Vinyl tile installation – remove or install on top of existing vinyl?

Vinyl tile installation – remove or install on top of existing vinyl?

I’ve got a small closet in my 1985 condo that contains the water heater, HVAC, and W/D. I’m trying to figure out the best way to get a new floor in there. The existing floor seems to be vinyl tile on top of sheet vinyl, on top of a thin plywood underlayment (in the first photo, you can see the exposed and peeling bottom layer of vinyl where the broom is – this is where the W/D sits so isn’t normally exposed). There are areas where both of the existing vinyl layers are peeling up and/or warped a bit (presumably due to the temperature and humidity conditions in this room).

I’d like to lay new peel-and-stick vinyl tile (since that seems easiest…), but I’m not sure what to do with the existing floor. I figure my options are (from least to most thorough):

  1. Just prep and lay on top of existing floor. To properly do this, would need to somehow secure the peeling layers back down to the underlayment – that seems like it might be really difficult!
  2. Remove existing vinyl. This sounds doable with heat and perhaps chemical solvents, but would need to be careful of potential asbestos? Then new floor goes on the existing plywood underlayment.
  3. Remove ALL of it, inc plywood underlayment, and add new underlayment + new floor. This seems most challenging because it would require removal of all the staples in the underlayment, and then getting new UL in there

A particular challenge will be dealing with the drain pipe you can see in the photos – it doesn’t look to me like it’d be possible to disconnect without cutting it. I can lift it up 1/4″ or so, which would give me enough room to work at getting out the existing vinyl, but would especially make installing new UL a total bear. That’s why I lean toward option #2.


warped vinyl top layer
drain pipe

For answers to this, check out the original post…

* This article was originally published here

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