How to Remove Vinyl Flooring: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Remove Vinyl Flooring
How to Remove Vinyl Flooring

I have heard my audience ask questions like How to Remove Vinyl Flooring?

Well, if you are tired of your old vinyl flooring and ready for a change? Maybe you want to replace it with hardwood or tile, or perhaps you just want a fresh start. Whatever your reason, removing vinyl flooring can be a daunting task.

But before you dive headfirst into your exciting new flooring project, you need to tackle the task of removing the existing vinyl flooring.

Don’t worry, whether you are looking for how to remove vinyl plank flooring from concrete, how to remove vinyl plank flooring in the bathroom or you are daunted with how to remove glued vinyl flooring —I’m here to guide you through the process step-by-step.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to successfully remove vinyl flooring and prepare the subfloor for your next flooring adventure.

Meanwhile, if you are still considering replacing the floor with a new vinyl plank floor here are the Best Vinyl Plank Flooring Brands For Homeowners

Preparing for Vinyl Flooring Removal

Before we embark on our vinyl flooring removal journey, let’s make sure we’re well-prepared. Safety first, and just like said in its article;

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.

Thus, you need to equip yourself with the following items:

  • Safety goggles to protect your eyes from debris
  • Heavy-duty gloves to safeguard your hands
  • A dust mask to prevent inhaling dust and particles
  • Knee pads for comfortable kneeling during the process
  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar
  • Heat gun or hair dryer
  • Adhesive remover
  • Floor scraper
  • Gloves and eye protection
  • Drop cloths

Once you’re geared up, it’s time to clear the workspace. Remove any furniture, rugs, or objects obstructing your way. Trust me, you don’t want to be tripping over a rogue chair while prying up vinyl tiles!

Step 1: Assessing the Vinyl Flooring

How to Remove Vinyl Flooring

Let’s take a closer look at your vinyl flooring before we bid it adieu. Determine the type of vinyl flooring you’re dealing with—whether it’s adhesive-backed vinyl tiles or sheet vinyl flooring. This information will come in handy when choosing the best removal method.

Additionally, keep an eye out for any underlying issues or damages. Are there any loose tiles or sections? Identifying these areas early on will help you plan your removal strategy accordingly.

RELATED: How Much Does It Cost to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Step 2: Removing Baseboards and Trim

how to remove vinyl plank flooring from concrete

Ah, baseboards and trim—the unsung heroes of a finished floor. But before we can dive into removing the vinyl flooring, we must bid farewell to these trusty companions. Grab your trusty pry bar and a hammer, and let’s get to work!

Start by wedging the pry bar between the baseboard and the wall, then gently pry it away from the wall. Move along the length of the baseboard, applying pressure as needed. Take your time to avoid damaging the wall or the baseboard itself. Repeat the process for any trim surrounding the vinyl flooring.

Step 3: Preparing the Vinyl Flooring for Removal

how to remove glued vinyl flooring

Now that we’ve bid adieu to the baseboards and trim, it’s time to prepare the vinyl flooring for removal. This step will make the actual removal process a whole lot easier, trust me.

If your vinyl flooring was adhered with adhesive, you can make your life simpler by warming it up a bit. Grab your trusty heat gun or a hairdryer and gently heat the vinyl. As the heat softens the adhesive, the vinyl will become easier to remove. Just be careful not to overheat it or yourself!

Pro Tip: Did you know that vinyl flooring has been around since the 1930s? It gained popularity due to its durability and water resistance. However, trends change, and so must our floors!

Step 4: Removing Vinyl Flooring

Removing Vinyl Flooring

Now comes the moment you’ve been waiting for—the removal of the vinyl flooring itself. Grab your tool of choice based on the type of vinyl flooring you have, and let’s get started!

Removing Adhesive-Backed Vinyl Tiles

If you’re dealing with adhesive-backed vinyl tiles, count yourself lucky—they tend to be more forgiving during removal. To remove these tiles, follow these steps:

  1. Begin at a corner of the room and gently lift the edge of a tile using a putty knife or a floor scraper.
  2. Once you have a good grip, start pulling the tile upward, applying steady pressure.
  3. Continue removing the tiles one by one, working your way across the floor until it’s all clear.

Removing Sheet Vinyl Flooring

Sheet vinyl flooring can be a bit trickier to remove, but fear not, we’ve got your back. Here’s how you can tackle this beast:

  1. Find a corner of the room and use a putty knife or a floor scraper to lift the edge of the sheet vinyl.
  2. Slowly peel back the vinyl, working your way across the floor. Be patient and take your time to avoid tearing the sheet.
  3. If the vinyl is stubborn, try using a heat gun or a hairdryer to warm it up, making it more pliable and easier to remove.

RELATED: How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 5: Cleaning and Preparing the Subfloor

Cleaning and Preparing the Subfloor after Removing Vinyl Flooring

Congratulations! You’ve successfully bid farewell to the vinyl flooring that once adorned your space. But before you jump right into the next phase, it’s crucial to clean and prepare the subfloor properly. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Take a good look at the subfloor for any remaining adhesive, debris, or damage. Sweep or vacuum the area to remove any loose particles.
  2. To tackle the adhesive residue, you can use a commercial adhesive remover or a homemade solution like warm, soapy water. Apply it to the affected areas and let it sit for a while, allowing the adhesive to loosen.
  3. Use a floor scraper or a putty knife to gently remove the softened adhesive. Be careful not to damage the subfloor in the process.

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Step 6: Finishing Touches

We’re almost there! It’s time to give your subfloor a little TLC and make it ready for its next flooring endeavor. Follow these steps to put the finishing touches:

  1. Inspect the subfloor for any gaps, holes, or unevenness. Fill any gaps or holes with a suitable filler or leveling compound, ensuring a smooth and level surface.
  2. Before installing new flooring, it’s essential to prime the subfloor. Apply a suitable primer to enhance adhesion and create a barrier between the subfloor and the new flooring material.
  3. Once the primer has dried, it’s time to reinstall the baseboards and trim. Use a nail gun or finish nails to secure them in place, making sure they’re snug against the wall.

And just like that, you’ve successfully removed the vinyl flooring and prepared the subfloor for your next flooring adventure. Give yourself a pat on the back—you’ve earned it!

RELATED: The Pros and Cons of Bamboo Flooring: Is It Right for You?

An Alternative to Removing Vinyl Flooring

If you find removing vinyl flooring too much work, there is an alternative. You can rent a power scraper from your local home center. Although there is a cost attached, it would make the work much quicker.

Be sure to test the power scraper first in an inconspicuous area. You will need to adjust its angle so that it removes only the vinyl-and-glue layer, not the underlying subfloor. Score the vinyl into 10-inch sections with a utility knife, then turn on the scraper and get busy.


Removing vinyl flooring might seem like a daunting task, but armed with the right knowledge and a can-do attitude, you can tackle it like a pro. Remember to prioritize safety, take your time, and follow the step-by-step guide we’ve provided.

Now that you have a clean, prepped subfloor, you’re ready to embark on your next flooring journey. Whether you choose hardwood, carpet, or another exciting option, your space is primed for a fresh and stylish transformation. Good luck, and may your new flooring bring you joy and comfort for years to come!

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Remove Vinyl Flooring

Can I install new flooring directly over the existing vinyl flooring?

It’s generally not recommended to install new flooring directly over vinyl flooring. The new flooring may not adhere properly or lay flat, resulting in an uneven and unstable surface. It’s best to remove the vinyl flooring and ensure a clean, level subfloor before installing new flooring.

How long does it typically take to remove vinyl flooring from a room?

The time required to remove vinyl flooring depends on various factors, such as the size of the room, the type of vinyl flooring, and the adhesive used. As a general guideline, a small room can take a few hours, while larger spaces may require a day or two. Remember to allocate ample time and patience for the task.

What should I do if the vinyl flooring is stubborn and won’t come off easily?

Stubborn vinyl flooring can be frustrating, but don’t lose hope. You can try using a heat gun or a hairdryer to warm the vinyl and soften the adhesive. Additionally, using a floor scraper or putty knife to gently lift the edges can make the removal process easier. If all else fails, consider seeking professional assistance

Can I recycle vinyl flooring?

Unfortunately, recycling vinyl flooring can be challenging due to its composition and the presence of adhesives. However, it’s always best to check with local recycling centers or waste management facilities to inquire about any available recycling options in your area.

Are there any safety precautions I should take while removing vinyl flooring?

Absolutely! Safety should be your top priority during any DIY project. Remember to wear safety goggles, heavy-duty gloves, a dust mask, and knee pads to protect yourself from potential injuries. Additionally, be cautious when using heat tools to avoid burns or fire hazards.

Can I remove vinyl flooring without damaging the subfloor?

With proper care and technique, you can minimize the risk of damaging the subfloor during vinyl flooring removal. Use tools like putty knives or floor scrapers to gently lift the vinyl, taking care not to dig into the subfloor. If you encounter stubborn adhesive, try using a suitable adhesive remover to avoid excessive scraping.

Is it necessary to remove the vinyl flooring if it’s in good condition?

If your vinyl flooring is in good condition, with no signs of damage or issues, you may consider keeping it in place and installing new flooring directly over it. However, ensure the vinyl is well-adhered and level to provide a stable base for the new flooring. It’s always a good idea to consult with flooring professionals for personalized advice.

Can I reuse vinyl flooring tiles or sheets after removal?

Reusing vinyl flooring tiles or sheets after removal is challenging, as the adhesive backing may lose its effectiveness during the removal process. Additionally, the edges and corners of the vinyl may become damaged or uneven. It’s generally recommended to opt for new flooring materials for your next project to ensure a clean and durable installation.

What are some alternative methods for removing vinyl flooring?

While the step-by-step guide outlined in this article is a commonly used and effective method for vinyl flooring removal, there are alternative approaches as well. Some people opt for using a floor stripping machine or a power scraper to expedite the process. However, these methods require caution and experience to prevent damage to the subfloor.

Can I remove the vinyl flooring by myself, or should I hire a professional?

Removing vinyl flooring can be a DIY project if you’re comfortable with basic tools and have the necessary time and patience. However, if you’re unsure about the process or dealing with a large area, hiring a professional flooring contractor is a wise choice. They have the expertise and tools to ensure a smooth and efficient removal process while minimizing potential damage to the subfloor.

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