Vinyl Floor Removal Tools

The most common method of removing vinyl flooring materials, such as vinyl sheet flooring and vinyl tiles, is by manually scraping the flooring material from the subfloor.

Asbestos and Safety Gear

A hand scraper or putty knife allows demolition workers to scrape vinyl flooring from corners and tight spots.A hand scraper or putty knife allows demolition workers to scrape vinyl flooring from corners and tight spots.
If the vinyl floor rests atop a plywood subfloor, you can skip the scraping and cut, pry and throw away both the vinyl floor and plywood. If you can't remove the subfloor, such as in the case of vinyl floors installed over concrete slabs, or if you want to salvage the subfloor, carefully scrape the tiles or sheet from the floor's surface.

Older homes, particularly those built before the 1970s, are likely to contain some form of asbestos. Asbestos was a popular addition to vinyl flooring because of its fire-resistance and insulating qualities. If you suspect that your vinyl floor contains asbestos, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you contact asbestos-removal professionals for assistance. Even if professionals determine that your vinyl floor does not contain asbestos, you must wear goggles, gloves and respiratory protection while removing vinyl flooring.

Manual Scrapers

Manual scrapers are available with sharp edges or blunt edges, flexible blades or stiff blades and palm-sized handles or long poles. Sharp-edged scraper blades cut through layers of flooring and allow you to peel away tough, old adhesive. However, sharp blades quickly become dull when scraped across hard surfaces, such as concrete. Although blunt blades cannot cut through a vinyl floor, they can repeatedly scrape across concrete subfloors without suffering damage. Flexible blades allow a worker to bend the blade's edge parallel with the floor's surface; this position allows the blade to slide underneath flooring. Stiff blades allow the worker to push the tool with more force than flexible blades.

Power Scrapers

The power scraper's motor drives the rotation of a series of sharp blades that plunge into a floor covering. Power scrapers are similar to rotary garden tillers; the machine's motor assembly mounts to a set of two to four wheels, and the tool's controls allow the operator to raise or lower the blades. Power scrapers are available as both ride-atop models and walk-behind, push models. Although expensive to purchase, tool rental shops sometimes offer power scrapers for hourly or daily rental.

Circular Saws

To simultaneously remove vinyl flooring and sub-floor materials, demolition professionals use circular saws to cut through both the floor covering and floor decking. Equipped with a sharp-toothed blade, the average circular saw is suitable for cutting through vinyl floors. However, professionals sometimes use a heavy-duty circular saw, called a cut-off saw, to handle tough jobs. Typically, saw operators score lines across the entire floor. Once scored, the floor may be pried loose with crowbars and prying tools.

About the Author

Based in Hawaii, Shane Grey began writing professionally in 2004. He draws on his construction experience to write instructional home and garden articles. In addition to freelance work, Grey has held a position as an in-house copywriter for an online retailer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater arts from Humboldt State University.