How to Remove a Floating Floor

You don't really like the floating laminate floor in the house you bought, and you're ready to replace it with a different flooring material.

Snap-lock Flooring

The problem is, you can't figure out how to remove it. Luckily, floating floors were designed for easy removal, and with a few common tools you'll have that floor gone within an hour or two. Before you know it, you'll be ready for the next step in your home improvement project.

Remove the quarter-round wood that is installed against the baseboard by gently prying it with a small pry bar, taking care not to dent or scrape the baseboard. If you plan on reusing the quarter round, number the back of each piece as you remove it from the perimeter of the room.

Determine which wall of the floor was the ending wall of installation by looking at the long edges of the flooring. The ending strip will have a groove along the edge, designed to hold the next piece of flooring. This is your starting wall.

Wedge the angled end of a large pry bar under the first plank of flooring at your starting wall, 1 foot from the corner.

Grasp the pry bar with both hands and pull up. If the flooring is the snap-in type, it will pop out easily; if it has been glued into place, it will take more muscle to break the seal. A well-bonded glue seam may break in the center of the plank instead of at the seam. Continue this process along the length of the starting wall until the entire row of planks has been removed.

Slide your fingertips under the first plank of the second row and pull it toward the wall. A snap-in piece of flooring will slide out of the end of the next plank and can then be easily lifted out of the long-edge connection; repeat this process for the rest of the floor until the entire floor has been removed.

Glued-seam Flooring

Measure the thickness of the first plank you removed, and set your circular saw cutting depth to the same thickness.

Cut the remaining flooring in 3-foot by 3-foot sections, using the circular saw and working along a glue seam for each cut.

Pull up the remaining sections of floor, using a large pry bar to snap the uncut edges where the circular saw came short to the wall.

Things You Will Need

  • Small pry barLarge pry barCircular saw (for glued floors)Leather work glovesCardboard boxes

Tip

  • Place all planks and pieces into a cardboard box as you remove them to avoid slipping on them as you work.Contact your local waste disposal company to find the rules for picking up flooring material.Snap-in floating floor can be reused, as long as the tongue-and-groove edges have not been damaged.

Warning

  • Always use eye protection when working with power tools.

References

About the Author

Robin Hewitt began her writing career in 2008. She is the coauthor of several books, including "The Joyous Gift of Grandparenting," which covers the nutritional and fitness needs of both grandchildren and grandparents.