How to pull up laminate and vinyl flooring

October 04, 2011

It looks like we will get our new floors next week!! They will be finished on site – meaning the wood will be nailed down, then sanded, then stained. I’m so excited…just not excited about the process. It’s going to take a week total, and we’ll have to be out of the house quite a bit.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with the cats, the dog, the fish or the humans. ;) I’ll just take it day by day and expect a total mess. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Stop laughing. :)

When we had our laminate installed (almost) five years ago, I had them put it through to the mud/laundry room:

But I didn’t have it put under the washer and dryer just in case we ever had water issues. HA! Little did I know the refrigerator would be the culprit.

And if we did have issues with the washer, I’m sure it would have extended out beyond that little transition piece. ;) Whatever. I was trying.

We have learned throughout the years that laminate in the mud room (right off the garage) was not the best choice. The laminate was still OK – no buckling – but was so tired of worrying about our wet boots in the winter.

So with the new floors coming,  my plan was to pull up the laminate, and eventually put a tile or a peel and stick tile down instead. I could have done it any time – but I was hoping to get it done before the floors were put in.

The other day, as I was walking to the garage to grab some spray paint, a few thoughts ran through my head:

“Hmmm…I wonder how hard it would be to just pull up this laminate super quick.”

“No. Sarah. Keep walking.”

“But really, now hard could it be? It could be fun.”

“FUN? Whatareyoucrazywoman?”

“I’m gonna try it.”

“Spray. Paint.”

“Oh come on…just pull up one piece and see what happens.”

Famous last words. You can guess which side won out.

I started with the transition piece:

 IMG_7165 IMG_7166

And my first surprise came. :) The installers used liquid nails to glue down that piece.

And a few others. I actually like the vinyl we had put down when we built the house, so I was hoping to just keep that for a while till I figured out what I wanted to do with the floor.

The glue threw a bit of a wrench in that. But I figured I could get it off.

I moved on to pulling up the laminate:

It took some muscle and a really good pry bar. 

It was a bit difficult to get the first piece out, but after that it was like butta:

But I noticed something else as I removed the laminate. The underlayment was cut into pieces. I have no idea why.

And I’m not sure why it seems like they put a full piece down, then used a razor to cut it into pieces.

And I’m not sure why they decided to do that right over the perfectly good vinyl:

Cutting a gash in it the length of the room. I mean, I guess they didn’t think we’d ever pull up the laminate and want vinyl again? I don’t know.

But it threw another wrench in my plan.

The vinyl wasn’t glued down, for the most part, so I started pulling it up:

I saw the wood flooring, and though maybe I could just paint it in the meantime. How fun would that be?!

SO fun. But it wasn’t happening:

That vinyl glue is SERIOUS stuff. Insane. Like, they could glue buildings together with it.

I gave up after one piece. There was so much sweating. And maybe a swear word.

See that spot by the door? I was right – water had been seeping under the laminate for years. It wasn’t moldy, thank goodness.

Sooo…my simple walk through the laundry room for spray paint turned into a distress call to our handyman. ;) He is AWESOME and was able to come out the next day and lay down new plywood (or whatever that stuff is). I could have left it as is for a while, but that splintery stuff made me nervous with the Bub and the dog.

Once we had decent floors again, I took a trip to Lowe’s to see what our options were. And I found the PERFECT solution.

It’s called Novalis peel and stick tile -- the one I picked out is the copper slate finish:

novalis peel and stick tile

It’s 18 x 18 inches and 18 by 18 inches of AWESOME. I am so giddy about this stuff! And it’s only $2 a tile – crazy good for such a great look.

The back is sticky, so you peel the backing off and stick it to the floor. That’s it:

18 by 18 peel and stick tile

OK, well not that’s it – but really, it was SO EASY to install. It took quite a few cuts, but even those were easy. It’s vinyl, but it’s way thicker than vinyl on the roll. And it’s hard – each piece is really sturdy.

Our handyman showed me how to disconnect the washer and dryer, so I was able to get it down throughout the whole space. I started it late Saturday night and finished up Sunday – total it took about two hours. And that’s me doing it alone – it would go so fast with two or more!

vinyl peel and stick tile

You would never know it wasn’t real tile, right?

You can even grout it – which I did…kinda. I’ll show you the whole grouting how-to in an upcoming post.

For now, it’s kicked off a mini redo of the laundry room. And I was just trying to get some spray paint!! People…THAT is how I roll.

I’ve needed to finish off the beadboard in this space for years now. I had the handyman take off the remaining baseboards while he had the washer and dryer pulled out. So the next step is to finish up the beadboard, paint it, repaint the existing beadboard, and paint the room. Oh, and reinstall baseboards. And add some crown molding.

I’m thinking of pulling a color out of the floor for the walls – I’m SO excited about the potential for this space! My plan for about a year now has been to move the washer and dryer out of this room, but that’s on the back burner for sure now. Moving the water, electricity and the gas line for the dryer is not going to be cheap.

So for now, the floors are making this room feel completely new and shiny!:

novalis peel and stick Lowes

Have you tried this peel and stick goodness? One of my BFFs actually has this exact tile in her mud room and I’ve loved it for years. I didn’t think there was any way it would still be available, but there it was! She said she loves it so much, she would put it throughout her kitchen in a heartbeat.

I’ve also seen the peel and stick “hardwood” floors – they look surprisingly real too. I know many of you have used that and love it!

So…that’s how a trip to the garage turned into a complete room redo. Eventually. At least we’re not walking on splinters. :)

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  1. Oh my goodness! I have been wanting to put new flooring in our bathroom for quite a while now. It's really small so about 10 of those peel and stick tiles would do the job.

    It looks so great in your mudroom.

    Looks like a weekend project for me!

  2. Looks awesome! My parents installed this tile in a bathroom a couple years ago and I was amazed how good it looked, great product!

  3. I have that exact same tile in my mudroom. Love it...and love how yours looks grouted. Hmmm...

  4. My hubs and I used peel and stick tile in our laundry room. It looked great untill the washer leaked a little causing the "grout" to crumble and the tiles to become loose. I hope you have better luck than we did.

  5. This is awesome. It looks great AND you are hilarious. :)

    Shannon @ Imperfectly-Inspired

  6. Looks great Sarah! I love the warm colors in it. Glad to hear it's easy to use. I've been thinking about putting some down in our teeny tiny bit of an entryway. There's hardwood and a throw rug there now, but I think "tile" would look nice. And it would probably take less than 9 pieces to cover. Now if I could only find some to match our charcoal gray slate that's in the kitchen and is one of the first things you see when you come in the house. The entry tile and kitchen tile should match or at least go, right?

    ~ Catie

  7. Had a little leak in our bathroom 4 years ago, my husband pulled up the super-dee-duper ugly laminate and put down what I swear is the exact same peel and stick you used. I totally love it still, it was super easy and has worn very well. SOMEDAY I want him to do this in the kids bathroom too, but we keep having babies and projects like that don't make the cut (I always pick a weekend-husband-watches-babies-and-I-take-a-nap over projects right now). Love what you did as usual!

  8. All the while I was reading your post what kept running through my head was...."If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..."

    It kind of escalates, doesn't it? :)

    By the way, did you ever get the spray paint from the garage?? lol!

  9. You are one strong lady...the floor looks awesome, it is almost like real stone...
    Great Job

    Rasha @ mychampagnetaste

  10. We put that exact faux tile in my son's room! And we got it on sale at Lowes for 96 cents a tile! It took my hubs many more hours than it took you, but we LOVE the look and are definitely going to use it again!

  11. Honestly your husband must be afraid to come home or maybe to leave the house I don't know! :) I have the same tile, different color in my bathroom and love it, easy peasy, cheap and looks nice! Right now my laundry floors are concrete, pulled the tile up and painted and then lost my motivation, it's on the list. I know you know what I mean! :)

  12. we laid some awesome tile in the kitchen two weeks and i've been canning on it since then ... we did this after we lifted off the RUG -- can you say *filthy* -- that was there, even, years and years before the *first wife* passed away ... it was horrid: mom was ill for a couple of years and the kids (OLD kids, like in their mid-20s) did not clean any food, water, juice, alcohol spills up ... anyhow ... we heard of this tile, *allure* from home depot (they are the only ones who sell it out west where we live) and it's awesome ... one edge is interlocking has stick on it; you attach it to the edge of the next time and, voila, it sticks ... it's water-resistant flooring installs easily and is ideal for use in high-moisture areas, such as basements, kitchens and bathrooms ... it's wonderful and washes up soooo nice ... i would surely recommend it ... darlene

  13. please forgive the errors in the post above; it surely pays to proof your posts ;-)) if you have any questions and would like anything clarified, just ask ....


  14. Looks great! I love that laminate tile. We put some down in the kitchen of our last house as a temporary measure that turned out not to be temporary! We grouted it and everthing. It totally looked and felt like tile.

    Your project looks fantastic!


  15. I have peel & stick flooring in my kitchen that the guy who re-built my house put in. It looks remarkably like real tile and is very easy to clean, however, if you get down and look closely you can see the sub-flooring between the tiles. I am looking forward to seeing how you "grouted". I think that step would make me love my floors instead of just liking them!

  16. Have you considered getting one of those water trays to go under your washer? We had some weird leaks with ours a year or two ago and having a water tray saved us from having to replace the flooring in our laundry room. It only comes up about an inch and a half, but it is totally worth it!

  17. Bahaha! This is hilarious :) (Spray. Paint.) That's the kind of thing that happens to me all. the. time. Easily distracted for sure. The tile does look great though!

  18. Sarah - I used Laticrete epoxy grout (which is flexible and comes in a TON of colors) with vinyl tile from Home Depot in my entryway (looong story about why that was the only option). It's looks great and has lasted several years with no problems.

    [ It's important to use a flexible grout, because regular grout will crack when the vinyl flexes. ]

  19. The floor is beautiful! I lo9ve the new look & I can't believe that it onl took you about 2 hours to put it down. Can't wait to see the rest when its done! :-) Take care.

  20. I cannot wait to hear how you grouted these! I have been thinking about using this same time of flooring in our entryway and love how yours turned out. Good job!

  21. So what were you going to spray paint? :) those floors look great, and crazy that they go down so easily and quickly!

  22. Sarah... you crack me up! I love that you were going for spray paint and ended up with a new floor. Sounds like me. I have the attention span of a gnat. LOL

    The floors look great. I've been wanting to try the peel and stick tile for awhile now, but I've been afraid it would be an inferior product. You've inspired me to look seriously at using it in my bathroom!

  23. We had our floors refinished back in June. It was the messiest, smelliest home improvement thing we've done to date, but it was worth every penny and the inconvenience of living elsewhere for a few days. Here are the before and afters if you're interested:

  24. LOL!!! YOU...are one wacky lady! The floor looks awesome! I've used this stuff before too, and you're right, sooooo easy to do. And I LOVE the 18 x 18 tiles. It also looks great when used by a front door...;) AND...if you put it on a diagonally it looks super cool too. Makes a room look longer and wider, don't know why, but it does. I love tile on a diagonal. :) You did a super job. And you're not alone. I always end up getting side tracked when I'm going to do something. ;) I call it "multi-tasking"...because eventually, the thing I was MEANING to do...gets done too. BONUS!

  25. Wow, I love it! Thanks for remembering to take pictures of the process for us! It looks like quite a process, but somehow you still make it look easy. Sarah + a crowbar = dangerous? haha

    At FIRST I was sad for you that the old vinyl was ruined by the installers...



  26. Two of my favorites, copper and slate! It turned out wonderful. At some point we want to turn our enclosed back porch into a breakfast nook. This would be great since we enter the house there and would look good with the laminate floor in the kitchen that has some reddish-orange tones in it. Great job! Just curious, what were you planning to spray paint? You never did say.

  27. I love reading your blog! Your flooring turned out great! I have that same sort of 'easily distracted' persona. If I did that, my husband would have flipped out!!! I think I may send him this post, just so he knows there are more people out there like me!
    Great job!!

  28. It's gorg! And, yes, I've done peel 'n stick . . . in my SIL's kitchen! Hello?! But that was, lemme see, in 2001? Yep. And it's still down and wearing fine. In the KITCHEN! Yeah. It's great stuff.

    Can't wait to see the wall color you pull out. Now you're singing my tune :D

  29. WOW! I love your laundry room project! It looks fantastic and is very inspirational for the average Jane Doe! Thanks so much for sharing - keep those creative juices flowing and do share!

  30. That was too funny. I soooo get the whole "just going to grab a can of spray paint deal" Three days later, the whole house rearranged, the floors pulled up, general chaos ensues. Your floors are AWESOME, and i totally learned something about cool flooring ideas from this post!


  31. Isn't it funny how sometimes our best ideas just pop out at us when we weren't really thinking of it. You did a great jump by doing this whole ordeal all by yourself! Can I say, Wonder Woman?

  32. Hello, ladies!!

    I have a quick hint for those of you who are peeling up vinyl tile. If you heat the tile up with your blow dryer, it softens the glue and makes it easier to pull up. Hope this helps with what can be a tough job.

    Sarah, your laundry room looks great!!

  33. It looks so great Sarah! Pulling a color from the tile for the walls is going to look AWESOME!!

  34. Sarah! I LOVE how spontaneous and unafraid you are. You just plain ROCK, and so does your floor. Love it!

  35. I hate the peel and stick flooring in my kitchen/laundry (it is just an ugly pattern) but yours looks great. I love the way you offset the tiles instead of lining them all up as is usually done. I want to give some serious thought to the p&s "hardwood". Also love that you do all this without your hubby's help, very inspiring.

  36. Looks great! We moved into our house a year and half ago with our 5 kids. We were very surprised to find both bathrooms had carpet in them! I woke up on Tuesday and after waking up my middle schooler at 5:30 am for school, I was in the bathroom looking for rubber bands to do her hair for crazy hair day at school and got distracted by the carpet. There was a section of the carpet in the corner not tacked down. I pulled it up just to see what was under there. It still had the tile intact underneath(although ugly and definitely needs to be replaced). I thought just get the rubber bands, next thing I know... I had a knife, a hammer, and a garbage can, and really ugly tile in the bathroom. Love your blog by the way!

  37. That looks awesome! And I'm sure it will be so much nicer not having to worry about tracking in mud, rain, sleet, or whatever in during the winter. Can't wait to see how you transform the room!!

  38. It looks fabulous! I like your old vinyl too - yep, we have it in our kitchen! :)

  39. Looks great! What color are you going to pull out of the tile for the walls?

  40. I can't wait to see how you 'grouted' it! I have these peel & stick tiles in my upstairs bath and they're old and ugly and yellowing, and I got new ones to replace them... but I'm loving the grout look so I'm gonna hold out on installing til I see your trick!

  41. I'm moving into "the little blue house" as it's been dubbed, in Tulsa, in two weeks. I have not seen the house in person. My daughter is a realtor. Anyway, yesterday she was going to tackle the kitchen floors in this 1934 house. The rest is the original hardwoods and beautiful. Someone had put the stuff you used over CORK BOARD floors. I kid you not. Not plywood. Oh no. Now we have to lay a whole floor before we put anything on top!

  42. My hubby and I also used this type of peel and stick tile for our laundry room! Ours are the longer tiles in a grey colour, but very "slate" looking as well. We just LOVE them - they look exactly like the real thing, especially with the grout. I quite literally just started a blog - perhaps I will post about my laundry room project at some point and show you a picture.

    Anyhow, excellent job - I think it was actually fate calling you into that laundry room that day, because the new tiles are just perfect!

    Take care,

  43. At first, I thought: Am I crazy or is there actual grout between those vinyl tiles.

    You'll try practically anything, I see. Wonderful to see it actually worked out! ^--^

  44. LOL I just saw those tiles the other day and was considering them for my sisters new kitchen... I'm redoing her kitchen. I hope she doesn't mind.
    Anyway, she has this product, just in an ugly color... lol I like yours WAY more!

  45. WOW! I cannot wait for the instructions on how you laid and grouted that tile! I got a $3000 estimate to put tile in my entryway, bathrooms, and kitchen (all small - I live in a townhouse), which has kept me from upgrading my current ugly linoleum (I'm on the Dave Ramsey plan!). I definitely want to try the peel and stick instead! I'm hoping I can just put them over the existing linoleum.

  46. I have the same kind of 'tile' but in a gray with some reddish accents. Matches my cherry cabinets beautifully AND when I built the house, people asked if it was slate! It honestly looks that good.

    I put it in the kitchen, entry, back entry and both annything not carpeted.

    I LOVE it!

  47. We are actually waiting on our box of peel and stick "hardwood" for our laundry room. Our laundry room is only 45sq ft so we figure we'll test it out in there for a while then decide if we want to carry it through the attached kitchen. I'm so glad to hear people say theirs have lasted so long! We really can't afford anything else at this point, but the floor in there is shot so we need to do something!

  48. A hint for when you are getting the new floors sanded....use wide blue painter's tape and tape all your kitchen cabinets shut. It will save you having to wash every dish, pot, pan, or glass you own.

  49. Hey, that looks really good!

    Em Fox

  50. Looks awesome! Is that grout between the vinyl tiles or is that part of the tile? Just curious!! I'm thinking about doing this in my laundry room as well, but just haven't had the time to tackle it yet! Would love to know!

  51. Sounds like how most of my "big idea" projects start!!! :) Thank God for fantastic husbands! :)

    We used that tile in our main bathroom (different color) and grouted in between so it looks even more like real stone. We also used the peel and stick "wood" planks (from Lowes)in our basement office...not a fan of those as much as I am the floating resilient flooring (Home Depot). You have to worry about the p&s coming undone or being able to see the lines in between the strips and I don't see those being an issue with the resilient. We have it upstairs in bedrooms and on the main floor in a hallway. Compliments galore.

    Can't wait to see what you do with your laundry room!!

  52. We (my husband) gutted our bathroom 2 years ago. Down to the studs. We didn't want to remove the old tile floor though b/c it was installed on concrete and we would have had to chip all that up. So he spread some sort of leveler on the floor to fill in the grout lines and make it smooth. Then we put down some those same peel and stick tiles (different color). They look AWESOME!! You can't tell they're not really tile. Cheap and easy to install. And they've lasted more than 2 years. In a bathroom where 3 small children are always spilling water out of the tub. They still look like they did the day they were installed! I love them!!

    PS. I love how your trip for spray paint turned into a new floor. So funny!! That would be me. I'm easily distracted.

  53. I am going through the whole flooring thing now, took out the kitchen and are having the Amish build cabinets. While it is insane, the flooring is down and I love it! We just moved in a log cabin about a month ago. Would love your opinions if you had a chance to stop by :)
    This weekend is the sand, poly, sand, poly weekend :)

  54. I love how the floor turned out! We've been wanting to redo our mudroom and kitchen area and have looked into (and are seriously considering) those vinyl tiles too. Great job!

  55. how fun!! i love that you just jump right into a project. those are sometime the most fun (and scary!). it looks beautiful!

  56. We used the vinyl tile in our last house's kitchen - super easy, and it looks great. I totally agree. Fabulous choice!

    Kim at

  57. Love it! I think I am like you in my list of projects and my distractability, but my issue is actually getting STARTED... ;)

  58. OMG, you crack me up!! After all of that hard work, it looks great! I've seen the peel and stick hardwoods, my grandma has it in her kithen and yes it does look pretty awesome!! Great job!

  59. Please, please, P-L-E-A-S-E don't forget us with the grout tutorial! :) I would LOVE to do this to my downstairs open concept living and dining room. Can't wait to see how you did it.

    How did you decide the layout for he tiles on the floor?

  60. I used this EXACT same tile in my bathroom! Lowes had it on clearance for $8.00 a box with 10 tiles per box. My bathroom is teeny, so 2 boxes gave me more than enough. I did it on the diagonal, which makes the room look bigger. I also did a large mosaic of an 8 point star in the center. I used a chocolate colored grout, and it looks beautiful. I adore autumn colors, especially copper! I'd love to share a pic with you :) you have good taste (like me LOL)

  61. I know this is an older post, but I am a new follower and I am currently reading your blog--marathon style. I love love LOVE this floor! And everything else I have seen so far. I want to copy everything..
    So, do you still have this flooring in your laundry room? How has it held up?
    One more rookie question: can you put this type of floor directly down on the existing vinyl? That sounds like it would just make it stronger and more durable. And way easier :)
    Be on the lookout for more rookie type questions! Thank uuuu!


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