Kitchen Remodeling

How To Remove Linoleum Some Easy Guidelines
By: James McDonald

If you are considering remodeling your home and want to know how to remove linoleum, here are some fairly simple steps to follow. One thing you need to consider though is that it can be difficult work, depending on several factors. Should the linoleum be old, the adhesive may not budge easily resulting in extra time and effort. In certain cases, if it's not cracking or heaving at all, you may choose to leave it underneath whatever else will be laid down. However, most home owners choose to start fresh which means a certain amount of physical labor, no matter what method of removal you decide on.

For starters, you probably won't be able to completely remove all the linoleum and adhesive during the first pass. The type of flooring underneath can contribute to the problem as well, especially if it happens to be wood. Concrete floors can certainly take more abuse than wooden ones, particularly if you are using a scraper. Try finding one with a good razor blade as these are the most efficient, but be careful using it. It's easy to cut yourself when you are pushing it hard, and try to have extra blades on hand as you most likely will break some.

One thing we recommend is to split the project up into sections and concentrate on one at a time. Try to cut the linoleum into these strips or sections, and peel them back. You can apply more pressure to a smaller portion, giving you the required leverage to get most of the backing off. This should also make it easier to remove the adhesive underneath.

After you have finished the surface materials and are left with the stubborn stuff, there are a couple things you can do to help your scraping efforts. Try to apply a solvent or remover product that specializes in just this type of application. Many home improvement stores or departments will have several to choose from. Remember to start with small sections to not get overwhelmed. Finish one and move on to the next.

If you want to try a homegrown solution, some people recommend using hot or boiling water instead of the solvent. It can be poured right on the adhesive backing, left to soak for a while, and finally scraped up. You can even put a towel down first, pour the water over it, let it set, then remove and scrape. Proceed cautiously with this method if you have a nice hardwood floor underneath to avoid warping.

Another technique that has been recommended by do it yourself homeowners is to first heat the adhesive with a hair dryer, then to scrape it up with a straight-blade scraper or something with a beveled edge. Should you be uncovering a hardwood floor, move the scraper in the same direction as the grain of the wood. Since the shavings will be hot, be careful moving them and avoid dropping them back on the uncovered wood. Instead of using a hair dryer, you can also try a heat gun. We only recommend this if you are experienced with it as it can damage the flooring you are trying to save. Either way, just keep the heated area small and constantly move the heat source. Scraping quickly after applying the heat will be the most effective removal method.

Should you reach a point where you cannot remove any more of the old adhesive using the techniques described, you can try a light sanding. Don't use a coarse sandpaper unless absolutely necessary as this may damage the surface. You can also try to mop the residue off using rags dampened with turpentine, mineral spirits, or similar types of solvent. Once you are happy with the way the floor looks you will be ready to either apply a seal, or some other type of covering.

James McDonald writes for 'Easy Home Improvements' which provides home remodel ideasand other information on several types of home improvement projects.