How to Remove Vinyl Floor Tiles From Concrete

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how to remove vinyl floor tiles from concrete

If you have a concrete floor with vinyl tiles, you may want to install a new floor at some point. 

In order to do this, you will have to remove the old or dirty vinyl. This process can be difficult if you don’t set yourself up for success. 

Doing this job correctly can prevent the vinyl from coming up in small pieces. The small pieces are usually the result of the adhesive being too strong. 

In this article, we will lay out all the steps for removing vinyl from concrete if it has become damaged or difficult to clean. Following this method can help you get the job done much quicker. 

Removing Vinyl Floor Tiles From Concrete: Basic Idea

You should follow the steps laid out below in the correct order. This will help ensure that you can pull up the old flooring in big chunks and get the job done quicker. 

To remove vinyl flooring from concrete, you should: 

  • Cut the flooring 
  • Heat the adhesive 
  • Peel the flooring 
  • Remove all the adhesive 

When to Remove Vinyl Flooring From Concrete

when to remove vinyl flooring from concrete

One of the downsides of vinyl tile flooring is that it isn’t as durable as some other floor types. It has a tendency to get damaged and scraped up within just a few years. 

If you notice that your vinyl flooring is looking a little worse for wear, it might be time to replace it. 

Do a thorough inspection of your vinyl flooring. If you notice any gouges or discoloration, it might be a good idea to pull it up and put down new flooring. 

This is because water and moisture can get underneath the damaged vinyl. 

When this happens, you could end up with mold or mildew underneath the vinyl. This can be hazardous to your health and should be remedied as soon as possible. 

On top of that, you can completely revamp the look of the room with some new flooring. 

Cut the Flooring into Sheets

The first thing you will want to do is cut the vinyl tile flooring into sheets. 

These sheets should be about a foot wide and can be as long as you want. Use a utility knife to cut the sheets. 

Make sure you are cutting all the way through the vinyl and down to the concrete. 

You may have to use a few blades for your utility knife during this process. This will ensure that the blades are sharp and that you stay safe while cutting. 

Heat up the Adhesive 

The vinyl flooring will be secured to the concrete with an industrial adhesive. 

In order to remove the sheets you have cut, you will have to loosen this glue. This is the best way to make sure that you can remove the sheets in big pieces. 

To loosen the adhesive, use a heat gun or hair dryer. Make sure you are heating the flooring thoroughly and that you can feel it starting to come up. 

It is recommended that you start in the corners of the room. These will be the easiest areas to heat. 

As you heat, try to pull up the sheets. If you heat the adhesive enough, you may be able to pull it up with your hand. 

If you can’t, you can move onto the next step. 

Peel up the Floor 

Once you have heated up the adhesive, use a metal spatula or putty knife to pry up the vinyl. 

Get your tool under vinyl push forward. Heat the vinyl as you go to make sure the adhesive stays pliable. 

You should be able to get the vinyl tile up in the long strips that you have cut. Keep heating as needed and discard the pieces as you pull them up. 

Remove the Adhesive 

Once you have removed the vinyl tiles, you will then have to remove the excess adhesive. 

Before you start, make sure you sweep up all the dust and debris that has accumulated. Then, heat a pot of water almost to its boiling point. 

Then, pour the water over the adhesive and leave it for five minutes. 

Once the adhesive is softened, you can start to scrape it up with your putty knife. Heat up more water and apply it as needed. 

Once you have removed most of the adhesive, use rags to mop up the excess water. You should then be left with a clean concrete floor that is free of adhesive. 

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to remove vinyl floor tiles from concrete floors
  • Does vinegar break down glue?

Vinegar will break down glue eventually. However, you will want to make sure it is heated to make it as effective as possible. 

If you need to remove a large amount of glue, hot water is a better option. 

  • Can I use acetone on vinyl flooring?

Acetone can be used to clean vinyl flooring, but you should be careful. Always test acetone in an inconspicuous area of the floor. 

Some vinyl floorings can be discolored by certain harsh chemicals. 

  • Will bleach damage vinyl?

Bleach will not damage vinyl. However, you should test it before you apply it in a wide swath. 

For the most part, though, bleach will be safe to use on vinyl tiles in thin concentrations. 


If you need to remove vinyl tiles, it is best to make the job as easy as possible. You don’t want to be pulling up small chunks and spending a lot of energy without much progress. 

By following the above steps, you can remove vinyl in big strips and make the job much easier. 

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Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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