How To Remove Epoxy Flooring? (5-Step Guide)

Epoxy flooring is a great option to make your floors look better, protect the concrete in your garage, and boost the value of your home. But if you want to remove an existing layer of epoxy, you will need to scrape, grind, or use special solvents to successfully remove it all.

What You Need To Know About Removing Epoxy Flooring

Removing epoxy is a process that involves manual and chemical removal techniques. If you have visible areas that are peeling, then a simple scraping technique will suffice. If the existing epoxy isn’t already peeling, then you will need to add a chemical solvent to help remove the epoxy.

Concrete grinders are an efficient way to remove old epoxy flooring, but they can easily damage the concrete underneath, so it’s usually a better idea to leave this method to a professional unless you are experienced in using this heavy-duty machinery. 

Since epoxy is such a durable adhesive, it is going to take a lot of elbow grease to remove it. Expect to repeat the removal process more than once if you want to completely remove your old epoxy flooring.

Supplies You’ll Need For Removing Epoxy Flooring

  • Solvent (Isopropyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, acetone, or lacquer thinner)
  • Long handled scraper
  • Fiber Mop
  • Fan
  • Broom
  • Vacuum
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Respirator
  • Heavy-duty contractor bags

How To Remove Epoxy Flooring With Solvents And Scraping (5 Steps)

Step 1: Clean Your Flooring And Prep The Room

Prep your flooring by sweeping away all of the dirt and grime that is present. Then use a vacuum to suck up any particulates that you may have missed. Take your time during this process because leftover dirt or oils can make your solvents less effective.

This is a good time to set up a fan or open windows to reduce the amount of fumes that you will be exposed to. Stripping agents are notorious for irritating eyes, skin, and lungs, so it’s important to wear long clothing, eye protection, gloves, and a respirator.

Step 2: Choose And Apply Your Solvent

There are plenty of stripping solutions and solvents on the market that will make scraping the epoxy off of your floor easier. Some of the most popular solvents include isopropyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, acetone, or lacquer thinner. These are among the stronger stripping agents that will reduce the amount of time you will spend scraping.

Pour your chosen solvent into a large metal bowl or basin that is approved for holding these types of chemicals.

Using your fiber mop, apply an even layer to your epoxy flooring. Be sure to start in a corner opposite your garage door so that you don’t trap yourself!

Step 3: Give The Solvent Time To Work

The key to this step is patience. Some stripping agents work faster than others, but it is very important not to rush this process. Consult the directions on the back of your chosen solvent to find out how long you need to wait. Some will take effect within a couple of hours, and others may take up to 24 hours to work.

Once you exit the room, you can turn off the fan so that it doesn’t cause the solvent to dry before it has time to do its job.

Step 4: Scrape Away The Epoxy

Once the solvent has had ample time to break down the epoxy, it is time to start scraping. Using a long-handled metal scraper, start scraping up the epoxy in areas where it has started to peel. Don’t fret if you can’t scrape all of the epoxy in one go, you can repeat the process to get these areas clean. 

Make sure you have heavy-duty contractor bags to dispose of the old epoxy because it is heavy enough to rip through standard trash bags.

Step 5: Repeat Steps 2-4 Until The Floor Is Clean

Congratulations if you were able to remove all of the epoxy in one go! If not, just reapply your solvent to the areas that are tougher to remove, give them time to work, and rescrape. Don’t get discouraged, as it may take 2 or 3 passes to remove all of the epoxy from your floor.

Final Thoughts

Removing old epoxy from your flooring will take a few days to complete, but following these easy steps will ensure that you are successful in your efforts. Obtain the necessary supplies, apply the necessary solvent, wait for the solvent to work, and scrape away the old epoxy.

Meet your Flooring Expert

Travis McCullough

Travis McCullough

Travis is a lifelong jack-of-all-trades in the construction industry with 20 years of experience in a variety of fields. He’s tackled flooring, carpentry, and everything in between on residential and commercial projects of all shapes and sizes.
Working independently and as part of a crew has equipped him with the know-how to not only complete a project but also teach others the finer points within most building professions. When he isn’t out hanging off of a ladder or crawling around on a roof, Travis spends his time educating people about the construction industry.

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