How to Remove Epoxy Flooring
At some point you may want to remove epoxy flooring from your kitchen, basement, or garage, to change the color or replace it due to wear. Follow the procedure outlined below to remove epoxy flooring safely and with little difficulty from a space in your home.
Step 1 - Determine If Your Epoxy Floor is Solvent or Water-Based
Take a small sample of your epoxy floor to a building center to find out whether it is solvent or water-based. This will determine the type of stripping solution you should buy.
Step 2 - Purchase the Stripping Solution
Epoxy is meant to be durable. Therefore you’ll need to select the proper product to remove it. You can use either water-based epoxy stripper on water-based epoxy, or if you are highly sensitive to volatile compounds, choose a soy-based, environmentally friendly epoxy stripper that emits low levels of fumes. You could also skip the strippers and grind down the epoxy with a carbide-tipped rotary tool.
Step 3 - Prepare the Floor for Stripping
Remove all furnishings, wall hangings, and window coverings from the room to prevent them from being splashed with stripper or absorbing chemical fumes. Sweep the floor surface thoroughly and then vacuum to remove any dust, dirt, or flakes from the topcoat of the epoxy floor. Have the windows and doors in the area open to ventilate the room. Put on rubber gloves, eye goggles, and a painter's mask.
Step 4 - Apply the Stripper
Pour on or spray on the epoxy floor stripping solution, starting in the farthest corner from the exit doorway. Cover each measured area of about 4X4 feet at a time. Use a string or fiber mop, not a sponge rubber type, to spread the stripping solution over the floor. Distribute the stripping solution all over the floor evenly.
Step 5 - Seal the Room to Let Stripper Soak
Close the doors and windows tightly, and seal off the room so that the stripping solution can soak into and dissolve the old epoxy for at least 24 hours, or as recommended on the container of stripping solution.
Step 6 - Peel off the Old Epoxy Layer
Open up the doorways and windows again, and put an electric fan in the room pointed toward a window to vent off the fumes. Put on your protective eye and hand coverings and a fresh painter's mask. Using the long-handled metal scraper, push off the layer of epoxy flooring starting at one edge of the room and moving toward the door. Clear off a row at a time, twice the width of the scraper blade. Using the shovel, scoop the waste epoxy into trash bags and discard it safely.
Step 7 - Re-soak Stubborn Epoxy
If sections of epoxy will not come off the floor, soak these parts again overnight with the stripping solution, and scrub them the next morning with a brush with stiff wire bristles.
Step 8 - Rinse and Vacuum the Floor
When all the epoxy has been removed, rinse the floor with cool water and vacuum it up with a shop-vac. Then allow the floor to dry completely.