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How to remove linoleum from your floor

Updated on May 4, 2011

Do it yourself or hire an expert?

The worst job we have ever thought or attempted to do was removing the linoleum from three rooms in our home. As we had renovated our first home without any problems, by taking down ceilings and walls and replacing them with new ones, we thought this would be a breeze.

How hard could it be to pull up the linoleum and lay the beautiful slate tiles ourselves? We did not realize how wrong we had been until we started.

The hard way

Never before had I seen anyone glue the entire floor covering to the concrete floor. It sure tested our patience and the rising blood pressure.

We spent hours scratching around like old hens, trying to remove this obstinate floor covering. The best tools we found to use were a wide paint scraper, a Stanley knife, and hammer. By using the wide scraper and hitting with a hammer, it allowed us to lift a wider area at one time. We used the Stanley knife to cut the sections of linoleum up into smaller pieces, where we could.

This backbreaking job would test anyone's patience. The blisters did not improve our temperament at the time. At last, the job was finished, vowing never to do it again. What we did not know at the time, was we had only just started, because we still had to remove the glue.

Lesson learned

Protect your hands from blisters by wearing gloves. Cut linoleum into smaller strips to lever up, if not completely glued down. You could use a hairdryer or heat gun to help dissolve the glue. If you have a wooden floor, be careful you do not burn the wood, especially if you want to have a stained finish.

Removing the glue

This proved to be very difficult. We tried various types of paint thinners, which removed some. In the end, we hired a sander for the day, and this removed more. Then we found by adding water it formed a real slush across the floor, it worked but it went everywhere up the walls and all. We washed the floor twice and at last, it was clean. This also meant we had to repaint the walls again to remove stains from the sanding.

We laid the slate over the next few weeks once the concrete had dried out. It looks great and all the hassle we went through, a distant memory. The moral of this story is, prepare for the worst and you will not be too disappointed or preferably employ an expert if unsure.

Choice of floor coverings for your Home

The choice of covering your floor is now the next problem. What kind of floorcovering will you choose to replace your linoleum with. This article could help with this decision.

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    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Jason, thanks for those tips we needed them a bit earlier. Great idea though. Thanks for stopping by

    • profile image

      Jason 

      8 years ago

      To remove the adhesive, you can use adhesive or paint stripper. The stuff in the gallon metal cans is usually methylene chloride based whether adhesive or paint stripper, but paint stripper is usually cheaper for some reason. Wear an organic vapor mask, chem gloves, and ventilate the room. Make sure to build up the thickness of the remover to at least the thickness of the adhesive. Let sit for a while.

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Sore dave

      Thanks for stopping by and yes it sure is a horrible job to do. Not ever want to do it again thats for sure. squares sound easier.

    • profile image

      Sore Dave 

      9 years ago

      Eileen, love your pic of the pup Blue Healer. Just wanted to add--ran into this problem once with linoleum squares--not so bad as you could get leverage between squares with screwdrier--and most recently one solid sheet of linoleum--omg what a horrible, horrible ordeal. Thanks for the advice. Good to know I'm not completely mental. Cheers

    • profile image

      JIll 

      9 years ago

      I found that pouring boiling water onto the floor and leaving it to soak worked very well to remove glue and lino residue. The remnants came up easlily with a scrape with paint scraper- however I found that out after hours of trying everything else!

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      I am glad it is you and not me, Just check which type of glue it is stuck down with before you start. You may be lucky and not glued down. thanks for stopping by.

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 

      10 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      Your story gives me shudders- my husband and I need to replace some linoleum at one point in the kitchen-I'll make sure I am mentally prepared before taking THAT job on!Good information- thanks for the heads up on what to expect.

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Thanks Matt, I would never have even thought of that being the case. Thanks for that.

    • profile image

      Matt 

      10 years ago

      If you think it was made before 1978, get it tested for asbestos before removing it.

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      I would too if had to do it again thats for sure.

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 

      10 years ago from Sydney

      Great lesson in technique

      I think I will get the experts going on your experience

      Thank you

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      very very true. As we sure found out.

    • omdelhi profile image

      Om Prakash Singh 

      10 years ago from New Delhi

      Hi

      though it is good lesson for beginers, as stated in your hub. I want to say first get experties of any job then try to do it self.

      OM

      NEW DELHI

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