Removing old laminate flooring

I have an old house (1820) that has had laminate flooring laid at some point. I'm hoping it was put over hardwood but am having trouble getting the laminate up. Any suggestions?
  7 answers
  • Mike N Mike N on Jan 06, 2012
    I'd have to see it to try and determine how it was installed before offering any suggestions, but I will give you my initial thoughts: 1. Is the laminate flooring adjacent to exposed hardwood? If so, is it evidence it's on the same plane? Meaning there is no obvious transition or elevation change indicating a sub-floor of some type was laid on top. Floors in homes of that age tend to have been modified, sometimes several times, with no rhyme or reason in the approach. 2. Because you're having difficulty removing it, I suspect an adhesive was used. If this is the case, it's possible that even once it is removed it will leave behind a condition that may not be desirable. You could potentially sand and refinish, however you can only sand and finish a hardwood floor a couple (or a few, depending on thickness) of times before you'd expose the nail heads that secure it. If it has been sanded previous to being covered, you could be in for a surprise. 3. Depending on when the floor covering was installed, it could be asbestos tile. PLEASE find out if it is, and if so, remove taking the proper precautions, particularly if you are pregnant or have small children in the home. You'd also need to dispose of in accordance with your local municipality. Don't mean to frighten you...........but it's best to be aware of potential pitfalls.

  • Nancy L Nancy L on Jan 06, 2012
    Thanks so much! I hadn't even thought of asbestos!

  • Mike N Mike N on Jan 06, 2012
    My pleasure, Nancy. Good luck with your project!

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 06, 2012
    Do you have access to the space below this floor? In many older homes that I have worked on a lot of old installations were done with "planks" over the floor joists...this is very obvious when viewed from below. Keep in mind "plywood" was not available back in the 1800s. It may have been used since the home was built as part of a remodel

  • Mike N Mike N on Jan 06, 2012
    Excellent point @KMS.........two alternate scenarios may exist; one where there are planks (often installed diagonally) over the floor joists as a subfloor material, or the possibility there is no subfloor at all, and the hardwood flooring serves as both the sub and finished flooring. If the area you're referring to is original to the home it's likely one of these two conditions exist.

  • Nancy L Nancy L on Jan 06, 2012
    I'm in Vermont. I'll have to get down cellar and see if I can see anything! Thanks.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 07, 2012
    My brothers 1920's bungalow has oak hardwood installed directly on the floor joists....which bounced due to some support issues...I ended up adding some support column below in the crawl space.