This blog will provide you with all the information you need when it comes time for you to remove old flooring in your home without causing damage. This includes how to remove vinyl and linoleum (lino) from wood floors, removing tile flooring and carpet removal. Once your existing flooring is removed you can check out our handy guides for information on sanding wooden floors, grinding and polishing concrete floors or laying vinyl and lino. For any of these DIY jobs, come and see the team at your local Hirepool branch to get kitted out with all the right tools you need for the job.
Removing any type of flooring in your own home is a big task that requires you to put in a lot of time and effort. By having a plan of attack before getting started on removing flooring will make the whole process run as smoothly. It’s important that you know what you’re going to do next once you have removed your flooring. Are you going to sand and polish the original floorboards underneath the flooring you are removing? Perhaps you might decide you want to lay down brand new carpet. No matter what you decide to do, this should be thought of before removing your current flooring, so you can go straight into your next job right away.
If you are living in an older house, there is a chance you could have asbestos in your flooring. This is much more likely if your house was built sometime between the 1930s and 1950s. Some vinyl flooring contains asbestos as an additive which was used to make it stronger and more heat resistant. Asbestos-containing vinyl flooring is completely safe in a home until you decide it’s time to crack on with a flooring change and remove the vinyl. It’s very important that you find out whether your flooring contains asbestos before starting any work removing it. If your flooring does contain asbestos, the smart idea is to get the pros in to remove it, as inhaling any asbestos particles is extremely bad for your health.
You should also have a plan for what you are going to do with your old flooring once you remove it. Are you able to recycle it? Or does it have to be disposed of? If you’re ripping the carpet out in your home, it pays to recycle it due to the number of complex fibres and chemicals it's made up of that make it near impossible to break down in a landfill. Before recycling your old carpet, it pays to give it a good once over with a quality carpet cleaner first.
You should think about the equipment that you will need for all parts of the job. This not only includes the tools for the removal process but also what you’ll need for after the job is done and you have to get rid of all the debris you’ve created. You may need to use a durable wheelbarrow to transport any sharp old tiles you’ve removed. If you're tackling a big section of flooring, you could hire a trailer to use to take your old flooring to the tip
By making sure you’ve got the right equipment for the job, the chances of causing any avoidable damage during the removal process will be greatly reduced.
At Hirepool, you can hire all the equipment you will need for any floor removing DIY job. Whether you need a concrete breaker with attachments and a trolley to lift vinyl, carpet and tiles, a walk behind floor stripper to lift stubborn vinyl or lino, or a range of floor sanding tools to remove the old adhesive from wood or concrete floors. Hirepool has the equipment to help you remove old flooring without doing damage to the subfloor or foundations below.
It’s also very important you have the right safety equipment you need for the type of floor removal you are taking on. For all jobs, you will need to wear hand, eye and foot protection. Most jobs will also require you to wear hearing protection. Some jobs, such as removing tile or vinyl flooring may require you to wear a safety mask too, and if using machinery, you may need to use shock protection in the form of an RCD (residual current device).
No matter what type of flooring you are lifting, avoid damaging the doors in your home by removing them from their hinges before you start. You may also want to remove the skirting boards from the perimeter of your floor. This may not always be necessary if removing carpet or vinyl/lino, but to avoid denting or damaging them it’s recommended. To do so, use a pry bar or a chisel and hammer, carefully tapping them away from the wall, working your way down the length of the skirting towards the corner. Once you have removed the skirting, also remove any nails by using a hammer and packer to lever off of, avoiding damage to your wall. If you plan on re-installing your skirting boards do yourself a favour and mark the back of them so you know which length goes against which wall.
Where needed, remove floor strips in doorways or transitional spaces.
Flooring removal methods will vary depending on the type of flooring you want to remove.
When removing lino and vinyl flooring, you will need the following equipment.
Safety gear such as hearing and eye protection and protective clothing
A floor scraper tool
The best way to remove old lino is by using a walk-behind floor stripper from Hirepool, which is easy to use and makes vinyl and lino removal a piece of cake. The floor stripper has a sharp blade which can be adjusted to find the perfect angle to remove a range of flooring materials. When lifting vinyl and lino from a wooden floorboard, a flatter angle should be used to avoid scraping or gouging the floorboards underneath. After adjusting the angle of the blade, position the machine at the first section of vinyl you wish to remove, ensure the machine is off before plugging it into a power source, power the machine on and simply walk forwards, going with the grain of the floorboards to minimise scraping and the material will be lifted from the floor. Complete this process with the remaining flooring.
After this, you can use a floor scraper to manually scrape off the paper backing from vinyl/lino stuck to the floor as well as any old glue that remains on the floor. You can go over your floorboards with floor sanding tools to remove that stubborn remaining adhesive.
When removing tile flooring using a concrete breaker with attachments and trolley, you’ll need ear, eye, hand, and foot protection. You will also need a safety mask, head protection and shock protection in the form of a residual current device.
Before operating the breaker, you will need to find the appropriate scraper attachment for the surface you will be lifting your flooring from - the team at Hirepool can help you with deciding which scraper your DIY job requires. Place the trolley on its back and mount the scraper attachment following the manufacturer’s guide. Put the trolley back in an upright position, lift the handles and pull the brake lever. This will disengage the lock mechanism. Now, you can alter the height of the trolley to suit you, by lifting or lowering the height of the handles. After this, release the brake lever to re-engage the lock.
After ensuring the scraper is fitted securely, you’re now ready to go. Position the trolley at the first section of tiling or carpet you’ll lift and make sure the machine is powered off before plugging it into a power source. Turn the power switch on and place both of your hands on the handles and one foot on the footrest. Be sure to have a straight back, and walk forwards in a steady motion while operating. Make sure the machine doesn’t overheat, refer to the manufacturer’s guide for more information.
For a step by step guide of how to remove flooring tiles, see our comprehensive guide
To remove carpet you’ll need a craft knife, pliers, protective gloves and a dust mask.
To remove it without damaging your home, clear the area and, starting in the corner, lift the carpet up and away from the wall with pliers. Using your gloved hands, pull the carpet up with your hands (you may want a buddy for this job) along one edge of your room. Be careful of the tacks that may be near the edges of the carpet. Roll your carpet into one roll if working in a smaller room or recycling, or, if disposing, cut the carpet into strips as you roll for easier transportation when you’re done.
Once you have lifted carpet, the best way to remove carpet glue is to use a scraper to get off as much as possible in conjunction with floor sanding tools.
If you’re trying to avoid damaging your home, whether it's the subfloor or existing flooring such as hardwood floors underneath carpet or lino, then taking your time will reduce damage and often yield a better result. Take time to remove nails, or to lift tack strips on the carpet so that the flooring lifts as cleanly as possible. If you’re lifting vinyl, patiently removing the old paper backing on floorboards left behind will ensure you don’t scratch or scar the floorboards. If you’re pulling up carpet and staining concrete floors, taking the time to remove as much old adhesive as possible before moving on to grinding, polishing and staining will ensure the best finished product.
Get in touch with your local Hirepool branch to chat about the best ways to remove your old flooring and hire all the gear you need to make your DIY job easy! Order equipment online now.