Removing Linoleum Flooring?

Does anyone have any experience with removing linoleum flooring from hardwood floors? My house was built in 1956. I do not know when the linoleum was laid over the hardwood floor or why they would do it. It is in just one hall way. From what I have read there is asbestos in vinyl flooring laid before 1983. It can be a danger in removing it. I have worn carpeting over the linoleum. I would love to have the hardwood floor exposed. Any comments are welcomed. Thanks.


Edith from CT

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September 23, 20060 found this helpful

Your going to have to most likely sand it off the floor, then restain and seal the wood, it would have to be one of the only times you want to go for top of the range products because hardwood floors are so valuable.

You also could try scraping off a sample to take to a flooring store and asking if hey have a chemical solvent to help lift it. But again, sanding would be the best and easyiest option.

Good luck

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September 24, 20060 found this helpful

Be very careful that the linoleum does not have asbestos in it, you might have a professional remove it, because you could get the asbestos on you or in you if you sand it by yourself. This is very common in older floors, and especially if it is tile, and not just a solid piece.


I worked for a construction company and that is something we had to look for in remodeled places.

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By katvn (Guest Post)
September 25, 20060 found this helpful

You have two issues here. One, the asbestos. I have been told here in Australia it is legal to remove it for one hour every 7 days. Making sure of course that you are well protected. If you are uncomfortable with the idea, you may need a professional, but you are looking at big money.

The second issue is the lino. It is usually glued down, and the best way to remove it it with acetate. You should be able to get it from a paint supplier.

You first need to rip up the old lino, work on it for an hour and then stop till next week. Hopefully you can get it all ripped up in an hour. Next week, spray acetate onto the glue and use a paint scraper to remove it.


If the floor is rough, it will need sanding, but I would get a professional for this, unless you are fairly adventurous. It is a difficult job to do right. Then seal. If money is not really an issue, get a professional to do the whole lot so you are not dealing with mess for a few weeks.

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By Sharon (Guest Post)
September 26, 20060 found this helpful

I'd try softening the linoleum with a hairdryer, while trying to remove it... with some sort of scraper...Just do a small section at a time...

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By carla bledsoe (Guest Post)
September 26, 20060 found this helpful

if there is a problem with asbestos you will need to wear protective clothing (long sleeves, gloves, face mask) to keep the dust from being a health hazard.


tear up a corner of the linoleum to see what kind of problems you will run into with glue or sealant. some of them come up easier than others.
as to why they covered it in the first place, if you grew up with hardwood floors and had to keep them up and it wasn't something up to date and mod you might cover them too. hard wood isn't easy to keep clean (easier now with the newer sealants) and you had to wax frequently. when the nicer linoleums came out that promised no waxing and easy cleaning a lot of women shouted for joy and ran to the nearest flooring store.
my mother had hardwood and she wouldn't let us in the house with shoes on. no chairs were to scrape across her dining room floor. heaven forbid it should rain and you track something in on her floors!

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September 25, 20070 found this helpful

I just pulled up 220 sq feet of vinyl tile off my kitchen floor. I used a heat gun and a painters knife. It took me 3 days. I did about 1 hour per day. Once the tile is heated, it will come right up with a little elbow grease.


Good luck

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November 24, 20071 found this helpful

I am an architect in Milwaukee. I am on my second 80 year old bungalow. I am in the process of removing my second kitchen and hall way floors. I've tried most of the typical methods, but today discovered the simplest, easiest and least costly process of removing linoleum and the tar paper backing and adhesive underneath them.

I can add my own two cents to the discussion.

1997: In my first home, I removed linoleum from the hallway by pulling it up. I then used heat gun to heat the adhesive and tar backing and scraped them off the hard wood floors. Very labor intensive and odorous.


In the kitchen of that house, there were two layers of flooring: a top layer of sheet vinyl with an underlayment and linoleum underneath that. We pulled up the sheet vinyl, pulled up the linoleum and scraped the tar paper backing and adhesive off the soft wood subfloor. Very labor intensive. It took forever. I was younger and stupid then. But it worked. Who knows what I breathed in when I scraped off the adhesive!

2007: With this kitchen floor, there was a layer of original linoleum covered with a 12 by 12 vinyl tile. I pulled up the vinyl tile and linoleum by hand, using a paint scraper to pull it up. I tried scraping the tar backing and adhesive, but decided I could not do that again. There had to be a better way.

I decided to try chemicals first. I bought Krud Kutter and also Jasco Adhesive Remover, both from Ace Hardware. I sprayed a 1 foot by 1 foot area with the the Krud Kutter and another with the Jasco Remover. Surprisingly the Krud Kutter worked better at removing the tar paper. It made it more pliable, but it still had to be scraped off with a lot of elbow grease. The Jasco worked less efficiently but seemed to soften more of the the adhesive than the Krud Kutter.

THE SOLUTION: I had removed wall paper from the walls in this room and cleaned the walls earlier in the day. Of course, lots of hot water managed to get on the perimeter of the floor at the walls. I noticed that this was surprisingly pliable. So, having read about boiling water, I put down an old bath towel folded in half on the tar paper. I then boiled a tea kettle full of water. I poured this on the towel and waited for it to cool. when I removed the towel, the tar paper and most of the adhesive wiped right up. It was a bit messy, but not too much so.

So, I decided that steaming the tar paper and adhesive would be the best choice. I went to Home Depot and rented a steamer for wall paper. It cost 20 dollars for 4 hours.

After warming up the steamer (about 25 minutes) I sat on a stool and laid the steamer applicator (which was about 8" x 12" on a section of flooring. I left it there for one minute to 90 seconds. Then moved it to another area to steam. The tar paper and adhesive scraped off the wood subfloor with NO effort. While the next section was steaming, I took a bucket with hot water and a heavy duty scotch-bright pad and scrubbed the area where the paper had just been removed, then wiped it up with a wet cloth.

In this manner, I removed the tar paper and adhesive from a soft wood sub floor in this area of the room (6' x 10' area) in less than 2 hours. It cost only 20 dollars for the steamer and little effort at all--in fact, if I scraped too hard I found that it would more likely damage the edges of the subfloor boards. I found it was best to pull the scraper towards me without a lot of pressure. The tar paper just peeled right off like wet paper towel.

So, the only method I would use is a wall paper steamer. I thought it would be messy and hard. I couldn't believe how easy it was.

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By Big E (Guest Post)
January 19, 20080 found this helpful

I tried the boiling water. Worked great! Thanks a bunch!

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By cjstewa (Guest Post)
February 20, 20080 found this helpful

How do tell if it is asbestos and not Linoleum?

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By The zep (Guest Post)
November 17, 20080 found this helpful

How do you know if there is asbestos? My son and I scraped for 2 days linoleum squares off a cement floor.

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July 2, 20130 found this helpful

Asbestos could still be an issue if your floors were laid shortly after 1983. A lot of construction companies continued using up the remaining stock of their supplies even after asbestos was banned. You should be very cautious if you have reason to suspect asbestos by either hiring professionals or having samples of materials in question sent out for testing. Even a very small percentage of asbetos should not be taken lightly. Wear your recommended protective gear and carefully use water (dont use so much that it begins to drip) to dampen suspected areas before immediate and proper disposal (not your trash can!).

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