Need to remove your old floor coverings?  

The type of floor coverings that you would like to remove will dictate the complexity and how much work is involved.  Carpet and Vinyl Tiles are relatively easy to remove, Full vinyl sheets can be harder and removing ceramic tile is a lot of work.

Tools Needed:

Floor scraper, utility knife, spray bottle, wallboard knife, wet/dry vacuum, heat gun, hand maul, masonry chisel, flat pry bar, end-cutting nippers.


Liquid dish washing detergent


You will need to remove baseboards before tackling the removal of flooring.  To safely remove baseboards place a piece of scrap board against the wall to avoid damaging the wall itself. Remove the baseboard by using a pry bar placed against the scrap board. Move along and pry the baseboard at all nail locations. It would be a good idea to number or letter the pieces as they are removed for easy installation after you have completed the work.

Removing Vinyl Sheet

After removing base moldings, use a utility knife to cut the old flooring into strips about 12 inches wide.

Pull up as much flooring as you can by hand, grip the strips close as to the floor as possible to minimize tearing.

for stubborn sections you can cut strips 5 – 6 inches wide.  Start at the wall and peel up as much as possible. If the backing remains, use a solution of water and liquid dish washing detergent, spray under the surface layer to help separate the backing.  Use a wallboard knife to scrape up the remnants.

Scrape up the remaining debris using a floor scraper. Spray with the solution as you go to help loosen the stubborn material. Sweep up the debris and then finish up with a wet/dry vacuum.  Ensure that the vacuum has about an inch of water to help reduce the dust.

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Removing Vinyl Tiles

Remove base moldings. start at a loose seam, use a long handled floor scraper to pry up the tiles. stubborn tiles can be removed by softening the adhesive by use a heat gun, then use a wallboard knife to pry up the tile and scrape underneath.

Remove difficult areas of adhesive or backing by spraying floor with a solution of water and liquid dish washing detergent, and then scrapping with a floor scraper.

Removing Carpet

Using a utility knife, cut around metal threshold strips (located at wall base) to free the carpet.  Remove the threshold strips with a pry bar.

Cut the carpet into small enough pieces to easy carry out and remove. Roll the carpet in strips and remove from room, then repeat the process with padding.  The padding will likely be stapled to the floor, it will come up in pieces as you roll it.

Use end-cutting nippers or pliers to remove all of the staples from floor.

If the carpet is glued down – first cut the carpet into strips with a utility knife, then pull up as much material as you can. Scrape up the remaining material with a floor scraper.

Removing Ceramic Tile

Remove base moldings. Using a masonry Chisel, knock out the tile.  If possible, start in a space between tiles where grout may have loosened.  Take care around fragile fixtures and drain flanges.

Use a floor scrapper to remove any remaining debris and adhesive, you may have to use a belt sander with coarse sand belt to grind off stubborn adhesive.


Source by Joe Fox

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