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How to Remove Vinyl or Resilient Flooring

Removing stubborn resilient tile from subflooring or a concrete slab can be a hideous job unless you have the right tool: a tile stripper, available through tool rental companies.

This heavy contraption rolls on two wheels and chips up the old flooring, using a replaceable blade. Though it works best on a concrete slab, the same tool will remove resilient tile from wood floors, but you’ll want to fit it with a flexible blade made for this task so it does not damage the subflooring. When removing vinyl or resilient tile from solid-board subflooring, always work in line with the wood grain (not across the boards).


You can buy an asbestos test kit online for about $30. Photo: Pro-Lab®

Before pulling up old vinyl or resilient flooring, be sure neither the material nor the adhesive that holds it in place contain asbestos. You can remove a small sample of the materials, including backing and adhesive, and have it tested by an asbestos testing lab. You can buy a do-it-yourself asbestos test kit online.

If any of the materials contain asbestos, you’ll need to call an asbestos abatement contractor or, if the asbestos is not friable (airborne) you may be able to leave the old floor in place and cover it with the new flooring, applied over luaun plywood underlayment.

About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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