Author Topic: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring  (Read 5364 times)

mozar

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Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« on: June 03, 2016, 09:17:52 AM »
I've been looking under a corner under the carpet for a couple of years now trying to figure out what in the world the previous owners did. So it looks like underneath the carpet there is vinyl tile and underneath that it looks like there is wood in poor condition. I read that I would have to get a heat gun to remove the tile? Is this something diy-able? I have loads of free time and cash set aside for home improvements this year. I could go either way but I was all set to remove the carpet but I'm feeling overwhelmed by the idea of removing tile. And is it possible that my wood floors aren't restorable or are they always restorable?
It's just my living room and stairs, about 400sqft.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2016, 09:49:06 AM »
A heat gun? There's a special tool for this. This is the first one I found Googling so you know what shape it should have. It's good exercise, but very doable.

FLBiker

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2016, 10:05:55 AM »
Re: restorability of wood floors, I don't know much, but I know that with some (like parquet) you only get a couple of restorations before you sand through the finished surface.  Solid wood (obviously) would be different.

Spork

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2016, 10:11:00 AM »
If it is vinyl tiles and not sheet vinyl... you might be surprised.  It might be fairly easy.  All I can say is try it and see.

As a precaution: some of those vinyl looking tiles from the 60s era have asbestos in them.  I think (some of) the obsessive dangers of asbestos are over rated... but... do be careful nonetheless.  Breathing mask on and wet it down if you determine it is asbestos.

Beriberi

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2016, 12:03:44 PM »
Wood in poor condition can look really nice when painted white and covered with polyurethane. Pinterest is full of this and it is a cheap solution. 

I agree with the asbestos tile.  There is a certain size that seems to be diagnostic for asbestos (9x9 maybe?).  It is a real hassle to remove legally, but there are lots of web instruction on DIY. If you want to install new florring, I think many people simply install right over the vinyl tile.

mozar

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2016, 12:41:29 PM »
It looks like sheet vinyl :-(

backyardfeast

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2016, 02:07:57 PM »
We just took up old sheet vinyl off our concrete basement slab to install new vinyl plank tiles.  It was paaiiinnnffull.  If we'd known how bad it would be, we would have tried to install something right over top.

The glues that are used to put the vinyl down are/were incredibly adhesive.  A friend has decided to chip up his concrete and re-level rather than try to take up the glue only.  If you've got an old vinyl floor, there are now products on the market that will bond to it to level the floors and then you can put down whatever you like.

My suspicion would be that a) you have asbestos, and b) the wood underneath that vinyl may not be recoverable once you try to take the glues off.

BUT!  There's no harm in trying a small area to see.  To take up the floor, buy a floor scraper and many replacement blades.  Use a heat gun to soften the vinyl, should peel up relatively easily.  We were left with a paper backing on the floor stuck to the adhesive; DH would soak this with boiling water to soften and heat everything, and then use the floor scraper to laboriously scrape all that mess off the concrete.  You should quickly be able to see if it is possible for the wood to stay intact once you've scraped away the vinyl...

Good luck!

robartsd

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2016, 02:35:16 PM »
I agree with the asbestos tile.  There is a certain size that seems to be diagnostic for asbestos (9x9 maybe?).  It is a real hassle to remove legally, but there are lots of web instruction on DIY. If you want to install new florring, I think many people simply install right over the vinyl tile.
Yes, 9"x9" was the size used during the time period where asbestos was common, 12"x12" became the usual size later. I'm not sure that all 9"x9" tiles contain asbestos, but I would consider any tile this size suspect until confirmed otherwise. Installing sheet vinyl flooring over asbestos is very common.

mozar

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2016, 05:29:51 PM »
Quote
Installing sheet vinyl flooring over asbestos is very common.

I'm pretty sure it is sheet vinyl over wood slats.
The wood looks like this: http://themetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Wood-Slats.jpg
The tile looks sort of like this: http://www.ecvv.com/product/1000066489.html
Except the tile is a little bit thicker but I can still tear it with my hands. It's definitelys not a tile that comes in 9x9 or 12x12, it's definitely a sheet.
The carpet has to come up because of my allergies, and it was so poorly done that I can't walk around barefoot without stepping on tacks.  Ugh.

Uturn

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2016, 07:48:35 PM »
You might get lucky and it's not glued.  I've put sheet vinyl in two houses and I just let it float. I only used double stick tape at the transition areas.

mozar

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2016, 09:01:26 PM »
If the wood isn't recoverable, would it be an option to lay wood on top?

backyardfeast

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2016, 10:13:34 PM »
Mozar, can you see what's underneath the wood?  Ie, is there a subfloor under the wood?  Can you see anything from the ceiling below?

You can definitely buy self-leveling compound that you can put over the vinyl to get a level surface, and then put a floating floor over top.  That's usually engineered wood or laminate.  With hardwood, you usually have to nail it down, and you need to know what you'd be nailing into.  Carpenter husband says your pic of the wood slats looks like 1x2, and if that's simply attached to the floor joists, then you may need to lay a subfloor (plywood) down first.  Then the problem may be that the thickness of the plywood raises the level of your floor, so it depends whether that's an issue in your space.

Mongoose

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2016, 07:27:25 AM »
I've done this, albeit for a small section of vinyl (6'x6') which is all that the previous owners had laid on the hardwood.

I very carefully used hot water and scraping to remove the glue. It works...but it's a tedious, long term project if you have goobers who used a lot of glue. I saw some suggestion that peanut butter rubbed into the glue softens it enough to remove easily. Never tried that method though.

My parents have friends who removed vinyl over hardwood in their whole house this way. It took forever but was gorgeous when they finished. YMMV.

In our case we knew there was a nice condition oak floor under the old, ugly carpet and vinyl. So, ripping it out and getting the glue up gave us the equivalent of a new floor for free.

mozar

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2016, 09:33:17 AM »
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Mozar, can you see what's underneath the wood?  Ie, is there a subfloor under the wood?

I don't think I can see under the wood without pulling it out. It's pretty nailed down and solid looking.

Quote
Can you see anything from the ceiling below?

What ceiling?

Quote
You can definitely buy self-leveling compound that you can put over the vinyl to get a level surface

The vinyl is coming up around the edges too so I'm assuming it has to come up.

Maybe I should take up the carpet and vinyl and then hire someone to look at it and determine what the floor is attached to and whether there should be put down a new sub floor or what.

backyardfeast

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2016, 01:20:53 PM »
Quote
Mozar, can you see what's underneath the wood?  Ie, is there a subfloor under the wood?

I don't think I can see under the wood without pulling it out. It's pretty nailed down and solid looking.

Quote
Can you see anything from the ceiling below?

What ceiling?

Quote
You can definitely buy self-leveling compound that you can put over the vinyl to get a level surface

The vinyl is coming up around the edges too so I'm assuming it has to come up.

Maybe I should take up the carpet and vinyl and then hire someone to look at it and determine what the floor is attached to and whether there should be put down a new sub floor or what.

That sounds like it might be a good idea.   I was imagining a basement below your living space that you could look up through the ceiling. :)  Crawl space?  You hadn't mentioned a concrete foundation underneath the wood...

Good luck!

mozar

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2016, 09:43:55 PM »
Oh right. Yes it is a crawl space, and I don't have access to it. I can probably ask someone from my coop if there is a sub floor.

Goldielocks

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Re: Suggestions for removing vinyl flooring
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2016, 11:02:27 PM »
If it is vinyl tiles and not sheet vinyl... you might be surprised.  It might be fairly easy.  All I can say is try it and see.

As a precaution: some of those vinyl looking tiles from the 60s era have asbestos in them.  I think (some of) the obsessive dangers of asbestos are over rated... but... do be careful nonetheless.  Breathing mask on and wet it down if you determine it is asbestos.

I was told that the 12 inch tiles are safe, but the 9 inch tiles are likely asbestos tiles.