Removing Floor Tiles and Sheet Goods

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    Because Asbestos products can be a danger any removal of flooring products should only be performed if you are sure that the tiles or sheet goods contain no asbestos fibers.

    In this HowTo it is assumed that the floor you are removing was installed after 1980 when asbestos was banned in flooring or you have taken all the precautions to have your flooring materials analyzed by a licensed professional.

    Preparing the Work Area

    To prepare the work area, remove all movable objects from the work area and protect all other objects including cabinets and fixtures with heavy plastic polly tarp.

    To Remove Floor Tile

    If we are working on a concrete substrate we will cover the floor with a small amount of amended water which is 1 cup of detergent soap to 5 gallons of water. This will reduce any dust. If you are working on a second floor that has a plywood or OSB subfloor with a luan underlayment you can skip this step. 

    Floor tile is most easily removed from the edges. Use a hammer and putty knife or similar tool to work under the edges of the tile and pop the tile loose. Once the first tile is loose, work the putty knife at a 45 degree angle to gently pop the remaining tiles loose.

    To Remove Vinyl Floor Sheet Goods 
    Vinyl Sheet Goods is the type of flooring that is a continuous material and comes in 10 foot wide rolls. Vinyl Sheet Flooring may be adhered around the edges of the room or over the entire floor surface. 

    To remove this type of flooring first cut the material along the length of the room with a utility knife you want to create a manageable width that you can roll up and carry. 

    Now starting at one end of the room cut across the width and begin to peal back the floor using a metal putty knife or razor scraper.

    Portions of the backing may separate from the linoleum during removal and remain adhered to the floor. If this happens you will have to use a hand scraper to remove it. Sometimes wetting it can losen the material making it easier to scrape.  

    Removing the Adhesive

    Once you have removed the flooring you may have a 1/8th inch thick Luan Plywood underlayment. If this is what you have then you can remove the underlayment by removing the screws that were used to fasten it to the subfloor.  If not and the Vinyl Floor was set on top of a hardwood floor that you want to keep or if it is on a concrete floor then you will need to remove the adhesive before you can refinish the wood or install the new flooring.

    You can see our other HowTo for  a more detailed description about removing flooring adhesive but the basic idea is you must first findout what type adhesive was used. This will be either a new glue type adhesive or an older asphalt adhesive and then you must wipe down this area with a solvent that will remove all residue. Some solvents are not compatible with new adhesives meaning using the wrong solvent could prevent the new adhesive from sticking. So, you should check with your flooring contractor to make sure your solvent matches your needs.

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