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How do I remove the glue from old floors for sanding?

Answered by Brett ~ April 21, 2010 ~ 2 Comments » | Respond to this question

I have a 80 year old house with good oak hard wood floors. The previous owner had glue on commercial carpets on these floors. I want to remove this carpet and refinish the floors. Question is how do I remove the glue to clear the floor for sanding?

Patel ~ Bristol, Virginia

Brett Kulina

When remodeling an old house, there is nothing more satisfying than peeling away some old carpeting and discovering a beautiful wood floor underneath. As is the case with your floor Patel, you may have to look past the old carpet glue or a crumbly carpet pad to see the beauty of the underlying wood, but trust me, its there. Restoring the luster of a newly-discovered wood floor is not always easy, but it is always worth it!

There are two ways to remove the carpet glue from your oak floors. If the glue is thin and brittle, sanding it off might be an viable option. The only problem with sanding old carpet glue is that you will use lots of sandpaper, because the glue will stick to the sand paper and glaze over the paper's grit, which then forces you to use a new piece of sand paper. This can get expensive if you are sanding a large area. If you start sanding, and the glue is not separating from the wood, but is actually being pressed into the grain of the wood floor, stop sanding!

My preferred method of removing old carpet glue is to use a chemical adhesive remover, such as Sentinel 747, which is a quality product that is easy to use. There are plenty of other adhesive removal products that will help remove the old glue, but keep in mind that some of these products are toxic, flammable, or produce noxious fumes when used. A good adhesive removal product should soften the old glue just enough so that it can be scraped off with a sharp putty knife, but should not disolve the glue to the point that it stains the wood floor underneath. This is why it is important to test all products on a small, discreet area of the floor before you begin.

Once you find a method that is successfully removing the old glue without damaging the underlying wood, then all it takes is hard work and patience. Good luck and I hope you enjoy your new wood floor!

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