DIY Network

How to Remove Vinyl Flooring and Install Underlayment

To prepare for new flooring, you first need to remove the old flooring. The experts show how to tear out old flooring and install underlayment.

More in Floors

remove vinyl flooring and install underlayment
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Remove the Molding

Remove the base molding and shoe molding using a pry bar and hammer. Work the pry bar from side to side trying not to damage dry wall because you want to save the molding if at all possible so you won't have to find material to replace it.

remove old baseboards

Step 2: Score the Vinyl Flooring

Take a utility knife and score the old vinyl flooring the length of the room. Do this every 5 to 6 feet, which will give you small sections to work with and small sections to have to discard in the dumpster.

Note: It's best to start pulling up the vinyl in the middle of the floor because the edges can be brittle and break easily, and don't worry about leaving the felt backing because the underlayment will go right over it.

cut away old vinyl flooring

Step 3: Purchase Enough Product

Once the vinyl flooring has been removed, it's time to install the underlayment. Start by measuring and getting enough product to cover the entire floor.

Tip: Always vacuum before laying down the underlayment to prevent debris that might cause bumps.

use three quarter inch plywood for new subflooring

Step 4: Staple Each Sheet

Start in a corner with a full sheet, if possible. Staple each sheet into place as you go using 1-1/4" staples and a pneumatic stapler.

staple each sheet

Step 5: Add More Staples Around the Edges

Start stapling in the farthest corner moving inward. This will ensure that there are no bubbles underneath. The sheets are typically marked with "X's" that act as stapling guides. Put more staples in around the edges.

Step 6: Lay Another Piece

Lay the next piece in, finished edge to finished edge, then the next, and so on, stapling in each as you go. When the length of the room is finished go back and lay another piece, this time a half sheet next to the first piece so that seams are staggered.

Note: Some pieces may need to be cut. Be sure to get exact measurements. And use a table saw for long straight cuts and a jigsaw for notching out around trim and pipes.

subfloor added for new flooring