How to Remove Carpet Glued to Plywood Subfloor

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    LESLIE: Sylvia in Ohio is on the line and clearly spilled some glue somewhere. What’s going on?

    SYLVIA: No, I didn’t spill glue. We have – our carpet in our kitchen is glued down like 20 years ago.

    LESLIE: Did you say carpeting in your kitchen?

    SYLVIA: Yes, they used glue to put the carpet down. So my question is: how do we get it off the floor without tearing the whole floor out?

    TOM: What kind of flooring was it glued over? Is it hardwood?

    SYLVIA: No, just …

    TOM: Plywood?

    SYLVIA: Yes, uh-huh.

    TOM: Some sort of subfloor? So, really, you don’t have to get it completely off; you just have to kind of get it smooth so you can put whatever kind of flooring down you want to do over that.

    What kind of flooring do you want to end up with, Sylvia?

    SYLVIA: We want to put hardwood over it or on it.

    TOM: So, what you should do is get a citrus adhesive remover. There’s a number of different citrus-based adhesive removers. They’re not as caustic as some of the other adhesive removers. And what it will do is soften that adhesive. And your goal here is just to get any of the sort of the thicker, chunkier areas removed so that what you could do is put down another layer of plywood – an underlayment of plywood – say, like a ¼-inch luan or something like that. Then on top of that, and once you’re sure it’s level, you could install your hardwood floor.

    There’s lots of options with the hardwood floor. You can use engineered hardwood, which is thinner but very, very beautiful. And it’s more dimensionally stable and it would be probably a better choice for a kitchen. Because if you put regular hardwood down and you ever had a big leak, spilled a pot of anything, it will swell up and become damaged. But if you use engineered, it’s much more stable and resistant to any type of swelling when it gets damp or wet.

    SYLVIA: Oh, that’s great. Thank you.

    TOM: Oh, you’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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