Removing carpet glue from concrete is not an easy task, but can be done as a DIY. We felt we could take this task on because we were removing old adhesives from such a small area. Find out how we were able to get rid of the carpet glue from our basement concrete floor in a small bathroom.
Yes, for some reason our house had carpet in a bathroom in the basement. Surprisingly the floor surface wasn’t as gross as you would think. However, now that we are taking on a small DIY budget bathroom remodel we knew the old carpet had to go.
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“This is probably the most people friendly tutorial I have ever read. It reads like talking to a friend. So easy to follow and we are grateful as our floor had us baffled! We’ve never seen so much glue!”Wendy
What is carpet glue?
Carpet glue is a type of adhesive that is applied to the entire floor with a trowel when the carpet is not installed with a carpet tack strip.
The carpet in our basement was just directly applied to the concrete subfloor and therefore needed this type of glue to secure it.
Take Proper Safety Precautions
Depending on the age of the home or flooring you need to ensure that you are not dealing with asbestos before removing yourself. Always be safe when DIYing!
Ways To Remove Glue
We are huge fans trying to learn how to remove sticky residue naturally. Here are a few options you could try.
Before beginning with our carpet removal, we scrapped away as much glue as we could and then used a shop vac to pick up the glue particles. The more dried glue you can get pulled up with just scarper, the better.
Scraping Tools To Consider
Some reviews I have read have also said that this 6 in. Wide Heavy Duty Convertible Floor Scraper and Stripper with Adjustable Handle is the best one on the market. However, it does come with a price.
Sometimes a large pot of boiling water can loosen some of the carpet glue on its own. Once the heat softens the glue, you can use a small blade or floor scraper to remove the residue. It is a good idea to wear rain boots or the proper protective footwear if trying this method.
When we tested this out, we used a 6-cup measuring cup to pour a bit of hot water on the adhesive residues.
In our case, hot water was best used to help get rid of the residual carpet glue left after using a mastic remover. We were able to scrub away glue with a green sponge and soapy hot water.
Ironing or Steaming
A steamer or iron could also help to loosen the carpet glue. Heat can be your best friend when working with adhesives. We did not try this method because we were unsuccessful with the boiling water.
Store-bought Adhesive Removers
It is important to note that you should always read the manufacturer’s guidelines before using chemical strippers. Make sure to wear proper safety gear such as rubber gloves, eye protection and a mask when using chemicals.
We found that this adhesive remover worked well enough when covered with plastic. The trick to using it was giving it enough time to work while ensuring it did not dry.
Adhesive Removers To Consider
While chemicals make help make this project go easier, be aware that you should try to ventilate the area and take precautions when working with toxic chemicals.
Other Removal Options
- Scraper blades made to use in a reciprocating saw
- Dry Ice: can break down the glue bonds
- Vinegar and Hot Water
- Heat Gun
- Ammonia and Detergent
Our DIY Carpet Glue Removal Step-By-Step
All the steps listed above may be worth trying for your carpet glue removal. Here is how we were able to get our concrete cleaned after taking the old carpeting for this budget-friendly basement renovation.
Before You Begin
Remove old carpet. We were able to just pull ours up. It was laid next to the baseboards. We used a utility knife to cut it into sections and rolled it up.
If working in a larger space and you want to cut the carpet into strips before pulling up. Using the right tools like a special carpet knife may help. Family Handyman talks about different carpet blades and knives you may want to consider.
We also added painter’s tape to the baseboards. Normally we recommend doing all the demo first .As you can see we were in the process of painting the trim white during this time. We knew that we were going to add shoe molding to cover up any dings we made.
Step 1: Scrape Away Dried Glue
Use a little elbow grease with a hand scraper tool to do a dry scrape of the glue.
Use a shop vac to remove the particles from the floor.
Step 2: Add Adhesive Remover
We worked in two sections in this bathroom so we could reach all spots while working. Carpet glue adhesive remover could be slippery when stepped on and you also don’t want to track it around your home.
Pour glue remover on carpet glue and spread it around.
Step 3: Cover With Plastic
The recommendations on the glue remover said to use a thick plastic drop cloth. However, a plastic garbage bag worked just fine for our concrete floor.
Step 4: Let Rest For 1-3 Hours
This was the trickiest part of this DIY project. You should test it out to find the time that works best for your space. 2 hours under plastic seemed to be our sweet spot where the adhesive remover was working without drying out.
Step 5: Scrape Carpet Glue Away
Using your hand-scraping tools continue to work to get the glue off the concrete.
Do not let the glue scrapings sit and harden. We continually picked them up and got them into a garbage bag. We also liked using a hand scraper for stubborn areas. Change your blade frequently.
Step 6: Scrub or Mop With Hot Soapy Water
As a section would become clean, we would use a Scotbrite pad to remove any glue residue.
Sometimes friction was our best move on those stubborn spots. By rubbing an old towel we were able to loosen some more of the concrete glue.
Step 7: Repeat Steps 2-6 In Stubborn Areas
We could have kept scraping and scraping but decided to let the adhesive remover work to remove the stubborn carpet glue that remained. Therefore, we ended up doing each area twice to remove all the remaining residue.
Before and After Concrete Floor
We were able to get most of the glue up by hand using the method listed. You can see a few spots, but we think it is pretty good compared to what it looked like before we started.
If you are unsure if your carpet glue contains asbestos, it is best to call a professional. You do not want to disrupt anything that may contain asbestos and release those particles into the air. You can read more about the ban on products containing asbestos on the EPA website When in doubt about your old carpets, call a professional to help.
The dried carpet glue will create an uneven surface, collect dust and grime and make it hard for new flooring to be laid evenly and neatly. Also, new floors such as peel-and-stick or laminate flooring will have a difficult time adhering if the dried glue is not removed.
Yes and no. No one will say removing carpet glue from concrete is fun, but with a little hard work and time, you should be able to find a carpet glue removal system that works for you. Depending on the size of your room, this job may be best done split up at different times.
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How To Remove Carpet Glue From Concrete
- Knee pads
- Utility Knife
- Eye Protection
- Plastic Bags
- Paper Towels
- Bucket With Mop or Sponge
- Kleen Strip Remover
- Plastic Paint Scraper
- Razor Blade Scraper
- Short-Handled Scraper: this one is similar to what we used
- Old Towel/Rags
Before You Begin
- Remove old carpet. We were able to just pull ours up. It was laid next to the baseboards. We used a utility knife to cut it into sections and rolled it up.
- Add painter’s tape to the baseboards.
Removing Carpet Glue
- Use a little elbow grease with a hand scraper tool to do a dry scrape of the glue.
- Use a shop vac to remove the particles from the floor.
- Add adhesive remover to the floor and spread it around.
- Cover the area with plastic.
- Let the glue remover rest for 1-3 hours. Test to see how easily it will scrape off.
- Using your hand-scraping tools continue to work to get the glue off the concrete.
- Use a mop and soapy water or a sponge to get rid of glue residue.
- Repeat the above steps for stubborn areas.
- This DIY does require some elbow grease. Let the glue remover work for you and don’t try to rush the process.
- Carpet glue adhesive remover could be slippery when stepped on and you also don’t want to track it around your home.
- The recommendations on the glue remover said to use a thick plastic drop cloth. However, a plastic garbage bag worked just fine for our concrete floor.
- 2 hours under plastic seemed to be our sweet spot where the adhesive remover was working without drying out.
- Don’t let the glue remover and glue begin to dry when you have removed it.