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Last Updated: , Created: Sunday, June 24th, 2001

Getting tile glue off of a hardwood floor

Kathy from Kamloops, B.C. writes:

We are in a 60 year old house. When we moved in 38 years ago there was hard wood flooring in the living room and you didn't replace boards in the worn out places at that time. So we had a guy glue (which is black) down then felt paper then glue and then a wood tile look. But now the tile is coming off. So I put a rug over it all but every time I shampoo I'm sure it's coming up through the rug. The rug looks dirty after. How can I remove the glue and get my hard wood floor back. It was only worn in the doorways.

-------- Response:

It is really tough to get that old glue off of the hardwood, but if it was glued down to a varnish finish, you may be in luck as it may separate at the varnish. If it was glued down to bare wood, it has probably soaked into the wood, and you may never get it really clean.

There are two ways to get it off. The first one to try is to scrape it off using a hot air gun (rent a big one) to soften the glue while working with a wide spatula. Do not heat the glue enough to burn it or turn it liquid, just enough to allow you to scrape it up without any major elbow grease. But it is a long hot job on your knees. There is also a great scraping blade for the FEIN MultiMaster tool that automates this job a bit.

The second way is to sand it off and this only works if you move the sanding machine from place to place fast enough to not soften the glue at all. The exact opposite of the first technique. If it gets hot and soft, it will plug up the paper. If you move quickly enough, it will, turn to dust and come off.

In either case, not an easy job.

The third option is to leave it there and put one of these new "floating" hardwood floors right over the top. They look very nice -- although there is a full range of types and quality on the market. If you are not in a moisture area, like a kitchen or a basement floor, then any of the types would work well for you.


Keywords: Floors, Vinyl, Sanding, Tiles, Glues, Wood

Article 713