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I need to remove old vinyl flooring and nothing is working - any ideas? Answered

I am removing old vinyl flooring to put down ceramic tile. The vinyl is 17 years old and I have tried a heat gun, glue remover, an iron and foil, a heated trowel and nothing works quickly. A job that should take a week is taking months. Can ceramic tile be put down on top of the vinyl without the grout cracking when you walk on it?


Blackdog Barker

9 years ago

If you have tried the other suggestions and are still stuck there are a couple more options..
1 if you have plywood (not particle board) sub floor you can try sanding off the floor.. This is dusty and messy but works.. (rent a floor sander) The tip here is to keep it moving, because it will eat into the sub-floor you wish to save.
2 Power striper.. (these look like a mutant palm sander) You might have seen them on late night Tv cutting moldings and door jams as well as sanding.. Put the stripping blade and go at it.. you will be getting only a 2" to 3" strip removed but it is less work than all elbow grease.

Hope this helps and good luck!


10 years ago

I agree with Mike... it might be best to rip up the subfloor also, especially if it is particleboard, over something else. I am in the process of ripping one up myself, in my own home, and have ripped up many others. Luckily for me, in my own house, it is poorly bonded, and a 2-handed replaceable-blade paint scraper and a fair bit of elbow grease gets rid of the old adhesive. If you absolutely can't get it removed, tile can be installed over it, BUT YOU MUST go back and fill in all the missing chunks with leveler and then glue or thinset AND nail or screw down 1/4" cementitious backer board ("Wonderboard" or "Hardibacker") over the leveled floor. Keep in mind that after you lay the tile, the finished product will be 1/4" backerboard + leveler + thinset mortar + tile thickness higher than the original substrate. In the worst-case scenario this could be an inch or more. Good luck.


10 years ago

Make yourself a REALLY sharp scraping tool, radius the corners a little so it doesn't dig in, and then retry the hot air gun. Works for me at least.


10 years ago

no. If you leave the vinyl in place and install tile on top your work will suffer. You will need to strip the floor to the subfloor (plywood) and start from there. Sounds like the vinyl was applied using a tough adhesive of some kind, bummer. You can either keep at it with the heat (carefully, naked flame is incredibly dangerous) and try sliding a long prybar along the floor, putting a little muscle into the motion. Sometimes old vinyl can chip off in large chunks. If the vinyl was applied directly to the subfloor your only other option might be to remove the old sub and reinstall a new one, then apply your thinset and tiles on that. I feel your pain, I hate vinyl flooring.