Laminate flooring installed over concrete adds warmth and improves the design quality of the space. Laminate flooring is not as durable as hardwood or tile, but when it is installed properly it will last for several years. When it comes time for the floor to go, however, replacing will be a big project. These tips will help make it easier.
Removing Floating Laminate Flooring
Since this flooring is not glued to the concrete, it is just a matter of cutting through a few floor slats to pull up the material. The floating laminate flooring snaps together in a tongue-and-groove fashion and is secured with adhesive along the edges where the flooring meets the walls.
Dissolve the adhesive with a solvent recommended for laminate floors or use a heat gun to melt it. Once it is soft, use a crowbar and hammer to pry up the first slat. Removing the rest of the floor should be easy. Clean any remaining adhesive before preparing your concrete floor for its new finish.
Removing Glued-On Laminate Flooring
Sometimes laminate flooring is installed with glue. If your laminate flooring has been in place for a long time, have the materials examined by a home inspector for possible health hazards before continuing. According to the Minnesota Green Affordable Housing Guide, some old laminate tiles may contain asbestos or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde.
Wear heat-resistant gloves and eye protection when removing the flooring. Use a heating gun to loosen the glue. If you can find a small gap along a wall to insert a crowbar, then this is a good starting point. If not, you may have to use a circular saw with the blade set to 1 inch or less to cut across a section of the flooring. You will then be able to pry it up.
The first piece may be the most difficult piece to remove because you have to wait for the heat to penetrate the flooring. After the first piece is removed, you can place the heating gun closer to the underlying adhesive. As the gun heats up and softens the adhesive, pull up the laminate flooring.
Once all of the flooring is removed, clean any residual adhesive with an industrial-strength floor adhesive remover. Make sure the space is well ventilated and wear a face mask for protection from the fumes.
Removing Laminate Tiles from Concrete
Laminate floor tiles can be difficult to remove from concrete. Some tiles may come up easily, especially the ones in the corners or along the walls, while the high-traffic tiles may present more of a challenge.
Remove any tiles that are easy to pull up. For the more difficult tiles, use a bucket of hot water and dish soap to saturate them. The mixture can seep under the tiles and help loosen the adhesive bond.
Use a flat edged tool--a hand-held or poll floor scraper, or a flat-edged shovel--and work it underneath the tiles to pull them from the concrete. Continue until all of the tiles are removed. Clean the floor with an adhesive remover and mop the area. Allow the surface time to thoroughly dry before installing your new flooring.
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