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I'm putting hardwood floors in my kitchen and living room, which next to each other. The kitchen has vinyl flooring, so it is slightly higher than the living room, which has carpet on subfloor. I want the hardwood to be at the same level in both rooms so I don't need a threshold between the rooms. Is it possible to remove the vinyl? I imagine it is glued down.

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Yep, it's actually pretty easy. For the most part it'll peel up, you just need a good scraper (available at Home Depot in the flooring tools aisle) to get up the stuck down parts. Don't worry about getting all the glue up, just get the majority of the chunks up so that the floor is smooth.

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And for bits that are stuck fast, a hairdryer loosens them that little bit. – Rory Alsop Feb 18 '12 at 21:47
Iterestingly, the two flooring contractors I spoke with (well one was a carpenter), said to leave it. Their reasoning was it would be too much effort to remove it and it could pull up parts of the subfloor (particle board in my house). I'm going to talk to at least one more flooring installer and may do the demo myself to keep down costs – Andrew Feb 26 '12 at 1:16
Hmmm... on Particle board, that's a tough contest. On concrete I would say definitely do it, but on particle board, I'd have a hard time saying definitely. The issue that I run into a lot of times though with wood subfloors and lots of layers of flooring is moisture trapped between the layers. We had to pull up a decent chunk of subfloor in a friend's bathroom today because of the four layers of vinyl. – Karl Katzke Feb 26 '12 at 7:33

Definitely remove the vinyl no matter what the subfloor is. Especially if it is on particle board. Do the job right and don't listen to so-called carpenters giving bad advice and cutting corners. Remove that particle board too and add plywood to get your heights level. You will never be disappointed doing a job the right way!! Good Luck

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I'm surprised no one mentioned asbestos. Apparently it's common in old/70s vinyl flooring. Stirring it up and be a huge health risk. I plan to get take a sample and get it tested

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I wouldn't call it a huge health risk. But leaving asbestos be is a good idea. – Vitaliy Dec 10 '12 at 4:16
Thanks for pointing this out, Andrew. But you should make this a comment instead of an answer. Answers should only be things that address the original question. – Shimon Rura Dec 10 '12 at 4:28

The vinyl is very likely glued to particle board, which is attached to the subfloor (the subfloor can't be particle board because it's not a structural material). This is the way our kitchen was done.

Removing it is fairly simple; make cuts about 2' apart with a circular saw set to cut only through the particle board. You can then pull it up in sections. I would use a "remodeling" blade that is capable of cutting through any nails you might hit.

I definitely recommend to do this; getting the same height will give you a much better result.

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No one believes it until they see it, but it is a 3/4" particle board subfloor, not underlayment. House built in '73. – Andrew Jul 6 '13 at 14:15

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