If you’ve grown sick of cracking or outdated linoleum flooring, consider removing it for a new look. Flooring options have expanded greatly since linoleum was popular, so the hardest part of installing new will be removing the old floor. Although removing linoleum does not require skill, it does require a lot of time and patience.
If the linoleum is in good condition, with no missing pieces or noticeable bubbles, you may consider laying the flooring over it. However, some types of flooring will require the removal of the linoleum before installation.
Before beginning, you must determine the type of flooring underneath. Concrete will often be the easiest surface to work with, while wood will offer a challenge. To find out what type of material is underneath, remove the baseboards and pry up a corner of the flooring.
To work with concrete you will need nothing more than a heat gun and a utility knife. Use the utility knife to cut the flooring into long strips that are 6 inches wide. Then using a heat gun, work on heating the glue underneath each strip. Pull the strip up slowly, stopping to use the heat gun to soften glue when removal becomes difficult.
It is possible to remove it with hot water instead of a heat gun. Pour hot water onto small areas and allow it to cool before trying to remove the linoleum. However, this method is much more messy and less effective than using a heat gun. Consider renting a heat gun from a home improvement store if you have a large area to cover.
Once all the strips from the concrete have been removed, scrap up any additional glue with a scraper. You can use more hot water or the heat gun for stubborn areas.
Wood is more difficult to work with because of the porous nature of the material. The glue will be able to achieve a stronger bond, making it very difficult to remove. If the subfloor is plywood, you may consider removing the subfloor and installing new.
If you decide to remove the subfloor, drill a hole into the floor. Using a circular saw that is set 1/8 inch deeper than the floor depth, carve the floor into manageable sections and remove it. Be sure to be exact while cutting the floor, any deeper with the saw and you can damage the floor joists.
Once all the pieces of the floor have been removed, you can install a new subfloor. Make sure to choose a plywood subfloor that is meets the code requirements. Nail directly into the exposed floor joists.
You can, of course, remove the linoleum from the floor without removing the subfloor. Cut the linoleum in strips as if you were removing it from concrete. Cut the strips running with the direction of the grain of the flooring. Then use the heat gun to remove the strips.
You can then remove as much glue as possible without gouging the flooring if you wish to preserve it. Then the rest of the glue can be sanded off with a floor sander.