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Remove Tar Paper and Glue From Wood Floor

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Cynthia in Kansas is looking to redo some floors. Tell us what’s on top of it.

    CYNTHIA: I have a lovely linoleum that – the house was built in ’48; the floor might have been there that whole time and that was covered by carpet. We got the linoleum up but it’s left this tar paper and black glue on the lovely oak floor.

    TOM: Oh, boy.

    CYNTHIA: We’re looking for a way to remove that.

    TOM: Yeah, well that’s very difficult to do. Has this floor ever been sanded, do you think?

    CYNTHIA: You know, the finish on it, where you can see finish, looks very nice. So I don’t honestly think it’s ever been sanded.

    TOM: Well then, this might be the time to do that because, frankly, that’s the only way you’re going to get it all off. That’s really thick, gooey stuff and if you used chemicals to get it up, you may end up having it – even if you loosened it up, some of that black goo might saturate down into the oak and it could stain the oak.

    LESLIE: It might still stay there. Well, and you’re going to have to experiment with so many different chemicals because if it’s alcohol-based – you know, it really depends on what that glue is made of what’s going to take it off.


    LESLIE: So it’s like you do have to do some experimentation and that’s just a whole, big pain in the butt as well.

    CYNTHIA: Right, right. So …

    LESLIE: And then you’ll probably end up sanding it anyway.

    CYNTHIA: (chuckles) Yeah, I cannot tell if it’s ever been sanded because it does look like – there are just spots where you can tell they didn’t get as much glue down and it pulled up pretty clean in little areas.

    TOM: Right.

    CYNTHIA: And there, the finish looks very nice. So I’m hoping that I can recover a decent floor. (chuckles)

    TOM: Well, I think you can. I mean – but professional finishing here is the way to go. I would not do this myself because you don’t have the right tools and if you rent the big, heavy, belt sander that’s about 12-inch-wide belts, if you just hiccup while you’re using that thing you’ll ruin your floor. It’s very hard to handle as a newbie DIYer. So I would have it professionally sanded. Even if you wanted to do the finishing yourself, I would have the floor professionally sanded; get down to a nice, new, fresh, raw floor and then take it up from there.

    CYNTHIA: OK. Alright. I thank you for advice.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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