Vinyl Floor Tile Removal in 3 Steps

What You'll Need
Hair dryer
Heat gun
Flooring adhesive remover

There may come a time when you’ll need to do a little floor tile removal. But to do this, you’ll need to know what all is involved before you begin. What follows is a 3-step process for the removal of tile. By first preparing, then removing the tile before taking off the adhesive residue, you should be able to completely remove vinyl tile from any floor.

Step 1: Preparation

The first thing you’ll need to do, before a single piece of vinyl flooring is removed, is get prepared. Keep in mind that any vinyl flooring created before about the middle of the 1980s might contain asbestos. Asbestos can be very dangerous, and fatal in large dosages, so you certainly don’t want to mess with any of that stuff. Therefore, just to be on the safe side, have your flooring material tested for asbestos before beginning the removal process. And if you should find any asbestos material, have it removed professionally. But in cases where you don’t even believe there is asbestos present, be extra cautious and wear a mask or respirator whenever you take out flooring, if for nothing else, to avoid inhaling too much airborne particles or dust. Another significant preparation step is to make sure your work area is sufficiently ventilated. You can accomplish this task by opening windows and/or doors and placing fans nearby, if needed.

Step 2: Take Out the Flooring

Be prepared to feel a little pain the next day because removing vinyl tile applied with self adhesive is hard work. You’ll need to put in a lot of physical labor, and have a little more than the usual amount of patience. The most efficient and effective method for removing tiles requires heat and a tough scraper. If you put heat on the tile, the underpinning adhesive loosens up and doesn’t bind so tightly with the floor. Sometimes, all you need for this heat is a typical hair dryer. But if that doesn’t do the trick, try an electric heat gun. Another safety precaution involves handling a heat gun with care; these create high temperatures, which can burn you and your floor.

Step 3: Take Out the Adhesive

Once you have taken out every tile, you will still have remnants of adhesive residue. There might be a lot, or there may be just a little. In some cases, vinyl installers apply added spread adhesive when they do their work, and this compounds the residue factor even more. Keep in mind that if you’re attempting to preserve the flooring beneath your vinyl, there is a chance of damaging it during the adhesive removal process. Therefore, there is an amount of risk involved. Methods of residue removal involve scrubbing this stubborn stuff with mineral spirits, as well as making it softer using steam or hot water. Best of all, however, is to purchase flooring adhesive remover at your local hardware outlet. These products work by laying on a chemical product, which then sits for a while to make the adhesive soft, and then the residue can be scraped off.