How To Remove Old Linoleum Or Glue When Replacing Flooring

Flooring upgrades are one of the best home improvement projects a homeowner can take on. New flooring tends to be very affordable, and many types of flooring are easy install.

Unfortunately, removing old flooring can present homeowners with a new set of challenges. Old linoleum was often installed using a tar-based adhesive or glue. Both of these materials grow harder with age, which can make old floors extremely difficult to remove. Thankfully, there are a number of strategies homeowners can use to remove old flooring quickly and easily.

Removing Old Linoleum From Concrete Floors

If homeowners are removing linoleum from floors that with concrete beneath them, they may want to start out by scraping the linoleum away using a large manual scraper. However, this can be a slow and tedious process.

It can be very helpful to heat the glue before the tile is removed. A small propane torch is ideal for this task. When the glue is heated, the flooring should scrape away very quickly. Because a propane torch will produce smoke, this method may be better used for spot removal.

Glue can be heated more efficiently using boiling water. Homeowners should begin this process by lining the floors with towels. From there, they should pour boiling water directly on to the towels. This should be done with care. If the water is poured too quickly, it could lead to severe burns.

The water-soaked towels should remain on the tile for about 15 minutes. After that, the towels can be removed, and the old flooring can be scraped away. This process can dirty or damage the towels, but it will make the linoleum much simpler to remove.

Read also:  Choosing Linoleum for Your Bathroom

Removing Linoleum From Delicate Flooring

In the past, it was not uncommon for homeowners to lay down linoleum over hardwood floors or other types of delicate flooring. Removing linoleum without damaging the flooring beneath it will take a great deal of care.

Homeowners should start by removing as much of the flooring as they can. Most people find it easier to pull away the flooring in small strips. Homeowners should take a razor knife and slice the linoleum into strips that are approximately 12 inches wide.

From there, most of the linoleum will be able to be pulled away with the aid of a small scraping tool. Only the adhesive below will remain.

Because chemical adhesive solvent can be damaging to wood floors, softening glue with water is a safer bet. As with concrete floors, homeowners should begin by lining the floors with towels. From there, water that is hot, but not boiling, should be poured over the towels. The towels should be removed after 10 minutes; any longer could cause damage to the floors.

People who are uncomfortable with using water could also try scraping away the adhesive using a putty knife. While this can be very time-consuming, homeowners can speed up the process by softening the glue with a heat gun. Little by little, the adhesive should be scraped away.

Testing For Asbestos

If a home’s floors were installed prior to 1980, homeowners might want to test for asbestos before beginning the removal process. Asbestos was once a common ingredient in linoleum adhesives. If flooring does contain asbestos, it may become airborne during the removal process. Homeowners will need to take extra precaution in order to strip away floors safely.

Read also:  How to Lay Linoleum: DIY Instruction

While stripping away old linoleum and glue can be a time-consuming process; there are a number of steps homeowners can take to make things go more smoothly. Before long, the old flooring will have been removed, and new floors can be laid down in its place.

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About the author

Carol RobsonCarol Robson

Carol Robson is a retired social worker who believes in living simply, being ecologically friendly and leaving a small footprint. For more helpful information for others looking to do the same, check out Tiny House Plans.