Removing old Vinyl/Lino Tile

Today we will talk about the steps we used to remove the old, cracked, filthy tiles in our kitchen.   It’s a lot of work, time wise, but not really muscle-wise.  I shouldn’t really comment on that since I had minimal involvement with it, but I will say that all that bending over really does a number on your back.  So take that in mind. However, as far as DIY goes, it’s simple and you probably have the skills needed to pull it off.

Our Original Kitchen Flooring

Our Original Kitchen Flooring

Say bye bye to that old floor.

First, gather your supplies:

  • Knee pads (optional, but not really optional)
  • Adhesive Remover
  • Gloves
  • Putty Knife/Scraper
  • Iron (or I suppose a heat gun would work, but we used our iron – which, be forewarned, was ruined & had to be replaced.  We also used a hair dryer in some places, but the iron worked best.)
  • Plastic sheeting (just the cheap stuff they sell in the paint department – like we used to cover out cabinets when we painted out countertops)
  • A bucket (that you will fill with soap & water)
  • Scrub brush
  • Time (I’d say, a weekend – depending on the area of your floor)


Admittedly, I did not take very many pictures of this process.  It went by pretty quickly and it’s really quite self-explanatory.  Here are your basic steps:

  1. Place the iron on top of the tile to be removed.  Keep the iron moving.  The heat from the iron (or heat gun or hair dryer) liquifies the adhesive and the tile will come loose.
  2. Put your putty knife/scraper under the edge of the tile and separate the tile from the floor.  If it doesn’t come up easily, put the iron over it for a little longer.  Just keep rotating between ironing the tile and scraping underneath the tile until you’ve easily removed it.  After the first couple tiles, you’ll find your sweet spot.
  3. Once you’ve got a few tiles up (Kevin removed about six 12 inch tiles at a time), put on your gloves & cover your freshly uncovered subfloor in the adhesive remover.  Be generous.  This stuff looks like almost-clear snot.  We put on a nice 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick layer of it.
  4. Cover your adhesive remover smeared section with the plastic sheeting.  You do this to seal out the air while giving the adhesive remover some time to work.
  5. Wait 15-20 minutes.  (I suppose during this time you could start ironing/scraping up some more tile, but we didn’t.  We just used the time for a nice break.)
  6. After your time has passed, pull up the plastic & discard.  Then, using your putty knife/scraper, scrape up the adhesive remover (and, accordingly, the adhesive).
  7. With fresh soap (we used dawn dish washing liquid) and water, use your scrub brush to scrub the floor.  I wouldn’t even go so far as to say “scrub vigorously” – just scrub it up.  This gets the remaining adhesive off and cleans the floor up nice.
  8. Repeat these 7 steps until the entire floor is done.  Be sure to let your entire floor dry before proceeding to the next step of “leveling the floor” and subsequently “installing the new floor.”


It should be noted that the ironing/heating element is not really necessary.  You can just scrape up the old tiles, but then you risk damaging your subfloor.  We wanted to keep and reuse our subfloor, but if this is not an issue for you (you already plan to replace the subfloor), then you can just scrape away.


Simple!  Voila!  Do you have any tips/questions/etc?


Stay tuned for our tips on leveling the floor, installing the floor, and the big reveal!


2 thoughts on “Removing old Vinyl/Lino Tile

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