I have hardwood floors that have been covered with linoleum. How can I remove the linoleum without damaging the wood underneath? -Hernando

Hi Hernando,

Glued down linoleum and vinyl flooring can be removed from a wood floor without causing too much damage to the wood, if you’re prepared for a fair investment of time and elbow grease. Here’s how to go about it.

Test for Asbestos

If the floor has been around for a number of years, you should purchase an asbestos test kit first, since asbestos was an ingredient in some adhesives used to install linoleum. If the test is negative for asbestos, you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Remove Linoleum or Vinyl Flooring

Start by pulling up as much of the linoleum or vinyl flooring as you can. Since it’s easier to work with smaller strips, it helps if you score the linoleum or vinyl with a razor knife into 12” wide strips.

A helper can speed the process by using a floor scraper to pry under the linoleum strips while you’re pulling on them. Once all the linoleum has been removed, it’s time to work on getting up the adhesive.

Remove Adhesive

There are chemical adhesive solvents on the market, but my concern is that they would soak into the hardwood. I would try working on small areas at a time by pouring boiling water on the adhesive and letting it sit for about ten minutes.

Once the adhesive is loose, use a floor scraper to remove as much of it as you can.

Sand and Refinish Wood Floor

After the adhesive has been removed, allow ample time for the floor to dry. Once the floor is completely dry, rent a floor sander and edger to sand the floor smooth and remove any traces of adhesive.

Finally, vacuum up all the dust, wipe the floor down, and finish with several coats of polyurethane.

Good luck with your project,


Further Information

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Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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