How to Remove the Backing of Vinyl Flooring From an Underlayment

If the vinyl floors in your house needs replacement, you’re confronted with the grueling task of eliminating not only the floor covering but also the adhesive that stored it in place for decades. The glue probably has dried out, become brittle and formed hard lumps. You have to remove the clutter before you lay the new floor. Once you slice and pull the covering up, scrape the old glue from the underlayment. It is challenging work, but there are a number of methods you can use for a thorough job.

Usual Method

Cut the vinyl floors into strips using a utility knife. Pull the strips up one at a time. Use a scraper and a chisel to loosen massive gobs of glue. Employ a heating gun to difficult places. The heat softens the adhesive and makes it much easier to scrape away.

Loosen the adhesive on plywood underlayment utilizing the scraper and chisel. Remove old adhesive as thoroughly as you can. Any residue might be incompatible with the new floors and lead to yellowing.

Work more closely if the underlayment is a hardwood floor you would like to uncover and refinish. Employ the scraper to remove only massive chunks of adhesive. Utilize an orbital sander or a oscillating tool with a sanding accessory to eliminate most of the remaining portion of the glue. Strip the remaining glue with a floor stripper and refinish the wood.


Chisel and scrape as much of the adhesive as you can. Whether there are regions that refuse to develop, you might have to use a chemical agent like methylene chloride. Open the windows and turn on a fan for ventilation. This chemical emits fumes that are hazardous.

Employ mineral spirits to old tar-based adhesive after you have chiseled and scraped away most of it. Much like methylene chloride, mineral spirits give off dangerous fumes. Ventilate the work place by turning any vents and opening doors and windows.

Cover the ground with dry ice to remove vinyl tile. Cut 12-inch from 12-inch chunks of dry ice and then lay them on the ground. Break off pieces of brittle tile and adhesive to eliminate a lot of the scraping and chiseling of the previous method. Wear protective gloves when handling dry ice to prevent injuries to your hands.

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