How to Remove Underlayment? (With Pictures)

Flooring contractors routinely remove the underlayment along with floor covering before installing new flooring.

By doing this time is saved and the possibility to install new underlayment that is ideally suited to the new flooring is renewed.

Warning
This method of floor removal causes the release of flooring particles into the air. Be sure the flooring you are removing does not contain asbestos.
Tools and Materials
Gloves
Circular saw with carbide-tipped blade
Flat pry bar
Mallet
Reciprocating Saw
Wood Chisel
Hammer
Dust Mask
Eye and Ear Protection

Steps for Perfection

Adjust the Cutting Depth

Underlayment

Adjust the cutting depth of a circular saw to equal the thickness of your floor covering and underlayment combined. Using Carbide-tipped blade, cut the floor covering and underlayment into squares measuring about 3 feet square. Be sure to wear safety googles and gloves.

Using a Reciprocating Saw

underlayment

Next  you need to extend the cuts to the edges of the walls using a reciprocating saw. Use a slight angle to the floor when holding the blade. Be sure to be careful not to damage the walls. Do not cut past the underlayment. In order to prevent damage to cabinets, use a wood chisel to complete cuts near cabinets.

Separate the Underlayment

Separate the underlayment from the subfloor using a flat pry bar and hammer. Remove and discard the sections of underlayment and floor covering immediately, watching for exposed nails.

Popular Underlayment Products

Silver Pad 3mm Foam Pad

Underlayment

Product: Silver Pad 3mm Foam Pad

Description: Laminate Flooring Pad/ Hardwood Flooring Pad great for reducing Sound when installing hardwood or laminate flooring. Contains plastic outer layer for moisture protection and rubber inner layer for sound control.

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Cork Underlayment 1/2 Inch

Underlayment

Product: Cork Underlayment 1/2 Inch

Description: This product is available in slats of 2×3. Great for dampening sound on an upper or first level. Need to be glued down prior to having a floor installed on it.

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Eco Ultimate Silencer

Underlayment

Product: Eco Ultimate Silencer

Description: This product is an acoustical underlayment with moisture barrier. It is made with recycled granulated rubber tires and high density frothed polyurethane foam using rapidly renewable resources. Contains Ultra-Fresh®, an antimicrobial protection that resists mold and mildew. Provides cushioned comfort under hard laminate flooring. Click me for more info

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Sound Buffer 1.2mm

Underlayment

Product: Sound Buffer 1.2mm

Description: Sound Buffer is a competitively priced, high-value Luxury Vinyl Flooring (LVF) underlayment for glue-down and floating applications that enables full subfloor coverage while soothing impact sound and floor to ceiling noise.  Made from 100% virgin latex rubber, Sound Buffer is CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) certified and residential and commercial rated. Featuring excellent acoustical ratings, Sound Buffer exceeds the standard for high-rise installations. Click me for more info.

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Reference

Stanley, Tracey, Mark Johanson, Charles Patterson, and Betsy Matheson, eds. Black & Decker: The Complete Guide to Flooring: Updated with New Products & Techniques. Minneapolis, MN: Creative Pub. International, 2010.

All photographs in Steps for Perfection done by Joel Schnell.