Hardwood Floor Removal Tool – Step by Step Guide

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So you are thinking about replacing your hardwood floors? Did you just move in? Or have you been there a while? Have the floors seen better days? While you are thinking of redoing your floors it might be time to think about a whole room change up. But we can talk about new furniture, wall colors, and lighting a little later.

Here let’s focus on those hardwood floors. What kind are they now? Some people like cherry, some people like mahogany; others enjoy bamboo or driftwood grey. Are you planning on putting a rug down later? Is there a rug anywhere in the room, now? Just some things to consider as you make this transition. But honestly, sometimes changing just one thing about a room, like replacing the hardwood floors, is enough to breathe a whole other life into it.

By grounding the room with a sturdy floor, you change each level of elevation in that room. The sunlight spills through the windows a little differently. Yes, those nooks, nicks, and dusty shadows that maim your current floors are reminders of the life that has been lived across it.

If you listen, you can hear the tap, tap, tap, of a low stiletto gliding across the floor, and you see the shape of a woman’s silhouette mirrored in its shine before you even turn around. What was the occasion? If you are quiet you can hear the softest step that echoed through the room when the baby learned to walk.

Change is hard. You have to rip up the floor board by board, then scrape the glue underneath. It is messy. There will be sweat and burning muscles in your body. It won’t be easy. If you want easy, buy a new rug to throw over the floor and carry on.

But if you want a new foundation, and decide a new floor is your true north direction.

Then continue reading to find out how it is done.

When to Remove Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors last a lifetime, depending on how well they are maintained. But for those floors that have taken mistreatment, the time is now. To ensure the quality of your new foundation, taking up the old floor correctly is as important as laying new hardwood floors down.

Tool Introduction

Before you begin, make sure you have the tools you need.

Circular Saw:

The very first thing you need when you remove an existing hardwood floor is a circular saw. You will need this to cut into the floor. The recommended circular saw is the Kobalt 24-Volt Max 6-1/2-in Cordless Circular Saw. The cordless feature can be an important safety feature on any job. The brand is trusted by professionals and DIY homeowners. Additionally, Kobalt is bringing some pretty great programs to your local communities, through Generation T. It is a program that encourages trade schools and mentors to train a whole new generation of tradesmen and tradeswomen. Kobalt is encouraging anyone with experience in the industry to get involved.

Chisel:

Hardwood floor removal is a lot like sculpting, you’ll need a chisel to uncover and create beauty. The chisel will help you push through glue, or get into a tight space.

Sledge Hammer:

Removing hardwood floor is a tough job. There may be times you will need something to burst things when nothing else makes progress.

Claw Hammer:

Something every homeowner or renter should have already is the claw hammer. You will be using this tool to grab, pull, and rip floor panels. The ones next to the wall area are the hardest to get up. We recommend the Stanley Black and Decker Claw Hammer for its durability, and worldwide reputation of offering innovative solutions to their customers from every background and walk of life.

Floor Scraper:

When you pull a floor panel up there is going to be leftover dry glue. To remove the glue use a floor scraper.

Pry Bar:

The pry bar is a little stronger than the claw hammer alone. In tougher jobs, you can use the two together to pull up stuck on floor panels. We recommend the craftsman 3 piece Curved Pry Bar Set with the Strike Cap Handle. Craftsman has decades of experience producing high-quality affordable tools that stand the test of time.

Clothes and Workwear:

Eyes safety is always important; you don’t want shards of wood flying into your sensitive eyeballs. Buy Goggles.

Avoid blisters, was it mentioned yet that this is a tough job? If you do not wear gloves, you will get splinters and blisters. Save yourself some agony and get gloves.

You will be around power tools. Protect your ears with noise-canceling earphone. Also, they are great for later use anytime you want some quiet. Wear close-toed shoes, jeans, and long sleeves.

Tarps:

You will need plastic tarps to cover any furniture or neighboring floors. The wood chips tend to travel far, and instead of cleaning the entire house a tarp will help you eliminate that tedious step afterward. It is not recommended to hide your team member’s dead body; as a forewarning, you will get in each other’s way. Have patience and snacks.

Floor Tape: 

This will mark your boundaries.

A Friend:

You will want a partner for this job unless you have some serious aggression issues to work out. Then, by all means, take exactly what you need. But it will be labor intensive regardless of help. Having someone to make you laugh through the frustration is not a bad idea.

Snacks:

Carbs and protein friend. May I suggest a sub sandwich?

The Foundation: French or Italian bread, ham, salami, roasted turkey, roasted beef, Provolone, Swiss, and cheddar cheese.

The Toppings:  dark virgin olive oil, stone ground mustard, banana peppers, then add hot sauce for spice.

Water: 

You are going to be doing physical labor. Hydrate those muscles with H20, and if the weather is hot do not forget electrolytes.

Step By Step:

Read everything first before you begin

  1. Identify the flooring you want to remove and tape off boundaries
  2. Remove any sensitive electronics such as gaming systems, echoes, and TVs.
  3. Lay down tarps to control dust and debris, you may use the tape to help secure the tarps.
  4. Set the depth of the saw to the same thickness as the hardwood so you do not cut into the subfloor beneath.
  5. Cut the boards into small sections, roughly 3 feet wide. Avoid sawing over the tongue end of the board.
  6. Use a pry bar to pull up the boards. Insert the end of the pry bar underneath the section of flooring you just sawed into. Then pull back quickly on the handle to uproot the board from its original place.
  7. Repeat this process until the entire floor has been removed.

Quick Hack: The Honey Badger Demo Fork

The Honey Badger Demo Fork is a relatively new product on the market. It was introduced as a product to purchase in 2016, when founder Corey Kostman of Troy, KS decided that his father’s invention was a market need. It saves hundreds of hours in manpower. It is easy to use and affordable for the average home DIYer, but tough enough for a demo on a professional job site.

The Honey Badger is extremely versatile as it can perform the job of multiple tools. The tool is as tall as a rake and resembles a garden plow. Only it can demo flooring, roofing, frames, and cabinets, not just plow the soil.

The tool gives a demolition team the advantage of a sharp leading edge, added momentum, extra weight, the perfect angle, and great leverage to get the job done faster. It saves your back and time in the long run.

The Honey Badger Demo Fork has been used successfully in demos of multi-layer roofs; siding, hardwood flooring, decking, window frames, door frames, vents, plaster, lathe, tile, composition shingles, trim, metal sheeting, framing, sub-flooring, wood shingles, sheetrock, bathroom fixtures, kitchen fixtures, cement board, cabinetry, and tack strips.

The Honey Badger is made in the USA, and is family owned and operated.

The Honey Badger will save you some time and energy, but do not forget to wear the above mentioned protective wear, bring a sandwich, and grab your friend. Change is good, so celebrate the change and the accomplishment of doing a job well done.

Problem Solving

  • Some wood is historically more difficult to get up than others. If you are dealing with hardwoods such as alder, hickory, mahogany, oak, and walnut you may find you will have extra difficulty.
  • Furthermore, softwoods such as juniper, spruce, redwood, and cedar come with unique challenges.
  • To prevent splintering and cracking pull up the boards in the same direction that they are nailed down.
  • If the boards will not budge use the chisel. Strike the chisel at an angle where the board meets the subfloor.
  • If the chisel does not work, strike the top of the floorboards with the sledgehammer, then try again. Use your force, but the hammer will do most of the work for you.
  • If the sledge hammer does not work use the circular saw to cut the boards into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • If that does not work, go eat a snack and come back to it later.

Tool Storage

So you are all done with your hardwood floor removal tools. Now what? You want to be sure they are kept in a safe place so they can be used again. We recommend going with the DeWalt (DWST17806) Tstak Tool Box, Deep. It will fit all of your most useful tools and you can lock it, lock sold separately.

DeWalt has a long and rich history that started in 1922 when Raymond DeWalt perfected the first woodworking machine intending to increase versatility and productivity. DeWalt engineers redefine what is possible by taking feedback directly from their users. They stay up to date with the latest technology to get more use out of their tools and take Jobsite challenges head-on. The company is a leader in tool innovation who wants to hear from its users. They encourage user idea submissions for improvements to existing tools and new inventions.

DeWalt not only has an impressive line of tool storage it also offers an assortment of tools and accessories that include hand tools, power tools, outdoor equipment, accessories, and protective workwear.

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