How To Remove Laminate Flooring? A Step-by-step Guide

Kenneth Wilson

The favorite tool for any budget-conscious home renovator is the use of laminated flooring on every surface that has had its carpet or tile removed. (Related: The Best Types Of Kitchen Flooring For Your Needs) However, laminated floors are known to age quickly, and you may want to replace them with new laminate floors or a solid floor, which requires some work.

Starting from the laminate baseboard that has been nailed into place, you will have to start prying the laminate flowing up. Glued laminate flooring can be removed from the wall or the side, removing one piece at a time, taking care not to damage the floor beneath the laminate.

You will have to understand the intricacies of laminate flooring and how to tackle every type of laminate flooring you may face. There are several ways to attach laminate flooring, each one requiring different work to remove properly when you need to remove them.

Tools Needed To Remove Laminate Flooring

Before we can start to remove your laminate flooring, you will have to get everything ready, get all the tools ready, and even purchase a few things. Many people assume that they can only use the basic tools that they already have to remove laminate flooring; however, this is not always true.

You may not already have a few things that are required to remove laminate flooring with absolute ease. Many times, the people struggling to remove their laminate flooring are trying to do it with only a hammer and a pair of pliers that are nearly as old as they are.

  • Hammer: We recommend a hammer with a pry bar at the back of the hammer, helping to loosen nails and the laminate flooring. You can often use the hammer to hammer in the prybar or flat bars that you are using to lift the floor as you are going.
  • Prybar: You do not need to get the largest prybar you can lift instead of a smaller prybar that can easily fit into smaller spaces. The prybar will lift some of the corner pieces of laminate flooring and help hold the floor up while cutting through the nails.
  • Work Clothes: Removing laminate flooring can lift a lot of dangerous nails and sharper pieces that can cause problems. Having a proper set of work clothes that are protective and able to get extremely dirty will keep your safe and your clothes safe.
  • Gloves: We always recommend that you get a good set of work gloves when working with laminate floors or anything with nails in them. Protecting your hands from splinters, nails, glue, and many other things that you are working with.
  • Vacuum: Once the floor is completely dismantled and there is no longer any laminate flooring, you need to clean it entirely. A good shop vacuum will easily help you clean the room before you start installing the new floor.
  • Flat Bar: A flat bar is similar to a prybar but is usually flat, allowing you to easily push it in between the laminate floor and whatever is under it. Helping you to get the floor loose, usually using the flat bar once you have the initial pieces of laminate flooring lifted.
  • Side Cutter: A good-sized side cutter will easily allow you to cut through the nails keeping the laminate flooring on. As you lift the flooring, you can cut through the nails and then remove them with your hammer or prybar.
  • Floor Scraper: Plastic and wooden laminate flooring are usually glued onto the floor, which means there will be glue residue left. A floor scraper of your choice will easily remove the glue and allow you to get the floor ready for the new flooring you have.
  • Utility Knife: As you are moving the prybar and the flat bar to lift the pieces of the laminate flooring, using a knife to cut the glue will be beneficial. The glue can easily be cut through with a sharp knife, making it much easier to remove the laminated flooring as you are going.

Steps To Remove Laminate Flooring

We can start the process now that we know what tools you will need to remove the laminate flooring throughout your room or your entire house. There are several things that we recommend getting ready before you start ripping into the laminate flooring, no matter its condition.

We have seen several people that start ripping into the floor long before they have the time or the chance to do everything properly. Knowing how to remove the laminate flooring and going through every necessary step before starting will ensure everyone knows exactly what to do.

  1. 1
    Prepare the room: This should always be your first step, and it starts with removing everything on the floor. Chairs, carpets, tables, everything needs to be removed from the room to be empty and ready to be worked on.
  2. 2
    Put on Clothes: Now that the room is ready, you need to get yourself and your friends ready to start the task. Putting on your work clothes and something to protect your feet, knees, and hands is next to ensure you can fearlessly tackle the removal. 
  3. 3
    Pry Open Base Board: At the sides of the laminate is called a baseboard; this board is not the same as the rest of the laminate flooring. Removing this first is important as it helps all the other boards stay in place throughout the flooring in the room.
  4. 4
    Cut Nails: As you lift the boards and cut through the glue with your knife, you need to reach in with the side cutter to cut through the nails. This process starts at the baseboard and will be the same for every board you remove.
  5. 5
    Remove all the boards: Now that you have the basics of removing a board, you need to repeat the process throughout the room. Removing each board one by one and then disposing of it all a pile that will not be in the way.
  6. 6
    Remove the Nails: As you are removing each board, we recommend that you or someone else come in and remove the nails from the floor. This will ensure that no one accidentally steps on one of the nails or scrapes their knees on the nails as they are moving.
  7. 7
    Scrape the Glue: Once all the boards have been removed, get your floor scraper and start to remove all the glue. For the next floor to be perfect, you need to ensure no glue is left on the floor for everything to be flat and even.
  8. 8
    Vacuum Everything: Once the floor has been scraped and there is nothing left on the floor, we recommend that you vacuum everything up to get rid of everything. A dirty floor will not accept new glue; it will cause the rest of the house to be dirt and is just a problem to work with.


Removing laminate flooring yourself is not one of the hardest tasks to do as it can easily be lifted and removed. Many people assume that laminate flooring will be just as hard to remove as tiles or carpet, but this is rarely true and can be completed with only a few basic tools you can buy.

Always remember, a nail in the ground will eventually be a nail in the foot!

Kenneth Wilson
October 25, 2021
Contractor Tips, Flooring

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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