How to Remove Vinyl Floor Tile Adhesive

If you have turned to the Internet to learn how to remove vinyl floor tile adhesive, chances are you have all but given up and are ready to call a contractor to do the work for you. Sore knees, blistered hands and hours scrubbing the floor and trying to get rid of those vinyl tires, and they still don’t go away.

The right way to remove vinyl tile glue depends on the kind of glue used to install the tiles, and its age. Vinyl tile adhesive that is really old and dry will require the use of harsher chemical solvents, whereas removing the tiles you installed last winter will be much easier. There are many different ways to remove vinyl tile adhesive, once you have removed the vinyl tiles using a knife and pulling them off the floor, and you may need to use some of them combined.


The first thing you should do when removing vinyl floor tile adhesive is using a scrapper to manually remove as much glue as possible by purely physical means. This is hard work in an uncomfortable position, so don’t try to get it all done in an evening and make sure you rest your back and even wear a supportive waistband to prevent damage. This should get rid of the bulk of the vinyl glue and the flooring itself.


No matter how much you scrap, there will be some resistant vinyl adhesive that refuses to go. In order to soften old glue for vinyl flooring you may need to use solvents. Vinyl solvents come in a variety of types and strengths, from easy to use citrus or soy based ones to highly toxic harsh chemicals, so choose the milder one that still does the job. Chemical solvents can be dangerous, and it’s extremely important to follow all the safety measures provided by the manufacturer. At the bare minimum, make sure you wear protective clothing and work on a well-ventilated area, and take frequent breaks. The solvent will soften the adhesive, and you can then scrap it off easily.

Using a Heat Gun

You can use a heat gun to remove vinyl floor tile adhesive effectively, but this method is not without risks. To start with, you could start a fire or get burn, or even suffer from poisoning from inhaling the noxious fumes that will result. So using a heat gun should be your last resort choice, used only when all else has failed.

Dry Ice Method

A nice industry trick to remove vinyl floor adhesive is to use dry ice. Using protective gloves, place a block of dry ice on a tile for 5 minutes. The tile will become brittle and pop out, and you can remove it easily. Place another dry ice block on the remaining adhesive to make it shatter, and another block on the next tile so it starts freezing. This way you can remove vinyl flooring glue with the least possible back pain.

Health Warning: Vinyl Tiles and Asbestos

If your tiles are old, there is a chance that they contain asbestos. Vinyl tiles containing asbestos were used until the mid-80s, and if your house is older or has vintage tiles it could be a health hazard to try and remove those tiles yourself, as a shattered tile will release asbestos in the air. If you suspect your flooring contains asbestos, contact a specialised removal company that will seal the room and vacuum away any asbestos dust released when removing the tiles.

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