Best way to remove vinyl floor tile


    We’re looking at a large coop where the floors of every room but one are covered with 24 X 24″ vinyl tiles. Judging by the untiled room, there are beautiful parquet floors under all that hideous stuff. To save money, we’d like to try to do the work of removing the tile ourselves, before having the floors refinished. Any recommendations about the best method to use? And are we crazy to think of doing this ourselves?

    10 Replies

    1. Thanks, everyone! Sounds like a lot of work to do it ourselves (we’re talking about roughly 1000 sq. ft here). I’ll call the floor guy Mopar recommended and see how much extra he’ll charge to take up the old tile, in addition to refinishing.

    2. By the way, “all the linoleum” in our 2700 sf house was MORE than 2700 sf of linoleum, since it covered every surface, including the stairs. I assumed you would assume that. So in other words, you can remove A LOT of linoleum for very little money. Then we had to cart it outside in black bags and rent a dumpster to dispose of it — another cost.

    3. Do not use a long handled scraper on these floors, even if you use the dry ice. we use the long handled scrapers and take gouges out of the sub floors.


    4. If you’re really not experienced and careful you’ll ruin the underlying floors, even easier when they are brownstone era parquet.

    5. They make large scrapers on long handles for this. Alternatively you can make one yourself using the wide thin drywall taping knife.

      That said, it’s a lot of work and Jose’s guys (as mopar said above) will do this fast and cheap. Get him to refinish your floors…he’s great.


    6. Do it yourselves. Get 25 lbs of dry ice. Have them cut the dry ice into 3″ slabs. Set out four slabs on four tiles. Let them sit a couple of minutes. The dry ice will harden and contract the cement causing it to crack. the tiles will come off with a small amount of effort.

      When I have done this, we have not always been too concerned with the sub floor, so we use those big tile chisels. you may want to get down on your hands and knees and use a renovator’s flat bar. Keep popping them and moving the slabs.

      The last time I did this, I think 25 lbs of dry ice was more than enough for about 800 sq ft. Dry ice is about a $1.00/lb. There is a dry ice retailer in Maspeth under the Kozsciusko Bridge. Goolge Dry Ice and a site will come up that will allow you to enter your zip and find a nearby retailer.


    7. What I used to get off the glue was a razor tool. Just take up the tile and get your razor and scrape up the glue. It worked great. But I guess it just depends on the kind of glue. Worked with soft glue.

    8. It may depend on how long the tiles have been down. A number of years ago, we had vinyl tiles taken up from a 8 x 20 kitchen floor. It took the flooring people a full day of literally sanding the stuff down. They had been there forever and there was no way to simply pick the tiles up and clean the glue off. I hope you are lucky and they will come up without leaving too much glue behind….but be prepared for the worst. If it was me, I would be afraid of taking divits out of the wood underneath and rely on a pro. Good luck.

    9. You won’t save a bit by removing it yourselves. The floor refinishers will do it, most likely at little extra charge. They removed all the linoleum in our 2700 sf house for $400.

      I highly recommend Jose Costillo for refinishing floors. He’s meticulous and reasonably priced. I don’t have his new number, but DIBS has posted it on here before.