How to Remove Old Vinyl Floors

After years of wear and tear, it may become necessary to replace old vinyl floors. Removing worn vinyl floors can be a challenge for anyone but it can be done. It will require time, patience and work to get the job done the correct way.

Vinyl floor

When removing old vinyl floors, it is necessary to be careful not to damage the sub-floors since that is the foundation for the new flooring. Read on to learn how to remove old vinyl floors.

  1. Take out all of the furniture or appliances in the room where the vinyl flooring is going to be removed. Then remove all of the baseboards and molding along the edges of the floor throughout the room.

  2. Locate an area of flooring that is not glued down. This can usually be found in one of the corners. Using a utility knife or floor knife, cut along the vinyl flooring creating small strips about 12 inches wide. This will make removal easier.

  3. Begin pulling up the small strips. Carefully use a scraper for areas that are heavily glued to the sub-floors.

  4. For stubborn areas that will not lift from the sub-floors, spray a soap and water solution to loosen the vinyl flooring from the adhesive. Carefully scrape away as much adhesive as possible when peeling off the vinyl flooring.

  5. When all of the vinyl has been removed, use a vacuum to remove any small pieces that are left on the floor. This will also reveal how much adhesive is still secured to the sub-floors.

  6. Using a heat gun or hair dryer, heat any of the remaining adhesive to soften. Heating small areas at a time, scrape away the adhesive making sure not to create gouges in the sub-floors.

  7. When all of the vinyl and adhesive has been removed, vacuum again and inspect the sub-floors for damage.


Wear protective gloves and eye wear when removing old vinyl floors. If the vinyl flooring is securely glued to the sub-floors, it is not necessary to remove the old vinyl flooring. Install the new flooring right over it.


If the vinyl flooring is very old, it is necessary to have it tested for asbestos. Move the refrigerator and wet down a small piece of vinyl that is going to be cut. Using a utility knife, cut out a small piece of the vinyl and place it in a plastic bag. Bring this for testing to an asbestos abatement firm which can be located through the local telephone book. If the vinyl flooring has asbestos, it is best to hire a professional to remove it.