Rosie on the House: How to Remove Different Types of Flooring | Home & Garden


Rosie Romero special for the Arizona Daily Star

QQuestion: Do you have any advice on how to reassemble the carpet?

Answer: Do not attempt to pull the mat in one piece. Pull it into strips using a utility knife or carpet knife. The blade of a carpet knife is double-sided, thinner and cuts faster. In the industry, this knife is called the “Bloody Mary” knife. So be warned.

Start in the corner of the room, pull it into strips, place them on top of each other and roll up the bundle. Throw it in the back of the truck and take it to the dump.

Don’t save the buffer to save money. An old pad may have pet stains, dirt and mildew. You don’t want to put that under the new rug.

Do not remove the sticky tape if you are installing new carpet. If you do, a new tack will need to be placed, and you will also need to pay for the additional parts and labor.

If new carpet will not be installed, pull the thumbtack and nails. Do not use a wood chisel. But use something thin enough to pull it without damaging the slab. Make sure all glue is removed, otherwise installing another floor covering such as vinyl will not sit properly.

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Q: What tools should I use to pull vinyl flooring?

A: The sheet vinyl removal process depends on the size of the area. Remove small areas with a floor scraper. This hand tool is available with handles from 12 to 48 inches long and a blade from 6 to 8 inches wide.

Use the longer-handled tool to scrape the ground with the full force of your weight against the handle. Use the short-handled scrapers for tight spots like kicks. If you have a very large area to remove, hire an electric vinyl stripper. It is heavy equipment with oscillating knife blades that vibrate back and forth across the concrete surface.

Q: How to remove a tiled floor?

A: When removing bathroom and kitchen tiles, turn off the water supply before removing a sink or toilet. When removing a toilet, drain the tank, remove the bolts and tip the fixture to break the wax seal.

Tile installed around a vanity or other semi-permanent fixture is a good starting point for removal. If the tile is wall to wall, it may be necessary to use a hammer and chisel to break off a tile to create a starting point for lifting the tiles.

For a large area, rent a jackhammer with a scaling blade. This type of jackhammer is available at Home Depot. DeWalt makes a smaller version similar to a steroid hammer drill that will chip tiles. It uses a 6 inch scaling blade. Removing the thin layer is the hardest part, and fractured tiles can have razor sharp edges, so be careful.

Throw the tiles in a trash can or large bucket and remove them to minimize the clutter. Remember that tiles can be heavy and an overfilled bin will be difficult to transport. So do it gradually.

There is a misconception that you can remove tiles without creating dust. We feel it is worth the extra cost to have one of the “dust free” services as there is a lot less dust, but it is definitely not dust free.

We have heard many times that people try to remove the tiles themselves to save money. In the end, they wish they had paid a professional to do it. It is demanding and messy work.

Q: What should I be concerned about when removing hardwood floors?

A: It is important to know when the parquet was laid before removing it. Asbestos-based adhesives were used until the mid-1980s, so this removal is not a DIY project. You will need a professional asbestos removal company to remove the flooring and clean the area.

Do it yourself if asbestos is not a problem. The wood will splinter if you don’t use the right equipment. For engineered wood, use a hacksaw and cut the wood into 3 x 4 inch squares. Lift the pieces with a crowbar. Use a hammer to loosen the sides of the tongue.

After pulling the boards that have not been nailed, reassemble the tongued areas. If the tongue sides of the boards are completely exposed, use a crowbar to pry them up. However, there are tabbed areas sticking to the bottom panel that could be difficult to remove. Use a hammer to loosen the wedge. You can also use a fine chisel to chisel out the tongue between the plank you want to keep and the ones you want to get rid of.

Removing the glue used to bond the wood to the substrate is the hardest part of demonstrating a wood floor. It is particularly difficult to remove finished parquet if elastic adhesives have been used.

Parquet elements glued with a tongue and groove joint can be a little more complicated. It is necessary to break the connections between the individual boards.

If it is difficult to pry under the tongue, use a circular saw with a carbide blade to make a plunge cut between two boards near the tongue side of the wall. Remove the boards between the wall and the cutout to expose the tongue edge. Raise the rest of the boards.

Never burn wooden planks. Glues, oils, sealants, paints and varnishes can be harmful to your health and the environment. Call your municipality for proper disposal.

Q: How to remove flooring adhesive without damaging the foundation?

A: The glue is easy to remove as long as the mat has been installed by a professional. The Concrete Network suggests the following:

Scrape it off using a long-handled scraper, then sweep it away. Be careful not to dig into or scratch the floor surface with the scraper blade.

If the glue is water-based, boil a pot of water and apply it to the dry glue to soften it. Let the water soften the glue, then scrub the glue with a rotating brush or the scraper before it cools. Do not mix hot water with vinegar or citrus-based cleaners. These solutions can react with the concrete and attack the surface.

If you are using an adhesive remover, read the label on the container to find out what substances the product will work on.

Use a sander or polisher with a sanding disc for the main part of the floor and a hand sander along the walls and in the corners. This is the fastest and most effective method for removing glue residue from large floor surfaces.

No matter what type of flooring you remove, always make safety a priority. When demonstrating and removing flooring, always wear closed shoes, long pants, a respirator and safety glasses.

An expert in the Arizona home construction and renovation industry since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning show Rosie on the House, which airs locally from 10-11 a.m. on KNST (790- AM) in Tucson and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KGVY (1080-AM) and (100.7-FM) in Green Valley.


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