Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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How to Remove Glued Down Linoleum or Vinyl from a Wood Floor

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I have hardwood floors that have been covered with linoleum. How can I remove the linoleum without damaging the wood underneath? -Hernando

Hi Hernando,

Glued down linoleum and vinyl flooring can be removed from a wood floor without causing too much damage to the wood, if you’re prepared for a fair investment of time and elbow grease. Here’s how to go about it.

Test for Asbestos

If the floor has been around for a number of years, you should purchase an asbestos test kit first, since asbestos was an ingredient in some adhesives used to install linoleum. If the test is negative for asbestos, you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Remove Linoleum or Vinyl Flooring

Start by pulling up as much of the linoleum or vinyl flooring as you can. Since it’s easier to work with smaller strips, it helps if you score the linoleum or vinyl with a razor knife into 12” wide strips.

A helper can speed the process by using a floor scraper to pry under the linoleum strips while you’re pulling on them. Once all the linoleum has been removed, it’s time to work on getting up the adhesive.

Remove Adhesive

There are chemical adhesive solvents on the market, but my concern is that they would soak into the hardwood. I would try working on small areas at a time by pouring boiling water on the adhesive and letting it sit for about ten minutes.

Once the adhesive is loose, use a floor scraper to remove as much of it as you can.

Sand and Refinish Wood Floor

After the adhesive has been removed, allow ample time for the floor to dry. Once the floor is completely dry, rent a floor sander and edger to sand the floor smooth and remove any traces of adhesive.

Finally, vacuum up all the dust, wipe the floor down, and finish with several coats of polyurethane.

Good luck with your project,

Danny

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3 Comments on “How to Remove Glued Down Linoleum or Vinyl from a Wood Floor”

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  1. Amy Taylor Says:
    October 18th, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Not a good idea to put hot water on the wood, causes it to warp and become very soft. Better to pull top layers of flooring off, then soften glue with heat gun to remove.

  2. Andy Mckenzie Says:
    October 7th, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    How about kerosene to remove glue and then metholated spirit to dry out the kero??

  3. liz Says:
    November 3rd, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Where can I purchase and aspestos kit? What if the glue test positive for asbestos? How do I go about removing it?

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