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JMac14
Removing Hardwood Flooring-Easiest Method and Suggested Tool(s)?
JMac14

What is the most efficient way to remove existing 3/4" T&G hardwood floors? I have watched videos where guys cut perpendicularly to floor approximately 3' apart and use a hammer and crow bar. I have seen some tools that appear to make the job a lot easier (48" long pry/pop up flooring tool). Certainly those tools look great on websites, but do they work and which brands would you recommend? What is the best method and recommended tools?
Much appreciated!

Jamie

A. Spruce
Re: Removing Hardwood Flooring-Easiest Method and Suggested Tool(s)?
A. Spruce

The method you use will depend on what tools you have at your disposal and the manner in which the flooring is laid.

Glued down flooring is the toughest to remove. Scoring with a saw will aid in breaking it into smaller pieces as you pry it up. Carefully set your saw to slightly less than the thickness of the flooring, that is to say, for 3/4" flooring, you want to be approximately 1/16" shy of cutting all the way through. You set the saw to this depth to prevent cutting into the glue and substrate and dulling your blades.

Floating floors that are not bonded to the substrate, but are bonded to each other, are easily removed by scoring with a saw, set as described above.

Nailed floors should pop free of the substrate with general ease.

Regardless of manner of attachment, you use any manner of hammer and pry bar that facilitates removal. For seriously tough work, you're likely relegated to a hammer and flat bar, for easier work you will probably find a large flat ended pry bar to be the right tool.

Tip: sharpening the edge of your pry bar will aid in cutting through glue and getting under the wood.

hollasboy
Re: Removing Hardwood Flooring-Easiest Method and Suggested Tool(s)?
hollasboy

The method depends on whether you are salvaging the floor or not. If no, I use a big wrecking bar (oversized 3-4' long crow/pry bar) and sledge hammer. I get the tip of the bar under the outermost board, knocking it with the hammer, then use a prying motion to rip it up, nails and all. This cracks and splinters the wood in the process. Any nails that remain are pullout with the pry bar.

When I want to save the floor, I spend a little more time by starting to pry the board just enough (say 1/8 inch) to get it loose, but to where I don't crack anything. Then I run a long metal-cutting reciprocating saw blade along the entire length of the board, cutting the nails. Then the board pulls out by hand. I then tap in any nail stubs sticking out of the subfloor, with a hammer.

With either method, it is important to start from the tongue side and work board-by-board back towards the opposite wall. Because the nails go in at an angle into the tongue, and the pry bar pulls the board up and towards you, you are working with the nail angle.

Z92705
Re: Removing Hardwood Flooring-Easiest Method and Suggested Tool(s)?
Z92705

As others said, how it's installed and what it's on will determine how to remove it. I recently removed engineered hardwood glue straight to the concrete subfloor. Actually I discovered it was glued to the prior 60/70s linoleum which was glued to the floor really well. I started with a hammer, pry bar and chisel, then moved to a scraping chisel on my sawzall. Proceeded to cut the flooring with my circular saw about every foot to make it easier to pop of flooring chunks as the bigger cuts just had too much holding power with that early 70s bonding mastic.

The sawzall and sc****r beat the day lights out of my shoulders, neck and arms, once I cut and went power tool, turned it into a 1/2 day job for about a 40sf area. Hand tools would have several days.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Removing Hardwood Flooring-Easiest Method and Suggested Tool(s)?
Mastercarpentry

Look into getting a "flooring bar", essentially a curved crowbar with the 'ends' and the handle perpendicular to the head. After a few rows are removed, stand on the floored part and quickly slide the bar towards you (jerking is more like what you do). The end will bite and lift the edge, then you push the bar away from you to lift the board. It takes some effort but that is the fastest way. The easiest way is to drive a series of hardwood wedges under the floorboards. Based on how well it's nailed you might be able to lift a few rows at once given a long enough wedge. Experiment with the wedge length and rate of taper to find what works best. Use a extra-long handled hammer to minimize the bending over and your back will thank you.

Phil

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