Removing Linoleum From a Floor

Whether you’re giving your own home a make-over or if you’re moving to a new home; you’ll probably want top remove any old linoleum floor coverings. Whether you then replace it with a hardwood floor, stone tiles, carpet or another linoleum covering is a matter of choice for you. Linoleum does make a very hygienic floor surface as it is so easy to clean. However, before fitting the new/replacement floor covering you really must remove any existing linoleum.

Is removing a linoleum floor an easy or difficult job?

The answer to that question is - it can be incredibly easy, but it can also be incredibly time consuming. Three things come into play that will affect the ease with which you can remove a linoleum floor.

    First - is it fixed to the floor?
    Second - if it is fixed to the floor, how is it fixed?
    Third - again if it is fixed to the floor, what sort of floor is it - wood or concrete?

If the linoleum isn’t ‘fixed’ to the floor, removing it is one of the simplest home improvement jobs you’re likely to do. Simply clear any movable objects off the floor and starting at any convenient edge - roll up the linoleum and take it away.

If it is fixed to the floor - then is it nailed/tacked down or, and this is a worse option, has it been ‘glued’ down? If it’s been nailed or tacked down then removal of the linoleum is still quite straight forward. All you have to do is remove the nails/tacks with a pair of pincers before being able to roll it up. If it’s been glued down, whether to a wooden or concrete floor, then I’m afraid you’re in for a tougher and longer job to remove the linoleum flooring.

Removing Linoleum That’s Been Glued Down

If the linoleum has been glued to a solid floor you should be able to remove it just by scraping away at it. To make a start, look for a tear or hole in the linoleum and start scraping at that point. If there is no tear or hole you’ll have to cut through the linoleum with a sharp knife to create a tear. Linoleum floor coverings can be in the form of a continuous sheet or tiles.

If you have linoleum tiles then as you scrape one loose move it out of the way. If you’re dealing with a continuous sheet of linoleum as you are able to lift a section free of the floor, cut it off with a sharp knife and move it out of the way. You can use just about any tool as the scraping implement.

Paint and wall-paper scrapers will do the job, but you might consider buying a purposely designed long handled and heavier duty scraper. This will be engineered to allow you to get more leverage and apply more pressure. Whilst the process for removing linoleum from a timber floor is basically the same, you need to be a little more gentle with your scraping action. It’s important to avoid chopping or cutting into the timber used in the floor-boards.

Removing the Adhesive

It is almost inevitable that some of the adhesive will be left behind on the surface of the floor that the linoleum was stuck to. You’ll probably find that on a solid floor this too can simply be scraped off. Adhesive on a timber floor cannot be attacked with too much vigor using a scraper, for the same reasons as described above.

You might need to apply a solvent to the adhesive to either dissolve or loosen it up, which will then allow the adhesive to be scraped or wiped away relatively easily. DIY or home Improvement stores and web-sites can advise you as to which of the solvents they stock will be best for the job. Chemical solvents can be quite noxious substances, so read the manufacturers instructions carefully before starting to work with one.