How to Remove Underlayment

What You'll Need
Circular saw
Prying tool
Claw hammer
Floor scraper
Safety gear including a dust mask and leather gloves

Removing underlayment from a floor can be a little difficult, especially if it has been in place for a long time. This underlayment is a piece of material between the carpet or veneer surface of the floor and the sub-floor itself. It helps to add extra padding to the top surface of the floor and protect it as well. It also provides a material which is easy for the carpet or other surface to be attached too. Even with the proper tools at your disposal, the job can be difficult work but by following some tips, anyone with basic DIY skills should be able to carry out the job themselves.

Step 1 - Making Preparations

To begin with, set for circular saw depth to the same thickness as the underlayment which is being removed. You should then make cuts across all of the underlayment, reducing them to smaller pieces. Each piece should ideally be about 4 square feet in area. To measure the thickness of the underlayment, try to find an area where there is a heating pipe or some other installation going into the floor; any location where you can see the thickness of the underlayment.

Step 2 - Removing the Pieces of Underlayment

Using the prying tool, you should then be able to remove each piece of underlayment. Remove one piece at a time systematically so that when you remove one piece, you should be able to get your crowbar under the next piece. Pop each piece loose one at a time. This can be very difficult, since the underlayment has probably been firmly glued in fixed in place. However, using a large crowbar with which you can get a lot of leverage, you should be able to manage. If the underlayment is attached to the sub floor with nails, you may need to pull out some of the nails using the claw hammer, loosening the nails first by using the crowbar under each panel.

Step 3 - Finishing Up

When you have removed all of the underlayment itself, you then need to prepare the floor. Continue by removing any nails or staples left behind on the floor using the claw hammer. In some cases, you may want to hammer any nails and screws down into the sub floor as removing them may cause damage. It is highly advisable to be particularly careful when working around doors or any other fixtures such as built-in furniture as it is easy to damage something by mistake. If any built-in furniture sits on the underlayment, you can leave the underlayment in place, scoring the edge away around the bottom of the cabinet.

Finally, use the floor scraper to scrape up any excess mortar. Scoop this up into piles and dispose of it appropriately. Your floor should now be ready for placing new underlayment.