It used to be the height of fashion, but now your parquet flooring has seen better days. What’s more, you’re beyond ready to replace it. So, should you hire a professional crew and pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get that mess out of your house? I suggest taking the do-it-yourself tack instead. Although it’s not quick, with a little patience and the right tools, you can get rid of that nasty worn down parquet floor on your own.
How to Remove Parquet Flooring
There are many different ways to get rid of parquet flooring. Unless you plan to tear out the whole floor, please be careful when prying up the tiles. It’s easy to gouge subflooring layers. Plus, you’ll waste time and money doing repairs.
Some of these methods are very low tech, which means you don’t need industrial equipment or chemicals to do the job. However, it’s much easier to use equipment designed expressly for parquet removal. Whatever method you choose, you’ll still be spending a substantial chunk of time close to the hated parquet floor.
Luckily, the good news is that removing it yourself is more than merely possible. This is a learning process, and you’ll come out of it with a sense of real accomplishment. Looking at your new flooring will be a real joy once you’ve put in the effort to remove parquet.
Naturally, once you remove the parquet, you need to replace it with better flooring. When you want to keep the look of wood, without the cost of hardwood floors, I recommend using Achim Home Furnishings VFP2.0MH10 Tivoli II peel and stick vinyl floor planks. They’re straightforward to use, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good it looks. To pick yours up from Amazon, click here.
Prepare to Remove
Before you ever pull up a parquet tile, I recommend taking the time to get ready. Gather your removal materials. You’ll need a heat or chemical source to un-bond the glue, plus a sander or a lot of sandpaper. You probably don’t want to sand the floor by hand, even though it’s possible.
Protective gear for your eyes, lungs, and hands is essential. Also, I suggest keeping a crowbar, hammer, putty knife, and chisel within reach. Open up the windows in whatever room you’ll be pulling the floor out of and make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing for getting dirty.
Next, you need to remove all the furniture from the space you’re working in since nothing can sit on the floor while you work. Assuming your parquet was installed correctly, you’ll probably have to remove the baseboards around the room.
If you haven’t done this before, it takes some strength and finesse to leave them intact. Prying the boards away from the wall takes time. Work a small section at a time and loosen down the length of the baseboard instead of trying to leverage the whole board from one side.
Get the baseboards out of the way. Next, you’ll need to use your painters’ tape and drop cloths. Be sure that you cover any doorways to keep dust to a minimum. If you’re removing tile by hand, you can skip this step until after you have the parquet out.
Methods For Removing Parquet Flooring
The trick to getting rid of the parquet floor is all about the adhesive that keeps the tiles in place. I know of eight ways to remove parquet. However, the final two are only for those who have no other possible way to remove the tiles. I don’t recommend them. Still, I included them in case you needed the information.
- Compact Floor Stripper- Professional realtors will be the first to tell you that the best way to remove parquet is to rent an excellent compact floor stripper. As the name implies, it will take the flooring away when appropriately used.
- Heat Gun- A good heat gun can help melt the glue that’s bonding the floor to the parquet squares. However, you need to be careful not to touch a heat gun to your floor, or your hand. The same heat that liquefies glue will leave nasty scars.
- Boiling Water & Towels- Although not as quick as a heat gun, some hot water and towels will transfer heat into that flooring so you can peel it up more easily.
- Chemical Adhesive Remover- If you know what type of adhesive your parquet used, then a bottle of remover might be the best option. Remember to wear eye and hand protection when working with chemicals and make sure there’s proper ventilation in the room.
- White Spirits- This solvent and paint thinner will take most glues and grease off completely. You may need to look for it where you’d buy art supplies instead of household cleaners, depending on how your shop is set up.
- Tar Remover- Tar remover may help loosen up that stubborn, stuck on parquet. Still, I would caution you to avoid mixing any chemicals. When you’ve already used a heavy-duty solvent, don’t add tar remover to the mix.
- Sander & Patience- Anyone planning to use a sander needs a respirator and eye protection. Sawdust will leave a layer on anything, including your lungs. However, with enough patience, you could sand away each square of parquet. I’d only recommend this method if you have days and no better removal method.
- Dry Ice & Chisel (Maybe)- I have yet to try this method, but I understand that placing some dry ice on a tile will freeze the adhesive, allowing you to crack the parquet tiles off the floor more easily.
Parquet Removal Method #1- Machine
Those who have experience with ceramic tile removers may hesitate to remove parquet with a tile stripper. Realistically, that’s a reasonable reaction given how rough it is to use a heavy machine. Machines made to pull ceramic tile use a lot more power, and they’re difficult to work with. Fortunately, compact floor strippers are in a class of their own.
Not only are compact floor strippers lighter, but they will make relatively quick work of your wood-tile floor. Although they’re designed to handle vinyl and laminate, parquet is also in the CFS wheelhouse.
Hand removing tiles is tedious work at best. Though you will still have to work to get that parquet up, using a machine made for the task is far more manageable. Unfortunately, the downside is dust. You will need a mask or other face covering, safety goggles, and I strongly suggest you get painters tape and some plastic drop cloth.
Tape off the area you intend to work in and open all the windows. A small oscillating fan will help you move the dusty air out but don’t skip the face covering. Even if it’s hot where you live, your lungs can’t handle that level of dust.
Another great way to keep the look of wood, without the outdated parquet is with click-locking laminate flooring planks like the outstanding Dekorman 1551 Latte Birch from Amazon. Snapping your flooring together is satisfying and fast. To learn more, click here.
Parquet Removal Method #2- Heat Gun
So long as you heed the safety warnings, a heat gun can get the parquet to let go of your floor. Like an iron or stovetop, heat guns predictably get extremely hot. You need to make sure you have a safe place, within reach, to set the gun down periodically.
When working with my heat gun at home, I find that a pair of old, loose, ceramic tiles are ideal. They sit comfortably on most surfaces and keep the heat from scorching floors or tables. Luckily, using the gun is as easy as avoiding burns.
Aim your heat gun at a tile you want to remove. It’s best if you start in one corner and work your way outward in a systematic manner because you won’t have to pry edges apart once you have a tile or two removed. Moreover, it’s essential to avoid touching the floor with the heat gun. Maintain about two to three inches distance between the tip and the surface you’re working on.
Hold your heat gun steady and aim at one spot. The warmth will spread and melt the adhesive on its own. Once you have loosened the bond, it’s time to start pulling up your parquet tile. The first one is usually the most difficult because it begins flush with the rest of the floor.
After that, you have an edge to work with, so you can get your putty knife or pry bar underneath the tiles to lift. You can use your heat gun under the half-pried tiles to continue loosening them as your work.
While the crowbar or hammer is a great way to start loosening, the putty knife will be your go-to. Use it in short firm strokes, and keep your angle consistent to avoid gouging the floor.
Parquet Removal Method #3- Hot Towel
Using hot water and towels is one of the more difficult ways to remove parquet flooring. However, the process itself is very simple. Boil a small amount of water until it’s rolling. Dunk your towels and squeeze the excess out. Then you simply place the folded up hot, damp towels over the flooring to loosen the glue.
Everything else is the same as removing tiles any other way. You pry up the newly loosened tiles by working from one corner outward. Because water will warp the wood, this is a method for someone who merely wants to tear and remove all the tile. You may not be able to salvage as much if any using hot towels.
Whatever method you use to get rid of the lousy parquet, you’ll need a great new floor when you finish. Installing easy to clean wood laminate is a breeze. Plus, it comes in so many styles and colors you’ll feel like you have a whole new room. However, if you want to do it right, you’ll need a REXBETI Laminate Wood Flooring Installation Kit. I picked mine up from Amazon, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This kit cut my install time in half, and it looked nicer when I was done as well. Get yours right here.
Parquet Removal Method #4- Using Chemicals
To use any chemical agent that dissolves adhesives in removing flooring, you need to be cautious. This is where it becomes vital to use sturdy, waterproof gloves. Plus, you need a real mask with a filter. Not only do you want to avoid inhaling fumes, but keeping the chemicals off your skin is vital. It’s not worth getting sick.
There are three different options for parquet adhesive dissolving. Each one is effective, but it’s up to you which one you want to use. I’ll walk you through the choices.
The same tar removers that work on cars can help with your parquet. Unfortunately, it depends on how your flooring was applied. Bitumen is traditional, but a more recently installed floor may use a modern adhesive. However, a great option like Goo Gone or a similar product. Follow al the instructions on the packaging to properly apply your remover.
Because white spirits do not have much water content, they’re ideal for parquet removal with little damage. The fumes will evaporate quickly from your removed boards. However, you should be careful not to confuse white spirits with turpentine.
Turpentine is made from tree resin extract. Alternately white spirits are a petroleum product. Though they can serve similar functions, they are different products. Since you find both with painting supplies, this is an easy mistake to make. Read the labels.
Equally important, white spirits tend to be less flammable and toxic than turpentine. Though you should never have open flames or sources of sparks when working with chemicals, it’s still a nice bonus when you can lower your risks further.
Especially if you happen to know what was used to bond your parquet to the subfloor, an adhesive solvent is a great option. As much as they tend to smell, specific adhesive solvents are also highly effective.
You may need to try more than one to find the right remover. I suggest testing only individual tile squares. Mixing solvents is never a good idea, and you don’t want to create an adverse chemical reaction accidentally.
Parquet Removal Method #5- Sanding Alone
As the parquet is made from wood, you could opt to sand it down to nothing. However, I would not suggest using this method even if you have an outstanding sander. Not only will you need a massive quantity of sandpaper, but the mess alone should be a deterrent.
That fact that something is technically possible doesn’t make it a good plan. Sawdust is extremely flammable, and it’s incredibly bad for your lungs, eyes, and skin. Plus, a sander will have a tough time on bitumen. Even if it cuts through modern adhesive well, it would then be creating dust out of dangerous chemicals.
Parquet Removal Method #6- Dry Ice
Handling dry ice is dangerous in its own way. You need gloves for your hands, and even so, you can get frostbite if you hold it too long. Plus, you need to ventilate and make sure you aren’t leaning over the dry ice for too long. It can cause suffocation.
You can’t place dry ice directly on the floor. Some home improvement gurus recommend using a thin aluminum pan like a cookie tray, while others say parchment or wax paper is better to cover the tile.
Arrange your dry ice on the paper or tray and leave it there. Insulate it by covering it with a towel. Then all you need is to wait. A few minutes is enough, and sometimes the tiles will make a noise as they pop off the floor. The shrinking adhesive simply doesn’t hold to the floor anymore.
Sometimes there’s just no way to make the time or space in your budget for parquet removal. If you need a temporary fix so you can sell the house or live with old parquet a while longer, the repair is also an option. It will still take time and the right tools, but you can mend the flooring.
First, you need to find any loose tiles and stick them back down with the appropriate glue. Use the same type as the original installer used to avoid chemical reactions and ugly results. The same goes for any spots where part of the tile has come loose.
Next, you need to sand down any rough spots in your parquet. Repairing gaps in the wood used to be much more difficult, but these days you can use a basic floor filler. Spread it evenly and let it dry per the instructions. After that, you’ll need to sand again so that everything is even and smooth. Finally, you’ll want to wax or polish that newly repaired parquet.
If you love your parquet flooring, then you should fix and maintain it. Otherwise, it’s high time you upgraded to a more modern flooring option.
Take your time removing parquet flooring. Not only will the results be much better, but it’s satisfying. Plus, you can probably pay for part of your new flooring by selling those old tiles online if you remove them gently. Hence, getting new floors at a fraction of the cost of hiring professionals and paying for removal and installation.
Putting in new vinyl or laminate flooring yourself isn’t terribly difficult. You should be able to complete most rooms in a day and say goodbye forever to that old, funky parquet.