removing tiles with a floor scraping machine

Scraping ensures you have a smooth and clear floor that is ready for resurfacing.

Before laying down new flooring, it's always essential to remove all the grit and unwanted materials. This could be the carpet glue, paint, carpet underlay, and that on the floor surface that has been there for a long time. It could also be stubborn dirt or grease on wood floors, industrial or commercial environments, or sometimes replacing tiles.

 

using a floor scraping machine

 

What is A Floor Scraper?

A floor scraper is a valuable tool that uses a blade specially designed to help remove sheet vinyl, linoleum, bonded carpet, woodblock, tiles, and other unwanted materials from the floor. The scraper works at an angle to easily dislodge all the adhesive and old materials from the floor, leaving a clean, smooth surface.

While it's possible to remove old flooring in a smaller area such as a small office or residential area using hand scrapers, it's not that easy and will consume hours of your precious time. A self-propelled walk-behind power floor scraper will save you time and get 10X better results.

Understanding Floor Scrapers

There are various types of floor scrapers: Handheld, Walk-behind, and ride-on floor scrapers.

  • A handheld scraper is best suited for a small DIY project
  • Walk-behind scrapers are best suited for small home and office jobs
  • Ride-on floor scrapers are ideal for medium to large jobs, especially in commercial properties.

Operating a Power Floor Scraper

Using a walk-behind or ride-on floor scraper is really simple, and you'll be working like a pro in no time! (with basic instruction)

While most ride-on scrapers are powered by a propane tank or batteries, there are a few options that can be plugged into a wall.

For safety, clear a path ahead of you. This includes debris, furniture, and everything on your machine's way. Before you can even start your surface scraper, here are a few things you should do:

  • Inspect your equipment for any defects or damages
  • Install the proper scraper blade for the job.
  • Adjust wheels and handles to your liking for safe & comfortable operation.
  • Start your power scraper and move at a consistent pace. The blade should push through the flooring 'peeling off' and removing all the material.

Experiment With Different Blade Pitches

The blade pitch is one of the most critical factors when working with a power scraper. If your blade pitch is not well leveled, you could end up gouging the slab, potentially damaging the floor or your scraper.

You have to try different pitches multiple times for better results depending on the floor and how tough certain areas are to remove. Try out a few different combinations to see which works best for the surface that you're working on.

If the scraper blade keeps on just skimming over the surface instead of getting under the flooring to the concrete subfloor, you may have a dull blade that needs to be changed out. Otherwise, if the blade is still new, you have to keep adjusting the angle of the blade to get a deeper cut.'

See our article on removing tiles from a concrete floor.

Work In A Pattern

Don't just get in and get going.

When working without a pattern, you spend a lot of time thinking about where to work next or the spot you might have missed earlier on. Depending on the configuration of the room, it might not always be possible to follow a pattern.

 

scraping machine in action

Watch out for expansion joints and stick-ups.

The one thing you want to avoid at all costs is slamming right into an expansion joint and getting your blade stuck, or worse, damaging it.

Before you begin removal, walk around the room/property and circle the stick-ups with a marker or something noticeable that you can see when operating the floor scraper. This makes it easy to work right up beside the stick-ups without risking damage to your scraper.

"removing carpet staples."

Most of the staples, especially for hardwood flooring, might have to be removed using a smaller scraper or diagonal cutters. This will remove the entire staple rather than just one side of it.

Clean Debris As You Move

Almost everyone prefers to clean up after they are done working.

However, the cleaner the things are, the easier for you to perfectly remove the old flooring. Having extra hands to sweep the debris into a pile helps for easy clean-up at the end of the job. It also prevents the tile litter from slipping under the machine and causing bumpy rides. This could alter how your blade sits on the ground, making the removal less effective in some cases.

Depending on the type of material or flooring you are removing, sweeping can save you tons of money in repair costs. For example, tile shards can damage your scraper wheels, and they can really be expensive to repair.

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Bottom Line:

While there are many things to learn about using a floor scraper, the following four tips will help you be more productive on your first day. So, if it's your first time working with a power floor scraper, here are a few key takeaways for you:

  1. Gloves and a face mask are great! The hand gloves will protect your hands when moving away from the flooring debris when dealing with carpet staples and stick-ups.
  2. The difference between manual removal using a handheld scraper and removal with a power floor scraper is distinct, clear, and 10x better!
  3. Take time to think through the removal process before starting. What pattern will you use? Are there any stick-ups? Are there any extra tools needed?