We are installing new rolled vinyl in an old home. We discovered there is an original layer of vinyl then a layer of plywood (underlayment?)and a second layer of vinyl. How much do we have to remove before putting down the new vinyl?

  • Are you saying that there is another layer of linoleum underneath the wood? That seems strange. Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 13:38
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    @JasonHutchinson - that is pretty normal. Old vinyl installers used to just throw a layer of 3/8" plywood on top of whatever was there.
    – DMoore
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 14:25
  • @DMoore that makes sense. Some of the real old linoleum is nearly impossible to remove and the floors under them aren't ideal for modern vinyl floors. I have some old linoleum under a couple of carpets in my house that just would not come off. I even used a floor scraper with a brand new blade. Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 14:36
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    @JasonHutchinson - Also you have to keep asbestos in mind. When thinking about removing both layers, you may be going into asbestos tiles. Which turns a $200 job into a $2000 job.
    – DMoore
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 14:41
  • @DMoore yeah back then asbestos was a modern marvel and had 1001 uses. It amazing how quickly things changed once it was found to be hazardous. Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 14:48

2 Answers 2


Just the top layer of vinyl. You could remove more if you need to match floor height on adjacent rooms.

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    You just want to make sure that the floor you are installing over is perfectly smooth. The tiniest imperfection in the underlayment will show through the vinyl. I had a lump in my kitchen floor where the installer left a tiny piece of plaster on the floor which ultimately poked right through. I had to carefully pry it out without tearing the vinyl any more and glue it back down. Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 14:30
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    We would normally fill any imperfections with a self-leveler.
    – DMoore
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 14:40
  • The plan was to put down new under layment then the vinyl. I am thinking we have to get rid of the extra layer of old plywod then put down the new plywood and vinyl. It looks like it might be a problem with the baseboard heat and some door frames if we don't.
    – Ms Fitz
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 16:06
  • Is your new vinyl thicker than the old stuff? Is the old stuff too hard to scrape off?
    – DMoore
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 16:12
  • I think it is only a little thicker. We pulled the top layer of vinyl off and are preparing to take out the particle board. We want to leave the original layer of vinyl and put the underlayment over it then the new vinyl. We keep getting different answer on whether that is OK or if we have to remove the oldest vinyl as well.
    – Ms Fitz
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 16:04

You can put down new vinyl over any amount of layers, the only thing to really consider is the height. Of course if it were my house, I would want to get all the old layers up. But sometimes it's nearly impossible to do that.

Floor leveler was mentioned, which is a good product if you removed a small section, and then decided it's just too hard to continue to remove it. (Floor leveler is like a concrete mix: starts as powder, add water, mix well, spread evenly on floor, and let it dry.) Keep in mind if the old vinyl you plan to go over has a textured pattern, you need to 'skim coat' with the floor leveler (or the old pattern will telegraph through) or simply drop a thin subfloor.

But like I said, keep in mind how high you're raising your floor (especially if you have low ceilings). Also use appropriate screws/staples (making sure they were long enough, so you catch more then just the vinyl below). And remember to "skim coat" your plywood seams and screw holes (staple holes generally don't need to be patched, but if you're not sure, it's better to be safe then sorry - just patch it all!).

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