There are times when working on a new floor you have to remove the old floor. When that floor is vinyl attached to concrete, removing vinyl tile flooring is a job in itself. This is a brief explanation on how to remove vinyl flooring from concrete subfloors.

If you want to remove vinyl flooring from concrete prepare for a job that may need a little elbow grease. To remove vinyl tile from concrete presents a unique problem. Removing vinyl sheets or remove vinyl tile itself from the concrete is the easy part. The difficult part of removing this type of flooring is getting the backing or adhesive detached from the floor. The time invested in removing the adhesive or glue from the floor before installing a new floor make take longer than the time spent to install a new floor.

Some of the tools that you will need to remove a vinyl floor from concrete include; razor knife, scraper, boiling hot water, gloves, putty knife, cement backer board, acetone, razor scraper, floor leveler or thin set and possibly cement screws.

a)      With a razor knife score the vinyl flooring setting on the cement. Don’t worry about scraping or scratching the cement under the vinyl. If you cut vinyl flooring into sections that are 2 ft. by 5 ft. sections you can move them a little easier.


b)      Attempt to push the vinyl flooring up with the scraper. Push the scraper under a piece and test the resistance. Depending on the adhesive, the age of the floor and the original installation some vinyl flooring will actually come up with this effort.


c)       If the scraper doesn’t work to remove what left of the floor and adhesive, repeat the same action with the razor scraper. The razor scraper may work to cut through the adhesive. Repeat the same process with the razor scraper that you used with the regular scraper. Handle the razor scraper with care to avoid any injury.


d)      If the vinyl flooring doesn’t come up attached to the adhesive, remove the vinyl only. Simply rip out the scored pieces of vinyl covering alone and then try scraping any remaining glue from the cement floor


e)      If manually scraping the adhesive from the cement floor with the razor doesn’t do the trick, many home improvement stores in the community will have an electric floor scraper you can use for the project. Evaluate the cost of using the electric floor scraper against the time saved and decide if the investment is worth it.


f)       Boiling water is a tool that used to remove vinyl flooring and adhesive from a concrete floor. The boiling water is especially handy for removing glue from the cement floor. Add the boiling water directly to the adhesive or backing after removing as much of the vinyl floor as possible.  Allow the boiling hot water to sit on the adhesive for several minutes before trying to detach the remaining glue with a scraper. Use towels to keep as much of the water as possible contained to one work area.


Saturate particularly stubborn areas with the hot boiling water in a towel. Let the space stand for about 15 minutes with a hot water drenched towel on top of the glue and scrape again.


g)      If all else fails use the acetone to remove any backing and adhesive left on concrete floors. Try the acetone after you have gotten rid of as much of the vinyl possible.  Soak the area and let sit. Use a scraper after the acetone soak to remove any adhesive or backing that is left. Rinse thoroughly with clean water after using any type of chemicals on the floor including acetone.


Acetone is a chemical with an intense odor and should be used where adequate fresh air flow is available. Sufficient or adequate ventilation is important. Follow all the directions that go with the acetone when used to remove the adhesive under vinyl flooring. Always handle with gloves and protective eye wear when handling any type of chemical to keep it away from your skin and eyes.


h)      If you still have left over that won’t budge after using the acetone or similar chemical, floor leveling will come into play. In order for your new floor to fit and look well you want to level the subfloor or concrete area using the thin set. If there is only a little of the adhesive or glue left on the concrete you can still put your new floor down on top of it and it will work without the thin set. As the new floor is walked it will eventually wear flat. However, the best new flooring after removing vinyl is installed without using thin set on your subfloor.

Installing vinyl tiles is a lot easier than removing vinyl floor tiles to say the least. Expect to put in a lot of work if the vinyl and adhesive on the concrete is particularly stubborn. Though, a great new floor is worth it for this do it yourself project.