How to Remove Vinyl Flooring

It may take more time to remove vinyl flooring than some anticipate, but it can certainly be done effectively with the right tools and attention to detail.

In most cases, you’ll be removing the product from a concrete subfloor. Every situation is unique, and occasionally home and business owners do not know what the subfloor is made from, so they get a surprise as they begin the project. Take it slow at first if you’re unsure. If you do know it’s concrete under the vinyl, have the tools listed below ready to help tackle the job:

Gloves & Goggles

It’s always a good idea to protect your hands and eyes when using heavy-duty tools and chemicals, both of which may be part of this vinyl removal project.

Utility Knife

Make sure you have a fresh new blade and that the handle is in good shape. Utility knives are excellent for cutting through various vinyl thicknesses and material types.

Putty Knife

A handy putty knife helps in the process of scraping up both the vinyl and the old glue and adhesive residue left behind. It helps smooth out the concrete and remove buildup. It can aid it separating & prying the sheet, planks, or tiles from the floor, as well.

Pry Bar

For planks or tiles that need an extra strong pull, a pry bar can be helpful. A pry bar is also a necessity for taking off baseboards and trim before you start the vinyl-removal project.

Stripper for Floor Adhesives

There are strippers made specifically to remove glue from vinyl and subfloors, and most are made with an acetone formula. This agent quickly dissolves the adhesive to allow for an easier separation and removal.

Heat Gun

Many vinyl flooring un-installers appreciate the help of a heat gun in softening the adhesive so it allows for movement and a peeling off of the vinyl product. Usually, it only needs to be set at the lowest temperature to offer effective action in releasing the hold.

General Process For Removal

Of course, clear the room of furniture, decor, and area rugs. Sweep and clear the vinyl for removal. Use your pry bar to remove any trim and baseboards if they are used in the room.

With the new utility knife or fresh blade, make a firm slice through the vinyl material. If it comes apart from the concrete easily, the job should go smoothly and efficiently. If it is stuck firmly to the subfloor, you can use the heat gun on a low setting to start the process of prying it apart.

Use the putty knife along the edges as you go. Slice through when needed, then pry up and along carefully. Use the heat gun when the bond is too tight to use the knives to separate pieces. Take breaks whenever you feel tired or sore—you don’t want to push yourself and get uncomfortable as this could lead to accidents while using these intense tools.

Take your time and be careful to get up all the pieces from edge to edge of the room. When all the vinyl sheet, tile, or plank has been removed, sweep up remnants and small pieces. There will likely be a lumpy glue layer left behind on the concrete. This is where the stripper solution comes in handy. Apply it per the instructions offered on the container, and the floor adhesive should come up effectively. After this, you can clean the concrete with an abrasive scrub mop and standard cleaning solution, and get it ready for the next flooring project.

In some cases, commercial stripper machines can remove vinyl flooring in a fraction of the time that it takes to remove it by hand, so inquire at an equipment rental facility if this sounds interesting.

Good luck with all of your floor removal efforts.


When browsing vinyl floor materials, you’ll notice the various forms include vinyl sheet, composition tile, luxury vinyl tile, and luxury vinyl plank. All are excellent options for a number of settings, with some fitting in more keenly in certain rooms than others. Consider and research the benefits of each to determine which material suits your environment best, then move on to the fun part of selecting a design.

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