Removing glue from subfloor

Q: I removed glued down engineered hardwood and some glue was left. I am replacing the old floor with stapled down engineered wood. Do I need to remove all glue residue and if so, what is the best way to go about removing glue from subfloor?

A: There are adhesive removers, but if there is a lot to remove that won’t work given the cost. You are probably going to need a sharp chisel, a hammer and a pair of knee pads to remove enough that the floor is reasonably smooth.

Messy product to remove glue doesn’t work that well

Q: I have wood glue deposits all over my subfloor. I tried putting a product on it to dissolve the glue, however, it’s extremely messy and it doesn’t even work that well. I tried sanding it and it’s gumming up the sandpaper. What do you recommend? I’m putting a floating vinyl floor. I’m going to install a 3mm Pergo underlayment on top of the floor.

A: If it was a small amount of adhesive on a finished floor install I would suggest an adhesive remover from Bostik. Some flooring retailers carry their products. But this sounds like a lot of adhesive from a previous installation. Hammer and chisel on hands and knees? There are floor scrapers you could probably buy from Home Depot which come with replaceable blades. Even if you can get it fairly smooth you could then opt to cover it with 1/4″ poplar sheeting or even 1/8″ mahogany just to give you a smooth surface to work on.

Better to remove floor and subfloor?

Similar (Earlier!) Q: We want to remove a Bruce maple 3/8th inch hardwood floor that someone adhered to the subfloor with a glue or mastic. I have used a hammer and chisel. There is 1000 square feet to remove. I was thinking it might be easier to cut it out all together including the sub floor and start over. If we remove the wood and then end up with this glue all over the subfloor, I don’t think we can get the glue up to have a nice clean surface for the new wood…

A: I think you are probably right in your assessment. For the amount of slugging it will take to remove 1000 feet of this engineered floor and then have to rent a special machine to claw off the adhesive, you would be well ahead of the game to just cut it in sections right through the sub floor and start over. A bonus to this is you can check the joists for being level and if any shimming needs to be done you could take care of that too.

Do we have to remove the glue? x2

Related Q: Does glue need to be removed from the subflooring before the felt pad is laid underneath the hardwood flooring?

A: Well, I don’t know what flooring you are installing but in any case the sub floor needs to be fairly flat without significant lumps, ridges, etc.

Related Q: I am preparing to install a new 3/4 inch unfinished oak floor in a kitchen, dining room and hallway. I have removed an old laminate wood floor that was installed about 15 years ago. There is some residual adhesive left behind on the subfloor. Can I install over that left behind adhesive?

A: You can install over it provided it is smooth without serious raised, bumpy globs.

1 thought on “Removing glue from subfloor”

  1. I am posting for anyone else regarding sticky, tacky, gummy carpet pad glue removal. After researching online forever most info was regarding dried glue. I finally used Goo Gone Pro to remove carpet pad glue on bedroom wood subfloor that was still very gummy. It was put down as a bunch of squiggly lines and the carpet pad stuck in chunks when pulled up. I scraped what I could, then I applied the Goo Gone, let it sit a few minutes then scraped with putty knife. After the chunks of pad were scraped away I applied Goo Gone on a rag then rubbed the residue off. It was time consuming but quite effective. I have painted with Glidden floor and porch paint which seems to have covered up any glue residue left until I can put down permanent hard flooring. Hope this helps someone else.

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