If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution this year, don’t let it be giving up sugar or eating healthy (we all know that won’t last two minutes), why not make it about improving your home instead?

Whether it’s the walls that need repainting or the floors that need replacing, nobody wants a home that looks worn and outdated. If replacing your floors has been on your to-do list for months and you’re ready to finally make it your goal for the New Year, then you’ve come to the right place. But before you can get your brand-new floor down, you’re going to need to take the old one out first.

You might have carpets, tiles, lino, hardwood, laminate or vinyl, whatever the material, removing flooring is a big task that needs a bit of planning, preparation and patience.

Let's get stuck in and look at what you need to do before you start removing your old flooring.

How to remove skirting boards / beading

Before you remove any floor, you need to remove skirting boards (and beading) around the perimeter of the room. Here’s a list of tools you’ll need:

  1. Stanley knife

  2. Crowbar

  3. Knee pads 

  4. Chisel 

Run a Stanley knife along the top of the skirting board and use a hammer and chisel to separate the skirting board from the wall. Once you have removed the skirting boards (or beading), it's time to cut the floor!

Reminder – Before you start cutting your floor, you need to make sure there are no pipes and wires in the way. You can buy a wire and pipe detector that will give you visibility of what’s underneath your floor. You can buy this brand new for £36 from B&Q.

If you’ll be keeping the old skirting boards, make sure you label each section and each part of the wall so that you’ll know which part goes where when you come to putting it back on again.

removed skirting board and chisel

How to remove hardwood flooring

Hardwood flooring should last years, especially as it can be sanded and refinished when it needs a bit of a touch up or if you fancy a whole new look and colour.

But there might be times when you do need to replace the whole thing. If your floor’s badly damaged by flooding or woodworm it might not be worth saving. Or maybe you’ve decided on a new floor style to run across an open plan area or the whole downstairs of the house so that you can get a cohesive look.

Your tools:

  • Hammer

  • Chisel

  • Circular saw

  • Vacuum

  • Crowbar

In times like those, we recommend using a circular saw to cut your hardwood floor. Run the saw perpendicular across the room every 2-3 feet to minimise any collision with nails. Set the blade to the correct setting so it doesn’t cut through to the subfloor.

Finally, position the crowbar underneath the edge of the floor and use a hammer to pull the planks away. Once you get into the swing of things, your floor will be gone in no time!  Remember to wear protective gear such as knee pads and protective eyewear. Finish by vacuuming any dust and bits of wood.

man removing hardwood flooring up close

How to remove laminate / click-fit vinyl tiles

Most laminate and vinyl planks have a click-joining method, so the removal process should be pretty straightforward.

Your tools:

  • Crowbar

  • Vacuum

Start by removing the flooring at the wall using a crowbar and lifting the plank away from the wall. Pull the plank at an angle and disconnect it from the adjacent plank. It should pop out fairly easy but give it a wiggle, so it slides straight out. Repeat this process one row at a time. It'll become a lot easier removing the floor as you move across the room.

Once you have removed all the flooring, it's time to throw away the underlay (if you don't plan on reusing it again).

Can you reuse underlay?

Overtime, old underlay can disintegrate, become punctured from nails as well as collecting dust and dirt. We recommend you don’t reuse it unless it’s relatively new (laid in the last 2 years).

Finally, use a vacuum to remove dust and debris and prepare the area for your brand-new floor.

Just so you know - Old laminate flooring installed with glue won’t be suitable to use again.

vacuuming floor Credit: Adobe Stock

How to remove sheet vinyl flooring

Sheet vinyl is a great choice for bathrooms and kitchens with its water-resistant properties. However, it can get a little worn and torn over the years.

Your tools:

  • Stanley knife

  • Heat gun

  • Scraper

Using a Stanley knife, cut the vinyl down the centre of the room. To make the removal process easier for you, we recommend cutting 12-inch strips that will help you remove the vinyl quicker and easier. It will also give you less cleaning to do!

Once your strips are rolled nearest to the wall, use a heat gun to soften the adhesive used to stick down your vinyl. Using a scraper, remove any residue from the glue for a smooth surface. Finally, vacuum leftover scraps and dry glue so you're ready to lay your new floor.

One thing to considerSome sheet vinyl installed pre-2000 may include asbestos. If this is the case, it’s best to check with a professional before you plan to do it yourself.

removing glue with a heat gun

How to remove carpet

Removing carpet is pretty straightforward.

Your tools:

  • Plyers (optional)

  • Gloves (optional)

Start by picking one corner and try to pull up the carpet. If your hands can't take it, use a pair of plyers or wear some gloves. Be careful of tack strips as they can be quite sharp.

If you're replacing your old carpet with other kinds of flooring like hardwood, laminate or vinyl, you will need to remove the carpet pad and tack strips. Padding is a lot lighter than carpet so it should be fairly easy to remove.

someone pulling up blue carpet

Questions asked by you

How do you remove old glued flooring?

If you still have glue on your subfloor, don't worry. Use a heat gun or warm water and soap to soak the glue and wipe away. If there are still bits of remaining glue, use a scraper tool to get up any leftover bits.

How do you remove glued vinyl flooring without damaging it?

If the floor has been previously glued down, the best way to remove adhesive without damaging it is by using warm water and good quality soap. The warm water will loosen the glue and the soap will help break it down. Once the glue is softened, the planks will be easier to lift. Use a scraper tool to get up any leftover bits of adhesive.

We hope this guide will help you remove your old floor when you start to redecorate your home. For some inspiration on how to decorate your home, read our blog post on the latest home interior trends of 2022.