Using a Flathead ScrewDriver To Pry Up and remove Vinyl Flooring Panels

Using a screw driver to pry under your vinyl flooring panels does take a bit of elbow grease, but the comforting and familiar (to some) handle of a screw driver may be easier on your hands than a lot of other common household tools, especially if it’s well-cushioned.

I found that using a screw driver is pretty effective and you certainly keep the overhead low for your DIY floor removal at what will probably be the absolutely cheapest and most affordable DIY method of removing vinyl flooring, assuming you already have a screw driver in your home/office/wherever you’re removing the vinyl flooring.

As pictured, in my little fixer upper, there were actually two layers of vinyl flooring: the white layer was the first and oldest layer, and the one on top, which is the wood flooring lookalike. I found the wood vinyl flooring to be much thicker than the white vinyl flooring, and thereby, extremely manageable to pry up with a flathead screwdriver. I did not have the same amount of luck with removing the white vinyl flooring which was not only much older, but much thinner and tore easily even without using the screwdriver.

Two Vinyl Floors Installed Over An Old Wood Floor in Fixer Upper House Wood-look vinyl flooring and the flathead screwdriver used to remove the hideous vinyl flooring during a home renovation

Making A Small Investment In A Vinyl Panel Scraper To Speed Things Up (Or If You Have A Lot Of Floors To De-Vinyl and wish to speed things up)

Want to speed things up and make things a little easier on your knees and back? Try one of these lovely, long-handled prying tools specifically designed for shimmying under the panels of vinyl and forcing the flooring glue to separate. There are also heated scrapers that heat up or melt the glue that holds the vinyl flooring panels in place which may be much more helpful in removing the white vinyl flooring, in my case. If you are removing vinyl that is thin and tears easily, this may prove to be a much better, faster, and less frustrating option for you.

If you vinyl flooring is thick, like the wood-appearing flooring panels in my lovely photos, then you are very likely to get by on the slimmest of budgets by using the flathead screwdriver. It only took me maybe an hour to scrape up a fourth of the bedroom floor.  Keeping the flat edge parallel to the floor, you slide it underneath the flooring panel you are working on with one hand, and pull upwards and back with the other.

The relative sharpness of the screwdriver helps to cut through the glue while the pulling of your hand creates additional space for the screwdriver to work its magic.

Fastest Method For A DIY Removal Of Vinyl Flooring

I decided to invest in a steam mop due to how often steam mops are used in not only home and building renovations, but because they also double as a tool for heavy duty deep-cleaning of stoves, ovens, other kitchen areas, bathrooms, and wood floors, and generally, for hard to remove, tough stains. After experimenting with boiling water via an electric kettle, which proved to be highly effective at removing vinyl by using the boiling water to melt the glue, thereby releasing the vinyl flooring’s hold, I upgraded and simplified this successful endeavor with a steam mop.

I found that using the steam mop to heat up a couple vinyl flooring panels at a time, and then, coming behind with a paint scraper to lift the vinyl flooring and remove it to a trash bin made the process much quicker than my previous experiments. In fact, if you were to do this heating/prying process with a partner, a bedroom floor could be removed in the course of several hours, with one person warming up the vinyl flooring a couple panels at a time, and the second person doing the prying, removing, and trashing of the vinyl flooring.