How to Remove Laminate Floor DIY
The Type of Laminate Floor You Have Will Decide How You Remove It
- Laminate flooring is synthetic flooring that has a number of layers, which are fused together by lamination. The bottom layer may be fiberboard or other material on which another layer is glued with resin. A clear protective layer of melamine completes the top finish. These boards are available in fixed lengths and can be glued to each other, or they will have a tongue and groove arrangement to join them to each other. Glue backing is rare, though not unknown.
- Most laminate floors end under trim, molding, or baseboard attached to walls. One of the first things to do when you remove laminate floor by DIY is to carefully remove this molding. Pry open the molding at one corner of the room and pry it away from the wall carefully. The molding can be reused after a new floor is laid and would perform the same function of closing the joint between the floor and the wall.
- For floors that have planks glued to each other, adhesive may have seeped on to the floor and would hold the boards tight. In this case you would have to first use a heat gun to melt the glue until the first board comes off. After this, the heat gun can be used alternately while pulling apart the boards from each other. Heat guns are not standard equipment in a home workshop and can be rented. Alternatively you can rent a motorized floor stripper which will grip the laminated floor in claws that will rip open the floor.
- This can also be done manually by using scrapers to remove the adhesive a bit at a time. Manual removal will save you on the cost of renting equipment. Very old floors would have adhesives that contain asbestos and precautions need to be taken by wearing masks while removing the adhesive.
- Your laminate flooring can be the floating type, in which the floor is assembled without any adhesives and with each piece fitting into each other through tongue and groove joints. Such floors would only have rubberized sealants at the edges of the floor. This sealant will be exposed once you have removed the trim or molding. Melt the sealant with a heat gun and pry open the first board closest to the wall using the gap between the wall and the board. Once you have removed the first piece, the entire floor can be easily removed.
Preparing the Floor for a New Material
Any DIY laminate floor removal project requires you to perform other tasks as well.
Now you have to get down to the job of removing all traces of the adhesive or sealant and cleaning up the floor completely for the new flooring material. Adhesive can be removed with a razor floor scraper if the floor is of concrete and a wedge scraper if it is of wood. Stubborn adhesive can be treated with hot water in sections before being subjected to the razor scraper.
Alternatively you can use a grinder to remove stubborn adhesive. Citrus-based removers are chemical adhesive removers, but they may take a long time to work.
The floating kind is quite often laid on an underlay. This would need to be removed as well and replaced if necessary for the new floor.
Clean the floor completely and make it dust free before laying a new floor.