How to Remove Peel and Stick Vinyl Tiles

Stevie Donald

New vinyl flooring cannot be installed over old peel and stick vinyl tiles because the seams from the tiles will show through after the new floor has settled. Removing the old tiles is usually a fairly easy job with the right tools.

  1. Remove existing vinyl baseboard, if you have it. After the new floor is installed you will need to replace the vinyl baseboard. The easiest place to start removing tile is usually around the edge.

  2. Find an easy place to start removing the old tiles. If you have removed the vinyl base there will be a gap along the edge of the floor to start scraping. If there are no easy seams, use a hammer to drive the putty knife under a tile at a seam. Once you get the first tile up, the rest should go much easier.

  3. Working the putty knife under the edges of the tiles, pry them up one by one. If the tiles are less than twenty years old, they should come up fairly easily because modern adhesives are water based and designed for easy removal. If the tiles are older, the adhesive might be solvent based and will leave a sticky film on the subfloor.

  4. Use an adhesive remover to clean any glue residue from the floor. Generally this is wiped on liberally in small sections. It softens the remaining residue, which can be scraped up with the same putty knife you used to remove the tile. If the residue is in a very thin film and is sticky but too thin to scrape up, wipe it off instead, using plenty of old rags and turning them frequently.

  5. Allow to dry for 48 hours before installing new vinyl flooring. Some flooring adheres better to a subfloor that has been sealed with a paint primer, and some goes on more successfully over clean bare wood. Check with the retailer or manufacturer of your new floor to determine the best route.


Use a hair dryer to heat the tile if they are very firmly stuck. The heat can soften the adhesive. If just removing one damaged tile, don't pry it from the edges as this can damage adjacent tiles. Using a razor knife, make a cut in the center of the damaged tile and scrape it from the center towards the edges.