Floor Removal: How Much is Too Much?

Published: 16/6, 2023

By Dave Bigham, Global Director of Training,

National Flooring Equipment


Typically, flooring is removed for aesthetic reasons — like to match a company’s particular style or branding. For example, well known coffee shops require the same style of floor in each chain to ensure consistency. In homes and offices, the style of floor is typically decided by what’s is currently trending or to match the rest of the interior’s décor.

While it is common for contractors to remove some concrete along with the floor covering, it’s often small enough to go unnoticed. Still, major concrete damage can happen, contractors should understand when concrete requires repair and how to do it effectively.

The success of the new floor relies heavily on how contractors prepare the substrate. If concrete is left uneven, any floor laid on top cannot sit correctly and will need to be ripped up so that the substrate can be fixed. This adds time, creates unnecessary waste, and makes the job far more expensive than needed.


Concrete Hardness

The hardness of concrete can sometimes be a factor in the level of damage seen during floor removal. Natural materials make up 70% of concrete mixture, and can vary based on the environment. For example, areas such as Tennessee and Ohio, where aggregate is made up of hard rocks like granite and quartzite, often have harder concrete compared to sandstone and limestone used in Florida and Texas. Other factors that affect concrete hardness include curing techniques, levels of hydration, and mineral additives in the mixture.

That means the degree of pressure the contractor uses affects the level of damage left behind. In areas with softer concrete, a lighter hand is needed to remove flooring and avoid removing chunks of concrete underneath. Before doing the job, contractors can visit the site and conduct a patch test — removing a small portion of flooring to assess the best method of removal, and get an idea of the concrete hardness ahead of time.

In most situations, concrete damage is due to tooling choice, rather than machine. If tools are used too aggressively or in the wrong way, contractors have to go back and repair it. It’s also not always just the type of flooring being removed that’s the issue. Older materials like asbestos adhesive requires specific PPE to avoid inhaling harsh chemicals, as well as heavy-duty tools to remove any excess residue, which can damage to the concrete underneath.


Repairing concrete damage

Once concrete has been damaged, there are a few ways contractors can repair the surface ready for new flooring to be laid on top. Adding a concrete topping or overlay can even out any dents or rivets, ensuring the new flooring can lay flat. This method is often used when large sections of the floor are damaged and need repair.

Alternatively, floor patches are particularly useful when only small parts of the floor are not level, to smooth out the uneven areas. However, floor patches are never as hard as regular psi concrete strength, so it’s common for these to be removed or damaged during future floor removal. Floor patches are difficult to see or aren’t always bonded correctly to the original concrete and therefore will need to be replaced before new flooring is laid down.

Just like choosing the right priming tool can improve a wall’s finish, knowing which tooling to use on each floor will ensure the concrete underneath is left intact. Even in situations where the concrete is affected, there are methods to prep the surface and avoid any imperfections to the floor once new material has been laid down.


See all news »

Cookies and Data Collection

This website is using cookies. A cookie is a small text file that the website requests to store locally on the visitor's computer. It contains a certain amount of information and a timestamp.

Cookies on this website

Temporary Cookies

We use temporary cookies ("sessions") in order to provide a functioning website. These cookies only contains a unique identifier and a timestamp, while any personal data is stored on our server. These cookies expires within one hour, and will be automatically deleted when you exit your webbrowser.

Less temporary cookies

In order to remember wether you have accepted cookies or not, we need to store a cookie containing a timestamp and a code. If you log in as a user on our website, you are also able to select wether you want to remain logged in or not. In case you decide to remain logged in, we will store another cookie on yuor device, also containing a code and a timestamp. No personal data is saved in these cookies. These cookies will expire and be automatically deleted within 30 days of your last visit, and you can delete them manually from within the webbrowser's settings.

Cookie for Google Analytics

We use Google Analytics in order to improve our vistor's experience on our website. We do not save PII (Personally Identifiable Information) using Google Analytics. To read more about the cookies stored, read more at Google Developers.

Inactivation of cookies

If you do not wish to accept cookies from our website (or others), you may turn it off in your webbrowsers security/privacy settings. You can also let your browser inform you each time a website tries to store a cookie, or choose to remove cookies that has already been stored.

See your browsers help pages in order to find out more on how to change these settings (the instructions will differ depending on what browser, operating system and what versions you are using).

Data Collection & Data Storage

The website may use Google Analytics and similar services to collect data about your visit on this website. No personal data is stored, only information about the visit itself, such as link clicks, page views, how long a certain page has been viewed and similar. The information can be used by us to analyze how visitors use our website, as well as to improve and optimize content and functionality on the website in the future. The information may also be used by Google (or an equivalent provider) to optimize information and ads, so that you receive more relevant/personalized search results or ads in the provider's other services.


This website use cookies
This website use cookies and data gathering to bring you the best possible experience.
You must accept this in order to get access to our content. - Read more »

Accept all Only necessary