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Can You Remove and Reuse Vinyl Plank Flooring?

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Vinyl plank flooring is a material that is manufactured to withstand the test of time. It is ultra-durable, withstands heavy use, and wears incredibly well over time. However, when you remove vinyl plank flooring, it is possible to reuse it? 

If you have vinyl plank flooring that is installed above the subfloor with no glue, it can be removed and reused. However, if the vinyl plank flooring has been glued down, it can be removed but is very difficult to reuse as the glue typically causes the flooring to rip and peel. 

Vinyl plank flooring is a great investment for those who want to ensure that their floors can stand the test of time when it comes to their constant use. Vinyl plank flooring is therefore an investment that people want to hold onto if possible, and this means being able to remove and reuse the flooring in a different area when needed. Continue reading to understand the ends and outs of vinyl plank flooring removal and reuse.  

Can You Remove and Reuse Vinyl Plank Flooring? 

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The four main types of vinyl plank flooring include interlocking, peel and stick, glue down, and loose lay. Let’s talk about their ability to be removed and reused. 

Interlocking 

This type of vinyl plank flooring is one that is created with a tongue and groove design that interlocks together as it is installed. They are very easily removed and if they are in good condition at the point of removal. They are able to be reused without a problem because they are interlocked with one another rather than being glued down to the subfloor of your home. 

Peel and Stick 

Peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is extremely user-friendly and is designed with an adhesive back that is pulled off and then is pressed onto the surface of the subfloor. With this design though, removing and reusing is nearly impossible because the adhesive is no longer sticky and many times, the vinyl can tear or be stripped. 

Glue Down 

Glue down vinyl plank flooring is similar to peel and stick in that it uses a type of adhesive to attach to the subfloor. This type of flooring is extremely strong and does great for areas that experience a lot of general wear and tear. But due to this strong bond, removing can be a very difficult and tedious process. Even more, once removed, the vinyl is generally unsalvageable. 

Loose Lay 

Loose lay vinyl flooring is not as often used as the above three options, but it is great for rooms that don’t see a lot of traffic and therefore don’t need a floor that is so heavily tied down to the subfloor. This type of flooring is backed with a grip that holds onto the subfloor and keeps it from shifting. Due to its nature, it can be removed with ease and can also be reused.

Is Vinyl Plank Flooring Easy to Remove? 

Luxury vinyl plank laminate flooring concept

Vinyl plank flooring can be easy to remove, but can also be quite difficult if glue was used during installation. Let’s look at the differences in removal with various vinyl plank floors. 

Interlocking 

This flooring is the easiest of the most popular types of vinyl plank flooring to remove. It is created in a way that the flooring simply snaps together and fits like a puzzle across the area you are covering. Therefore, removal is simply a reversal of that simplistic installation. 

Peel and Stick 

Peel and stick vinyl plank flooring is also a breeze to install, but it is almost just as simple to remove. Some spots may be more difficult than others, but in general, it can typically be removed with minimal effort at a relatively fast pace. 

Glue Down 

Glue down vinyl plank flooring is where things can get a little sticky. This adhesive is extremely strong and its bond to the subfloor is where that becomes apparent. This type of flooring can take time, cutting, and scraping, making it the most difficult to remove.  

Loose Lay 

Loose lay vinyl flooring is also extremely easy when it comes to its removal. Because there is no type of glue or adhesive that keeps it secured to the subfloor, each piece can be removed in seconds with the aid of a small box cutter. 

How to Remove Vinyl Plank Flooring Without Damaging It 

Vinyl floor detail, oak decor

Each type of vinyl plank flooring is removed in a different way and requires the right type of care to ensure that it is not damaged. This may mean more time on your end, but could save you having to replace pieces if it is capable of being reused. 

Interlocking

To remove interlocking vinyl plank flooring, all you need to do is find where the installation ended, gently remove the baseboard trim around the room, pry the first piece upwards slowly, and then begin removing the remainder of the floor. The key is to take your time with the first piece and to be cautious with tools to avoid scratching or other damage. 

Peel and Stick 

Peel and stick vinyl flooring is difficult to remove without damaging it because of the strong adhesive that bonds it to the subfloor. To avoid the most damage, you must take your time in peeling up each piece as gently as possible. To make the removal more smooth, consider heating each square with a hairdryer to loosen the adhesive. 

Glue Down 

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to remove glue down vinyl plank flooring without damaging the vinyl itself. The glue is so strong that it takes quite a bit of pulling, tugging, cutting, and scraping to remove it from the subfloor. This typically causes the vinyl to peel, rip, or tear and is left in a state that it can no longer be reused. 

Loose Lay 

Loose lay is very easy to remove without damaging and you can start at almost any point in the room. The best way to remove it is to use a box cutter to get between the cracks of the flooring. Once you have the first piece lifted, you can simply lift the remainder of the area with your hands. 

How Do You Remove Vinyl Plank Flooring Glue 

Wood flooring tools laying on vinyl planks

Removing vinyl plank flooring glue can be the most tedious step for many people, as glue covers every inch of the floor. Even more, if you had a tough removal, it can mean that there is plenty left that must be taken away before a new floor is installed. 

The first type of removal that you can try is to get a bucket of warm water and soap it up with a dish soap that is good quality. The warm water works to loosen the glue and the soap helps to break it apart as it is scrubbed. This may take time to remove bit by bit, but it should leave you with a smooth subfloor that is ready for installation when you have all the materials for replacement. 

If you find this solution is not working a heat gun can be used over tougher areas to apply a more intense amount of heat which causes the glue to begin to soften. Once it has been  softened, it can be easily scraped away. This method can be used in tandem with warm water and soap for areas that are not as tough and therefore don’t require measures so extensive. 

If you find that these methods have gotten the bulk of the glue from the subfloor after your vinyl plank flooring has been removed but there is still a bit of a residue remaining, consider wiping the area over with alcohol. Dampen a rag with the and wipe over the area that needs a bit more removal or over the entirety of the floor to ensure every bit has been taken away. 

How Do You Reuse Vinyl Plank Flooring? 

Home renovate with vinyl laminate flooring.

The most obvious way to reuse vinyl plank flooring would be for the purpose of laying now the same floor in another room. For many, this can mean taking the floor and installing it in a bedroom, bathroom, mudroom, or even another family room. Some even take the vinyl plank flooring from an old home and move it to their new home in order to save costs for rooms that can accommodate the amount they have. 

Beyond repurposing for floors though, vinyl plank flooring can be used in a slew of different ways that do not include it actually going down on your floor. It can be used as an accent wall, can be repurposed as a backsplash in a kitchen, or can even be laid down as a countertop if you can seal off all of the edges properly. There are so many possibilities with the reuse of vinyl plank flooring that go far beyond making the pieces a floor again. 

The key with the reuse of vinyl plank flooring is that there is no damage to the flooring (whether that be water or usage damage), that no mold has somehow found its way onto the flooring, and that the floor is structurally sound overall. If you have vinyl plank flooring that is able to meet safety standards once it has been removed, it can be reused in a multitude of different ways. 

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