There is hardly a task for the handyman that is more arduous than removing carpet adhesive. It does not matter whether you have to remove carpet adhesive from the wooden floor or from a screed substrate. Once the glue adheres really well, it is difficult to remove. The tricks for easier removal of carpet adhesive can be found here.
In many apartments and houses there is still an old carpet that may need to be replaced with laminate or a new carpet. But the residents shy away from tearing out the floor, as they fear that they will not be able to remove the adhesive or that it will be difficult to remove. On wood in particular, it is often not possible to remove the adhesive as roughly and brutally as it should be. Depending on which floor is to be laid afterwards, however, it is essential to remove any residues of the adhesive. We show you how it works.
Material and preparation
What you need:
- Hand stripper
- Knife for hand strippers
- Delta sander
- oscillating saw / multi-tool
- Stripper attachment for oscillating saw
- Orbital sander
- Eccentric sander
- Wire brush
- coarse brush
- Floor wiper
- Face mask / breathing mask
- Sanding plates
- Washing-up liquid
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Costs and prices
The greatest effort is the time it takes to remove the adhesive. That’s why you’d better remove the glue yourself. A tradesman who settles on the basis of hourly wages could lead to unpleasant surprises.
- Electric hand stripper from 500 euros
- Electric hand stripper used from 300 euros
- Replacement knife for hand strippers from 30 euros
- oscillating saw / multitool / multi-tool for do-it-yourselfers from 30 euros
- Orbital sander DIY tool from 20 euros
- Eccentric sander, DIY version from 40 euros
- Hand stripper – loaner from the hardware store from around 30 euros per day
Handstripper – DIY tools
The term hand stripper may be a bit misleading because it is a relatively expensive electrical device that uses a wide knife blade to move. Basically, the hand stripper works like a spatula with a drive – only better and easier. However, good strippers cost around 500 euros and up. Even used devices can usually only be found on eBay for 300 euros or more. A new knife for the device alone costs more than 30 euros. Therefore, it does not necessarily make sense for do-it-yourselfers to buy a stripper especially for this one job. However, some hardware stores rent strippers by the hour or by the day.
Tip: Similar to a hand stripper, an oscillating scraper works on a multi-tool. The oscillating saw is available in stores for as little as 30 euros. Depending on the scope of the accessories, the multi-tool can also cost 100 euros. The higher price is often worthwhile, however, as the extensive accessories will cost significantly more individually.
However, there are also small hand scrapers known as hand strippers. Since these small devices cannot do anything else, they are by no means as useful as the multitool, especially because they cost at least the same. For very large areas there are heavy versions of the stripper that have wide cutting edges and are more likely to be used in large industrial buildings. However, some hardware stores also lend these devices, which weigh at least 50 kilos.
Tip: Even for the small delta grinders there are often scraping knives that can simply be attached. They are basically worked out in the same way as the scrapers on the multi-tool.
Remove carpet adhesive
Sometimes you are lucky and the glue has already dissolved or has simply dried up. Many a glue has already been swept away with a broom because it had dried up to crumbs. Very small stains with residues of the adhesive can also be removed from concrete with a wire brush and then brushed off with a broom.
1. Determine the subsurface
When deciding on the right tool, it is important what surface is available. If you want to expose a wooden floor, which then remains visible and is worked up, then you inevitably have to be gentler. With a heavy stripper, you would end up pushing ugly scratches and streaks into the wood. Therefore, you cannot select and acquire the right tool until you know what you are dealing with.
Tip: Do not only check what is really under the carpet before you go shopping, but also use a spatula to test whether the adhesive can be removed by hand.
2. Expose the concrete floor
If you don’t just want to paint the screed later, you can use an eccentric sander and very coarse sandpaper to remove hard adhesive residues. Some types of glue dry out so hard they look like melted plastic on the floor. These residues are difficult to remove even with a stripper.
Some adhesives are water-soluble and can be removed with moisture. On a concrete floor, this is relatively easy with a scrubber and a little detergent solution. Do not add too much detergent to the water and moisten the glue residue well. Then let the glue soak for a good half an hour. Much like removing paste on the wall, a higher temperature of the water also helps when removing glue while it is wet. Then, in the best-case scenario, the adhesive is only brushed off with the coarse scrubber.
Some do-it-yourselfers recommend warming up the old glue with a heat gun and then scraping it off with a spatula. Most adhesives dissolve better with the heat, but many are also flammable and can catch fire during the action. Especially if the glue tends to get flaky, some of the loose glue can get sucked in by the blow dryer. So you’d better not try this out.
3. Remove the glue from the wooden floor
You can remove thick adhesive residues from a wooden floor quite easily with the scraper on the multi-tool. A thin layer of the adhesive will mostly remain on the surface. This does not interfere further if the wood is then covered again with another floor covering. If the wood is to remain visible, however, it should be carefully sanded down in several sanding steps.
Tip: If you want to remove the glue on large wooden surfaces and want to work up the exposed wood anyway, you should borrow a large cylindrical sander or floor sander from a hardware store. You only have one more sanding step than usual to sand off the adhesive.
Whenever possible, always connect the vacuum cleaner to the respective sander when sanding glue. The dust from the glue and possibly from old wood varnish is not particularly healthy, so you should also always wear respiratory protection.
Tips for readers in a hurry
- Determine the subsurface under the carpet
- Work on wooden floors carefully and gently
- Scrape off glue residue with a spatula and a coarse brush
- If necessary, clean the concrete floor with soapy water and a scrubber
- Scrape off small residues on concrete with a wire brush
- Electric scraper/stripper pushes away glue residue
- Remove hardened adhesive with an eccentric sander
- Wear a face mask when sanding glue residue
- Work on large wooden surfaces with a floor grinder