How to Remove Vinyl Flooring

Once you learn how to strip and remove vinyl flooring, you’ll be on your way to a new bathroom or kitchen remodel. Yes, it can be hard work, but it will save you in the long run. Laying new flooring over old, damaged vinyl is just asking for trouble. Depending on the type of new flooring you install, you could have problems with the new floor sticking properly or ultimately seeing and feeling the texture of the old floor. Neither option is good.

Tools You’ll Need to Remove an Old Vinyl Floor

It doesn’t matter if you removing vinyl from a wood sub-floor or concrete, the tools you need are the same. You’ll need tool to remove baseboard, knives to cut the vinyl and tools to scrape the vinyl off the floor. Hot water or a heat gun will help soften the old adhesive making it easier to remove the old flooring.

What You’ll Need:

  • Pry bar
  • Utility knife with extra blades
  • Floor scrapper
  • Soapy, hot water (in a spray bottle)
  • Heat gun (optional)
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Wet-vac

Don't Remove Vinyl Flooring without this Tool

Once you get started, you’ll be thankful for a floor scraper like this Warner 790 4-Inch Stripe and Clean Scraper, available from Amazon.

Removing Vinyl Flooring from Wood or Concrete

Start by removing baseboard. Use the pry bar for that and be careful if you plan on reusing the older material.

If the old floor is vinyl tiles, you can use the floor scraper to pry up a corner and start removing. You may have to start with a smaller tool, like a paint scrapper to loosen a corner.

If it’s sheet vinyl, you need to use the utility knife to cut the old flooring into smaller squares or strips. Use the scraper to pry and scrape.

More than likely, you’ll have adhesive residual left on the floor. That has to come off before you can lay a new floor,

Stray the floor with hot, soapy water and let it soak for a few minutes. Use the scraper to removes the adhesive. Re-spray for stubborn adhesive.

Clean up the old adhesive with the wet-vac.

Alternatives to Removing Vinyl Flooring

There are time when it doesn’t make sense to remove an vinyl flooring. It just might be too much trouble or if it’s vinyl laid pre-1980’s, you may have asbestos issues. If you can’t afford to have a professional remove the flooring, you best alternative is to lay a new sub-floor over the vinyl.

If you do add a new plywood sub-floor, keep in mind that it might change the floor level from one room to another. That may require alternating doors and adding custom doorway sill plates.

If you’re a hand do-it-yourselfer, this may be a labor-intensive job, but one that isn’t beyond your skills. If you’re new to DIY work around the house, you may want to take a look at a video, like the one below before you remove vinyl flooring.