How to remove tongue & groove flooring

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you want to remove tongue and groove flooring to replace it with an updated material or you want to salvage the flooring to do some repairs to the subfloor, it is possible to remove the existing flooring without destroying the wood. With any house, pulling up the flooring to fix damage underneath the flooring is essential to do as soon as you notice it to prevent the damage from spreading. You may also remove tongue and groove flooring if an isolated area becomes damaged and needs replacement.

Draw a line down each of the boards that need to be removed due to damage. This will ensure you use your saw on the designated boards and not damage surrounding pieces.

Center your circular saw blade on the pencil line you drew. Make sure you adjust the depth of your saw so that it only goes through the wood flooring and won't hit the subflooring. Move the saw down slowly after turning it on. Continue until your saw base plate is flush with the flooring. Push the saw up the entire length of your pencil markings.

Create your end cuts into the damaged wood flooring with a utility knife. Score the floor board perpendicular to your saw cuts. Place your chisel into the newly made groove at an angle and gently tap it with the hammer until you cut through the board.

Pull up the floorboards once you made your cuts. If you have narrow planks, you may be able to pull up the boards by hand. If you have wider board, you can use a pry bar to pull up the planks without damaging the surrounding boards.

Pull up all the boards with a pry bar if you intend to replace the entire floor. Be sure to remove any floor baseboards before removing the floor to prevent damage to your decorative moulding.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • Utility knife
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
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