Before removing the vinyl flooring, you need to have the flooring checked for asbestos. Vinyl flooring made in the 1970’s and before were made with asbestos backing, so you want to make sure that you remove it correctly for you and your family’s health. A good rule of thumb is that if your home was built and the flooring installed prior to 1980, you should assume there is asbestos.If you’re unsure, you can also send a sample of your flooring to a lab to be tested to see if it does, in fact, contain asbestos. Before taking the sample, you will want to use a spray bottle to dampen the flooring thoroughly, as cutting into a material with asbestos in it can release the asbestos particles into the air and breathing this in is toxic. Use a utility knife to cut through the entire depth of the material for samples of the requested size (usually about 1 square inch). Seal the area from which you removed the samples with duct tape in order to prevent asbestos dust while you wait for results. Most labs will require that you send three samples for testing, and testing results can be back within 24 hours or as long as two weeks. Alternatively, there are home-test kits available, but the price is typically comparable to sending the pieces off to a professional lab testing company and, as asbestos is nothing to mess around with, this is the route I recommend.If your flooring does have asbestos, many times you can still lay existing flooring overtop as long as you seal the flooring layer with asbestos. If you are removing vinyl flooring that has asbestos, getting an asbestos removal company to remove it is the best method of having it removed because they have experience and equipment necessary for removing asbestos materials and will know the best and safest way to remove it from your home.Removing the Flooring
Now that you have your flooring up, you are probably looking at adhesive still on your subfloor. Removing this will take some tools and time (we told you removing vinyl flooring was not for the faint of heart!). Using a long handled chisel to scrape the adhesive up as much as possible is one way to remove the adhesive. You can also use a heat gun like recommended above to soften the adhesive. Other experts suggest removing as much of the loose adhesive as possible and then laying the new floor on top of the remaining adhesive. As long as you remove the loose adhesive and the rest of the surface is smooth, this should pose no problems for your new flooring. To smooth the remaining adhesive on a wooden subfloor, use an electric sander with a very course grit.Other options to make it easier to remove the adhesive left on the flooring include: Commercial Adhesive Remover/ Floor Stripper (such as Bostic) A vinegar/water solution of 2 parts vinegar to 1 part waterShaving creamWD40Dry iceHot water As with the vinyl flooring removal part, if your subfloor is wood, you will want to be careful not to soak the floor with any of the options above or let any of the solutions sit on the flooring for long, as this can damage the wood. Finally, rent a shop vacuum to remove any remaining loose adhesive or vinyl flooring particles. You are now well on your way to having a beautiful new kitchen floor. All you need to do now is lay your new flooring and enjoy the look of your renovated kitchen. Your kitchen will never look or feel the same.
Vinyl flooring styles have changed drastically through the last fifty years, and if you are tired of your old vinyl flooring, you can consider replacing it. First, you need to decide if you are going to floor over it or remove it. In many cases, new flooring can be laid directly over top of your existing vinyl flooring. This is typically the route I would recommend taking, as removing vinyl flooring is hard work and can be dangerous if the flooring contains asbestos, as many vinyl floors did prior to the 1970s. Be sure to learn how to tear out vinyl flooring before you tackle it
If you just can’t live with that old vinyl or are wanting to expose hardwoods underneath the vinyl, then you want to tear out the old vinyl. Before you arrive at this decision, you need to know that tearing out vinyl flooring is a hard job. Most of the time, it will take sweat and effort and several days of work to get up the old vinyl flooring as there is no magic way to remove it. For this reason, unless it is absolutely necessary, you may not want to try to remove the vinyl flooring but lay the new flooring on top of the vinyl.
Techniques to Remove Vinyl Flooring Without Asbestos Remove the baseboards and any threshold covers installed over vinyl flooring seams between rooms. You can remove vinyl flooring materials you are positive do not contain asbestos by dry-scraping or using a mechanical multitool to make the project go quickly. Work from one side of the room to the other. Find a loose edge or pry up a flooring edge with a putty knife or other pry tool to get started. Roll the vinyl flooring up as you go, if in one piece, to make room to get underneath the flooring that is still attached. Scape underneath the flooring until it is completely removed.
Many flooring choices available on the market can be laid directly over your old vinyl flooring, as long as the floor is flat and even. If there are just a few places where the flooring is uneven, you can build these places up with a floor filler to make the surface smooth and even. If the flooring is very uneven, you can also lay down a new subfloor with a 1/4-inch piece of plywood and then install your new flooring on top of that. Keep in mind that anything you add to the floors on top of your old flooring will make the thresholds that much higher too, which can also impact any appliances that fit under the counter, like your dishwasher or stove. You will want to consider and account for this before you begin your work. You may also find that the height change between rooms may cause a tripping hazard.It may be worth checking with a contractor to see what method they recommend for installing your new flooring and getting a few estimates on what a professional would charge for this. Removing Vinyl Flooring
Removing Old Vinyl Flooring with Asbestos Removing vinyl flooring with asbestos requires special safety clothing and breathing respirators. Professionals will not remove the flooring if it is dry by drilling, sanding, dry scraping or sawing. They will thoroughly wet the floor with a detergent solution. Do not use a broom to sweep up such materials. When vacuuming, the vacuum must have a disposable bag and be equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air filter and metal floor attachment that does not have a brush on it. Wet-scrape the vinyl underneath to remove the flooring. Place all flooring materials into impenetrable, 6-mil heavy-duty trash bags and seal or use leak-proof containers. For disposal, all bags and containers must be properly identified as containing asbestos.
Before you begin the project to remove old vinyl flooring in your home, you need to determine if the flooring contains asbestos. A majority of the vinyl flooring made before 1986 contained asbestos in the tiles or in the backing materials. Even some of the early peel-and-stick tiles used asbestos as the main ingredient. Asbestos was also found in the adhesives used to secure the flooring. To be safe, if you can’t identify whether the vinyl flooring in your home contains asbestos, follow the work practice recommendations of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute to remove old vinyl flooring.
Understanding and Identifying Asbestos in Flooring Removing flooring materials that contain asbestos causes microscopic dust to get in the air, creating a breathing hazard. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber found in the earth and can only be identified under a special microscope. Breathing these fibers can lead to asbestosis or lung cancer known as mesothelioma. Many states have laws that prevent homeowners from removing any materials that contain asbestos from their homes. For instance, California law specifically requires certified professionals to remove and dispose of any materials that contain asbestos. You can visually identify vinyl flooring materials that contain asbestos by reviewing the “Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tiles and Sheet Flooring Identification Photo Guide” (see Resources). However, a lab test is required to confirm whether the flooring or adhesive contains asbestos.
There are many reasons to remove vinyl flooring. Although vinyl floors can be long lasting and hardy, over time they can tear and become damaged. Additionally, homeowners may occasionally want to replace old flooring because it is out-of-date and unsightly.Regardless of the reasons for removal, pulling up vinyl flooring takes time and patience to be done correctly. When removing the flooring, be careful not to damage the subfloor underneath, since it will be necessary to repair any damage before laying down new flooring.