Removing Underlayment Tip Removing Underlayment Tip

What You'll Need
Circular saw
Claw hammer
Pry bar
Work gloves
Dust mask

The floor underlayment placed on top of the subfloor is added padding to the upper floor. The material on top of the underlayment can be anything from carpet or vinyl to wood. Trying to take out the underlayment can prove to be a difficult job depending on the material on top of it. The article below will explain how to remove an underlayment regardless of the material on top of it.

Step 1 – Determine the Fastening Method

The underlayment can be installed to the subfloor in a myriad of ways but only two really stand out as being the standard. The first is by use of nails and the other will have the underlayment screwed in place. An underlayment that is screwed down is easier to remove than one that is nailed down. You can determine which method was used by removing a 1 X 1 foot section of the upper floor.

Step 2 – Prepare

If you need to use the circular saw to remove the underlayment (if it is glued in place or nailed) then make sure you have the blade set to the thickness of the underlayment. The battery pack of the power screwdriver should also be fully charged and all of your other tools should be handy. Always wear a pair of work gloves and a mask to protect your face from dust particles. If you do not know how thick the underlayment is then find a water or heating pipe running along the edge of the floor. Slide a tape measure between them until it stops. This will give you thickness.

Step 3 – Remove the Upper Floor

If you plan on salvaging the floor on top of the underlayment you need to do so carefully. If you have carpet then cut along the edges and pull it up from the tacks boards. Work slowly and methodically until the carpet is removed and the underlayment is exposed. Slate can be removed but you will need a grout cutter to cut between the slate. You will usually have to break one in order to salvage the others. Once you can get to the bottom use a scraping tool to shove it under the slate. The same applies to wood floor but you can remove it by gently prying it up at the sides along the wall. Vinyl flooring can be removed with a scraper.

Step 4 – Remove the Underlayment

If the underlayment is fastened by screws then use the screwdriver to remove all of the screws in it. Once the screws are removed you can then use the pry bar to pry the sections off of the subfloor. If the underlayment is nailed or glued down then you need to cut it out. You can also cut the underlayment if it is screwed down in large sections. Use the circular saw to cut the underlayment in 4-foot by 4-foot squares. Use the pry bar to lift the sections off of the subfloor.

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