinyl off of, but it’s still no picnic.
Cut it into strips about 6 inches wide. Pull the linoleum up in strips to reveal the linoleum glue. If difficult, try a heat gun to soften it, and then pull it off. The remaining glue can be scraped with a floor scraper or soaked overnight with water and dish soap, which helps soften the glue. Again, use a paint scraper to remove the linoleum glue.
Cut Flooring into Strips
Keep your utility knife always at hand, and slice the flooring off in long, narrow strips, maintaining a width of no more than 18 inches. Cut off the length only when it gets unwieldy and in your way. Keeping the strips narrow will benefit you later when you dispose of the old flooring.
It can be tempting to start pulling back or rolling up large sheets at a time. This is not recommended, as the sheet vinyl can become heavy and difficult to manage. There is no reason to try to keep the vinyl in large sheets unless you plan on giving it to a friend or reusing it in another part of the house.
How to Remove Vinyl Floor Tiles
Vinyl tiles are usually square and made to mimic the look of stone tile or can be found in fun, graphic patterns. More popular for kitchen and bathroom installations, removing tile vinyl flooring is typically quick and easy.
- With a utility knife, peel up a corner of the tile in the middle of the room.
- Pull up the rest of the tile with your hands or by using a pry bar.
- After the first tile is removed, use the floor scraper or pry bar to pull up the remaining tiles.
- Use a floor scraper on stubborn tiles and adhesives that don’t come up easily.
How to Remove Vinyl Floor Planks
Plank vinyl flooring, designed to look like hardwood, has recently seen a surge in popularity thanks to technology that can mimic the look of real wood flooring like hickory, oak, teak, walnut and more.
- Start in the middle of the room and cut along the interlocking plank seams with a utility knife.
- Work in small sections by cutting along the shape of the planks and removing them.
- If salvageable, stack and save the planks for reuse in another room or another project.