When removing vinyl flooring from a kitchen, bathroom or other room of the home, is important to consider the age of the flooring, whether you are removing a rug or tiles, and the nature of the adhesive that is holding the flooring in place. Generally, it is a simple task to remove flooring of this type and prepare the floor to receive new tile or some other kind of replacement flooring. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the task can be accomplished in three to four hours at the most.
Before you begin the task of removing vinyl flooring, make sure you have some idea of how old the existing floor covering actually is. If you suspect that the vinyl floor dates back to before 1970, there is a good chance the product was made using asbestos. To protect yourself, make sure to wear a face mask that will prevent you from accidentally inhaling any small particles that may become airborne as you pry up the vinyl sheet or tile. Remember to wear protective clothing as well. If you do not want to run the risk of exposure to the asbestos, have the flooring professionally removed.
For any vinyl tile and sheeting that was manufactured after 1970, you can generally wear a face mask only to protect yourself from dust and other particles. Other flooring tools you will need include a hammer, crowbar, utility knife, and a trowel. You will also need cleaning agents to remove any residue that may be left after the flooring is removed, such as glue spots or small sections where the backing stuck to the floor.
If you are removing vinyl flooring that was installed in sheets, you may find that the edges of the sheets were tacked into place using finishing tacks. To remove the sheeting, use the utility knife to score the rug, effectively creating smaller sections you can work with. Always score away from your body to avoid the chance of injury. Pull each section away from the tacks, then use the hammer to remove the tacks from the underlying floor.
When you are removing vinyl flooring that was installed in tiles, use the trowel and crowbar to free the old tile from the underlying floor. In some cases, the trowel will be enough to break through the underlying adhesive and allow you to free a whole tile at a time. Older tiles are more likely to split, which may cause the job to go a little slower. If a tile or section of a tile is particularly resistant, use the crowbar to gain greater leverage.
After removing vinyl flooring from the bathroom or kitchen floor, your next step is to address any lingering traces of the flooring adhesive. There are a number of compounds that can be applied to the floor surface that will soften the dried adhesive. Most of these will do the job in an hour or so, making it possible for you to use the trowel to scoop up the softened mass and remove it from the area. Once the floor has dried, you can use a buffer to smooth the surface, then mop using a standard cleaning agent. This will effectively prepare the floor to receive the new floor covering you have selected.