Removing Old Flooring Surfaces

This story covers how to do the demolition that may be necessary to prepare for new flooring.

Removing Old Surfaces and Framing

Taking off baseboards is the first step in demolition. Slide a wide putty knife under the trim and jiggle until you can insert a flat pry bar behind the wood. Move along the trim with the pry bar, keeping the putty knife behind it for added leverage.

Before you remove old drywall, make sure you won't damage utility lines. Tap the wall with a screwdriver handle to find a spot that sounds hollow. That's the place to make your first hole with the hammer.

Use a heavy-duty paint scraper or chisel to remove construction-adhesive residue. Soften stubborn spots with construction-adhesive remover.

When taking out old framing, you can beat the studs with a sledgehammer. But cut the nails if you plan to reuse the lumber. After removing the studs pry off the top and bottom plates.

Prestart Checklist

Trim and molding: About 10 minutes per lineal foot
Drywall: 1-2 hours, 4x8 sheet
Framing: 5-15 minutes per framing member
Flooring: 30-45 minutes per square yard

Hammer, pry bar, utility knife, groove joint pliers, cordless drill, reciprocating saw, floor scraper, small sledgehammer, cold chisel, putty knife heat gun, spray adhesive remover

Prying, pulling nails, removing screws, cutting, scraping

Isolate worksite to contain the mess; determine utilities contained within the wall

Remove sheet flooring

Insert a floor scraper or wide putty knife under the sheet at a corner and pry it up. Work down each strip of the material, rolling the strip as you go. Use a hair dryer to soften the adhesive. Spray adhesive remover, let it work, and scrape the residue from the floor.

Remove ceramic tile

Crack one tile with a small sledgehammer and cold chisel to make a starting point in the middle of the floor. Break out the remaining area and chip out the grout along the edge of an adjacent tile. Tap a wide chisel under the edge of the tiles and pop them off the floor.

Remove resilient tile

Warm the adhesive with a heat gun. If you don't have a heat gun, use a hair dryer set on high heat. Warm a corner first, insert a floor scraper or wide putty knife, and with the heat on lift up the tile. Scrape the adhesive from the floor with a floor scraper.

Remove carpet

Grab a corner of the carpet with groove-joint pliers and pull it off the tack strips. Pull it off the entire floor. Cut the pad into strips with a utility knife and pull the strips from the floor. Work a pry bar under the tacking strips and pry loose.

Remove drywall: Step 1

Use a hammer to punch a hole in the drywall between the studs. (If the surface is tiled, it may help to first shatter one or two tiles in the center of the wall.) Enlarge the hole until you can put your hand or the end of a pry bar into it.

Remove drywall: Step 2

Grab an edge of the hole you made and pull off the drywall. To remove large sections space your hands as far apart as possible. Use a pry bar if necessary. Pull the remaining nails. Check for rot and mold.

Remove wood framing: Step 1

With a reciprocating saw cut through the nails between the bottom of the stud and the plate. Use a metal-cutting blade.

Remove wood framing: Step 2

Knock the bottom of the stud sideways with a hammer to free the bottom. With the bottom loose, twist and lever the stud free of the nails that hold it to the top plate. Remove the nails as you go.

Comments (13)
luxurylivingdirect wrote:

Here is a great way to make your bathroom look trendy and jazzy by adding some colorful tiles to it. Go through the tips and get a new makeover! Your bathroom can look stunning with just a few changes.

2/16/2013 06:59:51 AM Report Abuse
jhallhellen wrote:

Question I am applying marble tile. I have repaired all cracks etc and have applied a leveling product. This is a small water closet 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 feet. Do I need to apply a backerboard or is the leveling compound sufficient? Thanks!!

5/4/2011 08:59:08 AM Report Abuse
gjr1978 wrote:

I am working on changing out a old bathroom with rooted flooring and bad wood and am wanting to change it into a bedroom.

3/13/2011 07:18:15 AM Report Abuse
clambert37 wrote:

What do I use to get the odor of cat urine out of an old wood floor?

1/5/2011 12:48:53 PM Report Abuse
anonymous wrote:

rosmar591 It seems we both have the same problem have you found out how to remove the GREAT CEMENT padding???????

10/7/2010 09:00:30 PM Report Abuse
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