Removing the vinyl floor: How it works

vinyl floors are easy to install – and almost as easy to remove again.

However, depending on the age, condition and installation technique of the floor, there are a few things to consider. Learn below how best to remove your vinyl floor and dispose of the residue properly.

What is important when removing vinyl floors

If a room is to be redesigned or renovated, this often includes the replacement of the floor covering.

Vinyl floors are relatively easy to remove yourself, as long as a few important aspects are taken into account.

Laying technique

How time-consuming the removal of a vinyl floor is depends primarily on how it is laid.

Floating or loose laid vinyl floors are easier to remove than glued .

And again, it makes a difference whether the vinyl is fully bonded or self-adhesive.

Age and condition of the soil

The age and condition of the floor also play a role, as the materials used and installation techniques have changed over the years.

While vinyl flooring adhesives used today are becoming more and more efficient and are therefore harder to separate from the substrate, older floor coverings are usually already more worn and brittle, which makes them more easily tear/break when removed.

Special care should be taken with vinyl floors (actually PVC floors) from the 70s and 80s: These may contain asbestos and should therefore only be removed with appropriate protective equipment.

Work preparation

Before starting the dismantling process, it is therefore essential to find out the date of origin of the vinyl floor and how it is attached to the subfloor.

Suitable work clothing as well as any necessary protective equipment (mouthguards, goggles, etc.) – and above all the right tools (cutter knife, spatula, etc.) should also be prepared in advance.

Remove floating vinyl floor

Floating vinyl flooring is very easy to remove as it is not fixed to the subfloor.

In the first – and at the same time most complex – work step the (glued, nailed or screwed) skirting boards are dismantled. Afterwards, the removal of the floor can be started.

Relatively little effort is required for vinyl planks with click system. These can easily be removed row by row and – with the appropriate care – even reused if necessary.

If necessary, the footfall sound insulation and the vinyl floor underlay is removed in a final step, provided that this is no longer required for the new floor covering.

Remove glued vinyl floor

It is a little more complicated when removing glued vinyl flooring.

Although this can also be removed with relatively little effort, adhesive residues usually stick to the substrate and must be removed additionally.

Subdivide floor into individual pieces

If it is vinyl flooring (actually PVC flooring), the floor should be cut into even, narrow strips with a sharp knife or cutter.

If the vinyl consists of individual planks, it can be removed again without prior subdivision.

The individual elements can be grasped more easily with a lever tool or spatula and lifted or detached with less effort.

Ideally, you should start to remove the flooring at the corners by pushing a spatula under the flooring and removing the floor.

It is quite possible that the vinyl will crack again and again and the putty must be reapplied.

Stubborn adhesions can be loosened more easily by heating them with a hair dryer, but electrical spatulas or machine carpet strippers also make the work much easier (ask at the hardware store / rental park).

In addition, special multi-milling machines can also be hired from DIY stores. These are particularly suitable for particularly old coverings and substrates that have been filled several times, as they not only completely remove the vinyl floor including the adhesive layer, but also work their way up to the firm base layer of the subfloor.

Remove vinyl floor from tiles

Often there is already a floor covering underneath the vinyl surface, which is to be uncovered again in the course of renovation.

If, for example, you want to remove a vinyl floor from tiles, a particularly careful procedure is required to avoid damaging them.

Remove adhesive layer

Once the vinyl floor has been completely removed, in most cases an adhesive layer remains.

If a new flooring is laid on top of it, it is sufficient to roughly remove the adhesive residues and then grind it down with a single-disc machine.

If a new bought vinyl flooring is then to be laid, the usual procedure for the preparation of the subfloor is necessary.

However, if the vinyl has been removed to reveal the underlying flooring, the adhesive must be thoroughly removed.

It works best with an electric spatula and a hot-air dryer, which is used to warm up the adhesive residues.

Alternatively, the adhesive can also be moistened and scrubbed with methylated spirit or a turpentine substitute solution.

Dispose of vinyl flooring

Once the vinyl floor has been successfully removed, the remaining residues raise one last crucial question: Where to dispose of?

As vinyl floors are made of artificially produced PVC, they must not be thrown into normal household waste, but disposed of properly.

This is especially true if the material in question is old and contains asbestos.

Vinyl waste can either be delivered directly to material yards or taken away from bulky waste collection.

In both cases, it is advisable to contact the responsible disposal company in good time to find out any restrictions that may apply (size or quantity of vinyl residues) and to arrange a date for delivery or collection.

In addition, the respective waste recycler will provide information on the costs of disposing of the vinyl flooring.

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