How To Remove Vinyl Flooring

How To Remove Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is a durable and easily replaceable option. Even if it begins to display indications of wear, there’s no need for concern. You may confidently remove it yourself or choose a new flooring option. However, if your vinyl flooring is still in good shape, you can simply install a new floor over it. Consider laminate, carpet, wood flooring, or another type of vinyl as a top layer. This solution is sure to enhance your flooring’s appearance!

If layering and height considerations are a factor for the new floor, it may be preferable to remove your vinyl flooring. However, removing old glued-down vinyl flooring can be quite challenging. If you choose to remove vinyl flooring glue, it may take longer to complete the project. A heat gun or chemicals may be helpful in this regard. For instance, liquid chemical-based adhesive removers such as Klean-Strip can be used to remove vinyl flooring, but they come with their own set of problems, such as a strong odor, mess, and safety concerns. Furthermore, liquid strippers often fail to work as promised. If you wish to avoid chemicals, the dry, chemical-free method described here requires patience and determination, coupled with the right tools and an understanding of how vinyl flooring is installed in the first place.

What Tools You'll Need

Necessary implements comprise of:
– Level-headed crowbar
– Mallet or hammer
– Multipurpose 5-in-1 tool
– Utility knife
– Hot air gun

Instructions For Removing Vinyl Flooring

Removing vinyl flooring without causing damage is unlikely unless it was installed loosely in the center. If the flooring planks were installed as a floating floor, minimal damage can be anticipated. Unfortunately, reusing any part of removed vinyl flooring is not recommended.

1. Remove the Quarter-Round Trim

Prior to beginning your work on the vinyl flooring, kindly ensure to eliminate any quarter-round trim which is covering the space between the baseboards and the floor. You can gently detach it utilizing the flat end of a pry bar. The process is simple and straightforward.

2. Remove the Baseboard Trim

In specific situations, it is feasible to install vinyl flooring up to the edge of the baseboards and underneath the quarter-round molding. Nonetheless, the conventional practice involves the placement of baseboards on top of the flooring. In such an occurrence, it becomes imperative to entirely detach the baseboards to remove the previous flooring.

Confidently place a sturdy wood block a few inches above the baseboard. Strategically position the flat end of the pry bar at the point where the wall and trim meet. Apply a firm but swift force with a gloved hand to easily slide the bar under the trim. If necessary, assertively tap the pry bar with a rubber mallet or hammer.

Carefully remove the trim in stages, working along the wall. Take your time, prying slowly to avoid snapping the trim. Even if you won’t reuse it, take the trim off in full lengths for an easier process.

Baseboards are often susceptible to damage during trim removal. Unless high-quality, expensive baseboards are being removed, it is recommended to consider comparing the cost of new baseboards versus the effort involved in restoring the existing ones.

3. Try Removing the Center Section of Flooring

Frequently, it may be observed that vinyl flooring has been entirely perimeter-installed, resulting in an expedited removal process. To elaborate, just a 6-inch perimeter has been bound by adhesive or staples while the central region of the vinyl flooring remains unattached.

To determine if this is the situation in your room, kindly proceed to cut through the flooring surrounding the perimeter of the space, approximately 8 inches away from the walls. Endeavor to maintain a parallel cut to the walls and verify if the center of the flooring effortlessly lifts up.

Taking off vinyl flooring from concrete can be a bit trickier than from wood. The flooring is usually stuck on the concrete, so you gotta scrape carefully or use certain chemicals.

4. Cut the Flooring Into Strips

When removing vinyl flooring, it is recommended to keep a utility knife nearby. As you take out the flooring pieces, slice them into thin, elongated strips that are no wider than 18 inches. Only trim strips when they become difficult to handle. Making the strips narrower will be advantageous when disposing of the old flooring later on.

It is not recommended to begin removing or rolling up significant sections of vinyl flooring at once. Doing so may result in the vinyl becoming weighty and challenging to handle. Unless you intend to give it away or reuse it in another area of the property, there is no need for the vinyl to be kept in large sheets.

5. Remove Glued-Down Flooring With a Pry Bar

To remove glued-down vinyl flooring, it is best to use tenacious, hard scraping techniques, whether for the entire floor or just the perimeter. Commence by prying with the tip of a flat pry bar, chiseling under the vinyl to separate it from the underlayment. Please note that as the pry bar is blunt, it will only be effective if the vinyl is lightly glued down.

6. Use a 5-in-1 Tool

When one is unable to lift the flooring using a prybar, it is advisable to utilize a sharper tool. Insert the tip of a newly sharpened 5-in-1 tool in the space between the vinyl and subfloor, and proceed to use precise, forceful motions. In cases where the adhesive on the floor is aged, it is likely that the tool will successfully aid in its removal.

Please use your other hand to peel back the vinyl while chiseling. If the vinyl seems to come off the floor too easily, it is likely that you are delaminating the vinyl sheet, separating the vinyl layer from its backing layer. Make sure to remove the full thickness of the flooring while chiseling and pulling.

7. Peel Away by Hand

When attempting to extract a floor section, endeavor to grasp it firmly and draw it either directly upwards or backwards towards yourself. This will provide a heightened level of pulling capability.

8. Use a Heat Gun

A heat gun can prove to be an efficacious tool for loosening hard adhesive that is arduous to scrape off. Switch on the heat gun at a low temperature and let it heat-up adequately. Then, move it around the intersection between the flooring and the underlayment. Alternatively, you can attempt to heat a small segment of the top side of the flooring and then pull that section back. A heat gun is also quite efficient when removing glued-down vinyl tiles.

9. Dispose of the Old Flooring

You can totally fold long strips of sheet vinyl up accordion-style into squares by scoring the surface with a utility knife. The first score is a piece of cake to fold back, but the second score and all the alternating ones require a little more force to snap them into a fold.

In numerous communities, vinyl flooring cannot be recycled, necessitating its disposal with traditional waste. Nevertheless, certain towns do not allow building materials to be disposed of as household waste. Please verify local ordinances for appropriate disposal methods in your area, which may entail transporting the flooring to a designated waste disposal site.

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