How to Remove Cork Floor Tiles

cork flooring samples
  • 6-12 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-200
What You'll Need
Utility knife
Hammer or mallet
Heat gun
Garden hoe or shovel
Broom and dustpan
Power sander

Cork floor tiles are a beautiful option for flooring that look nice and absorb a lot of sound. They are environmentally friendly and come in a number of different colors. They are attached with a strong adhesive, but are lightweight and easier to install than other kinds of flooring.

Step 1 - Prepare and Consider Your Options

Removing cork floor tiles is a difficult process and will require a lot of elbow grease, no matter how you go about it. If the adhesive was applied correctly, you’ll have a difficult time trying to pull up the tiles. You should wear gloves and goggles during the removal process to keep yourself safe from any dust or nails. Before you remove all the cork floor tiles, you should consider laying your new floor down on top of the tiles instead of on the subfloor. There are tools and tips for installing floor tiles on top of cork floor tiles online.

Step 2 - Scrape Up the Cork Floor Tiles

Use a utility knife to cut each piece of tile in half. If the tiles are too large to cut in half the whole way through, you can cut them to sizes you can work with. Scrape underneath the half tile with your chisel. Hit it with a hammer or mallet as far as possible under the tile. Your method of removal will depend on how strong the adhesive is and how big your chisel is. Use a bigger chisel to remove larger sections of cork floor tiles.

Step 3 - Other Methods of Removal

assortment of shovels

If you’re having a tough time on your hands and knees removing floor tiles one by one, there are a few other options to speed up the process. Some have said that using a garden shovel or hoe you can remove tiles more efficiently and with less strain on your back. If you have a heat gun, you can use it to melt some of the adhesive and remove the cork floor tiles more easily. With a heating gun and a garden tool you can decrease the time spent on removing cork floor tiles.

Step 4 - Clean and Sand

It’s best to clean as you go when removing cork floor tiles to leave more room to scrape up the tiles around where you’re working. Use a broom and dustpan to clean up any small pieces of cork floor tiles leftover. You can use a power sander to help sand down any adhesive that’s left over on the subfloor and to remove any chunks of cork tile that are still stuck to the floor. The sander will also give you a smooth and even surface where you can install your new floor.