How to Remove Old Linoleum

Jan 31st, 2011 | By | Category: Tips

Author: Articlegold Archive

One of the biggest challenges that homeowners face is removing
old linoleum. It’s a daunting task, but there are tricks you can
use to make the job a little easier. The level of difficulty really
depends on several underlying factors, like the type of adhesive
and the age of the linoleum. If you’re putting down a new floor it
may be easier just to leave the linoleum intact, especially if it’s
solidly bound and not cracked or heaving. If it needs to go, you’re
in for a big job.

To start with, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to just remove
the linoleum and adhesive all at once. What’s under the linoleum
can be part of the problem, especially if it’s wood. Concrete
floors can withstand a lot more in the way of rough treatment,
including the type of scraper you use. Most people will use paint
scrapers, although scrapers with a razor blade are usually more
efficient. Be ready to break some blades it if the adhesive is
hard, and you’re working on concrete.

One piece of advice is not to try and remove everything at once.
Many people instead cut the linoleum into strips or sections, and
peel that off. You should pull up most of the surface, and likely a
good portion of the backing. Doing it this way will make it easier
to get at the adhesive underneath as well.

Once you are down to the scraps, there are two basic methods to
aid your scraping efforts. One is to use some kind of solvent or
remover. A popular brand is Krud Kutter, which appears to work very
well, according to the customer feedback comments. Follow
instructions on the label of whatever product you employ, and wear
gloves to protect your hands. Do a small section at a time, and
then go on to the next one.

Boiling water can be used to soften the underlying adhesive. Try
pouring very hot or boiling water directly on the remaining backing
and adhesive, section by section. Give the hot water a few moments
to sink in, and then scrape the softened glue. You can also fold an
old towel over the adhesive and pour the hot water onto the towel.
Let it set, remove the towel and scrape.

Heat can be another successful method of removing linoleum
adhesive. Find an inconspicuous area behind a door or in a closet.
Heat the adhesive with a hair dryer and scrape it using a putty
knife or other style of straight blade scraper. If you’re
uncovering a hardwood floor, be sure to push the scraper in the
direction of the wood grain. Keep a pan or container nearby to
dispose of the adhesive scrapings. Make sure that the container
will not melt or ignite if it comes into contact with hot

You may wish to move up to using a heat gun after you become
comfortable with this process. If so, be careful not to overheat
the wood and char it. You should also know that using this
technique may allow some of the softened mastic to flow into the
joints between the floorboards. Keeping the heated area small,
constantly moving the heat source and scraping as quickly as
possible will all help improve the outcome.

It’s virtually impossible to remove every bit of old adhesive
from a hardwood floor, and too much scraping can easily damage the
wood. Use the above methods to take away as much old adhesive as
possible. Then, take a break to consider your next step. Some
people choose to lightly sand away any remaining adhesive, while
others use mineral spirits and turpentine to scrub it off. However
you choose to clean your wood floors, remember this important final
step: seal the wood to protect it before you lay any new adhesives
or coverings.

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Contributor Ramona Mackgil is a regular contributor to a variety of
well-known web sites, on home and
and home interior
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