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Removing Glue from Hardwood Floors

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Toby in Kansas has got a flooring question. What can we do for you?

    TOBY: We have hardwood floors in our kitchen hidden under several layers of other things.

    LESLIE: OK.

    TOBY: We’ve got – it’s hardwood floor. I peeled up a corner of it and it’s got that real old, first generation-type linoleum stuck to the hardwood itself.

    TOM: OK.

    TOBY: And then – and that’s basically what we’re getting down it. It has like that kitchen carpeting and then a bunch of other stuff on top of that.

    LESLIE: Holy cow.

    TOBY: I know. The home was built in the 1920s. It looked like all they did was they refloored over everything instead of peeling it up and starting over again.

    LESLIE: Toby, if you can get everything off of that floor you’re going to gain at least four inches of ceiling height.

    TOM: (laughing) Yeah.

    TOBY: (chuckling) Tell me about it. And they’re already nine-foot ceilings, so …

    TOM: Toby, what I would do here is I would absolutely try to remove that flooring. And what’s going to happen when you get down to the linoleum, you’ll get the top layer off but there’ll be a lot of glue left behind. And that’s just going to come off through hard work. You’re going to scrape as much off as you can and the last step is you’re going to have that floor professionally sanded with a belt sander; the big floor sanders that they use. They have 12-inch wide belts. You can get a very, very coarse grit on that that can cut right through that adhesive. It’s a little more work than if it didn’t have it on but it absolutely can be saved. And you know, the best thing about this is all of that other flooring material, think of it as a nice drop cloth that’s been protecting that hardwood for years. So you ought to have a lot of life left in it and it’s going to look fabulous.

    TOBY: Cool. So, what is the best way, though, to get that – that linoleum’s really stuck on there. I’ve bent several putty knives trying to get some of it up.

    TOM: No, you’re going to need – you’re going to need a floor scraper that kind of looks like a shovel …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … except it has a flat blade.

    TOBY: OK.

    LESLIE: It’s got a long handle and it has a very, very durable, tough blade on it.

    TOBY: OK. And then just come at it as – what? – as flat as I can to get in there?

    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. Get as much of it off as you can. You may use a scraper after that to pull any of the big chunks of glue off. But really, those belt sanders; we often caution people against them because they are so aggressive. This is one of those situations where you want a belt sander that’s going to take a good bite out of that floor to get rid of that glue for you.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: It can definitely be your friend.

    LESLIE: But monitor it. You know, when you’re using it you want to make sure that you get all that adhesive off but you don’t sort of dip down into the wood. Because if you leave it in one spot too long you can really create a divot. So be cautious.

    TOM: Yeah, Toby, I would not recommend you do this belt sanding yourself. I’d do everything else but that. In the hands of a pro that floor’s going to be beautiful.

    TOBY: So, it’d be better to have the pro take care of the last step?

    TOM: Just the last step, that’s right. You do all the – you do all the grunt work. Let them do the finish work. OK?

    TOBY: That sounds great.

    TOM: Toby, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOBY: Thanks.

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