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Removing vinyl floor and underlayment

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  • Removing vinyl floor and underlayment

    Hi folks,

    I planning to install prefinished, 3/4 inch oak flooring in my kitchen. I currently have sheet vinyl over luan that will need to be removed. The problem is, I don't want to remove my base cabinets and the existing flooring extends under the cabinets to the wall. I don't want to remove them out of fear that I will cause a problem with my 2 year old solid surface counter tops. They were difficult to get in, even for the experienced three person crew that did the installation. I can remove the toekick boards for a few inches of access to the flooring under the cabinets. Unfortunately, I can't think of a good way to cut through the underlayment given the limited space under the toekick area of the cabinets.

    I'm constantly reminded by my wife that I have every power tool known to man, but I don't think I have a single thing that will do this job. I need a circular trim saw that's about half the size of the cordless ones. I don't even think I can angle a rotozip spiral saw to do the job either. I'm at a loss. Any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  • #2
    Sounds like a good excuse to purchase a FEIN Multimaster!

    Comment


    • #3
      Mike, Unless you are very concerned about total height, there is no need to remove the subfloor under the sheet material. In fact it might be good to leave it there as it will provide a more solid base for the wood. So you can just use a razor knife to cut the sheet material along the toe kick. Of course, getting all of the olf vinyl and mastic off may be a chore but I'll bet it will be easier than trying to remove the sub floor - which, by the way, should be glued AND nailed down if it was put down properly in the first place. (When I do this type of a job I nail the heck out of the subfloor - it ain't comming up.) It is also going to be a bear to face nail that first strip under the toe kick, have fun with that.

      You did not mention the thickness of the laun but it is likely to be either 1/4" or 3/8" and if it was really laun then it is most likely to be 1/4" - that is nothing - it won't make a big difference to the space under the toe kick, and it will be easy to add transition strips at the doorways to level out the difference between adjoining rooms rooms.

      Ray

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      • #4
        Ray, If you do decide to remove the underlayment, their is a saw designed for this specific purpose. Surprisingly, it is called a "Toe kick saw". It is used primarily by floorcover people (vinyly, hardwood, ceramic, etc.) You may be able to rent one at a rental center or beg, borrow, or steal one from a floor covering person or place. To purchase one (spendy) call 1-800-328-0457. Hope this helps. Jim

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        • #5
          Edit: I just read the reply from Ray and inadvertently addressed my response to him. Sorry about that, Mike. It was meant for you. Jim

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          • #6
            Hey Pipestone, Can I learn from your post too? Not heard of that type saw but now I know - I still would not be inclined to remove the subfloor unless there was some compelling reason.

            Mike, let us know how you mke out.
            Ray

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            • #7
              Thanks, Ray and Jim!

              I never heard of a toe-kick saw. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I checked it out at Amazon and like you said, it's expensive. I'll try to rent one. I agree with the idea of not removing the underlayment in most cases. Mine seems to be accessively squeaky. It's the only floor in the house that makes noise. It was nailed, but I don't think it was glued down. The subfloor is solid though. It's 3/4 inch tongue and groove plywood over "Quiet Floor" engineered joists. It doesn't make a sound in all other rooms of the house.

              Removing the subfloor will be a pain in the butt. It will be worth it though if my wife doesn't hear me sneaking beers from the fridge at all hours of the night on our squeaky kitchen floor.

              Thanks again for your help. I'll let you know how it goes. Mike

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              • #8
                Mike, I have two more suggestions: 1) renail the subfloor - don't spare the nails or 2)get a beer fridge for the garage, the floor does not squeak and the light will not bother the wife - AND it will hold more beer (assuming the house fridge has milk and stuff in it.)

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                • #9
                  Not all rental centers carry the toe-kick saw, but it will be the best way to get under your cabinets. Taking up the subfloor won't be easy, but if use and old blade on a skill saw (nails) you can cut your sub-floor up into smaller pieces. Take your time and take care not to saw into your joists.

                  Bob

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