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Removing linoleum underlayment


Bain
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I'm remodeling my kitchen this winter, one element of which is replacing the existing linoleum floor with tile. The linoleum is glued to 1/4" plywood underlayment which is fastened to the 1" sub-floor with about a million staples. I've tried every way--that I know of--I can think of to remove the existing floor, but the blade of every tool I've used hangs at the staples and rips the plywood. If I have to remove each and every staple by hand, which entails using pliers and/or a flat-head screwdriver, the job will require decades of time.

Does anyone know of a quicker way to remove the linoleum and underlayment?

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Originally posted by Bain

I'm remodeling my kitchen this winter, one element of which is replacing the existing linoleum floor with tile. The linoleum is glued to 1/4" plywood underlayment which is fastened to the 1" sub-floor with about a million staples. I've tried every way--that I know of--I can think of to remove the existing floor, but the blade of every tool I've used hangs at the staples and rips the plywood. If I have to remove each and every staple by hand, which entails using pliers and/or a flat-head screwdriver, the job will require decades of time.

Does anyone know of a quicker way to remove the linoleum and underlayment?

There's a tool for removing roofing shingles that might work. It looks like a very sturdy 4-tined pitchfork (each tine is made from 1/2" round bar stock) with a lever-like wedge at the back end of the tines. I find mine useful for all sorts of tasks other than removing roofing shingles. It might be just the ticket.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Bain,

I worked in an upholstery shop as a kid, and my job was to strip (by removing thousands of staples) furniture. There is a neat little tool that upholsterers use to quickly remove staples. Slide it under the staple, press down and twist, and viola. I could remove a staple every second or so with it. The Berry remover is the one that I used.

Tim

http://www.garysupholstery.com/upholstery-tools.html

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  • 1 year later...

Use a tile snipper tool. It's rounded on both sides and pivots the staples out with no effort

Quote: Originally posted by Bain

I'm remodeling my kitchen this winter, one element of which is replacing the existing linoleum floor with tile. The linoleum is glued to 1/4" plywood underlayment which is fastened to the 1" sub-floor with about a million staples. I've tried every way--that I know of--I can think of to remove the existing floor, but the blade of every tool I've used hangs at the staples and rips the plywood. If I have to remove each and every staple by hand, which entails using pliers and/or a flat-head screwdriver, the job will require decades of time.

Does anyone know of a quicker way to remove the linoleum and underlayment?

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There's a tool for removing roofing shingles that might work. It looks like a very sturdy 4-tined pitchfork (each tine is made from 1/2" round bar stock) with a lever-like wedge at the back end of the tines. I find mine useful for all sorts of tasks other than removing roofing shingles. It might be just the ticket.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I've removed miles of underlayment. A shingle eater is too thick and too wide. A Sharp, flat, 3" wide Japanese style prybar about 18-24 inches long works best. The plywood gets damaged; it's part of the process. HardiBacker fixes it beautifully. I've capped as much as I've removed... 1/4 inch of additional height seldom poses a problem and it's way easier.

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I can't believe I missed this the first time.

Why would you take it up at all?

You've got to put backer board down with a million screws anyway and if it's that hard to remove it's not going to come up on it's own later.

Oftentimes, the extra height won't allow the dishwasher to fit under the countertop.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Oftentimes, the extra height won't allow the dishwasher to fit under the countertop.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

It could if you keep the existing cabinets in place. But, that creates another headache of cutting the underlayment flush to the toe kick for removal. Then if you waste tile in the dishwasher hole, it could still be a tight fit or not fit at all right? I'm not guessing. I've done it and not had that problem.

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Why would you take it up at all?

You've got to put backer board down with a million screws anyway and if it's that hard to remove it's not going to come up on it's own later.

My personality being what it is--and I'm not saying it's a good thing--the linoleum had to go.

As for what Jim said about the dishwasher, I actually made that error many years ago when I owned a remodelling company. I remember watching my men trying to slide the dishwasher beneath the counter and thinking, "I am so f**king stupid . . . "

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