As I shared a few weeks ago, when we began pulling up the carpet in our family room, we were met with a most unfortunate surprise – under the carpet and carpet pad was another layer of carpet.
This carpet was a very stiff industrial type carpet with a black foamy backing. It was almost like indoor/outdoor carpet and it was glued firmly to the plywood subfloor.
How to remove glued down carpet
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It turns out it is very difficult to remove glued down carpet.
It does not come up easily. In fact, it does its very best to remain firmly in place. First, we used a utility knife to cut the carpet into strips and peeled each strip of carpet up. This effectively removed the top layer of carpet and padding, but left behind a pretty thick layer of black foam.
Of all of the things I tried, the best way to deal with this foam was simply to use elbow grease and a scraper and scrape it off. Luckily, other than giving me a pretty good arm workout, it wasn’t particularly difficult.
The real test was the black adhesive residue that was still left behind, stuck to the subfloor. I turned to the Internet and immediately got started researching the most painless way to get the nasty stuff up. I found lots of suggestions:
- Boiling water/steam
- Murphy’s Oil Soap
- Mineral Spirits
- Paint stripper and other various chemicals
- Dry Ice
I started out testing all of the recommended materials I already had on hand: boiling water, Murphy’s soap, Citristrip paint stripper, and mineral spirits. Along with these I used a hand scraper with a razor type tip (similar to this one from Amazon).
I mixed it with some water and wiped it on with a rag and then scraped. When it did not come up well, I waited half an hour and then scraped some more. It really didn’t seem to make any difference. The Murphy’s soap did not help at all. (I didn’t really expect it to, but I had some on hand and one person said it had worked for them).
Citristrip and Mineral Spirits
I applied each of these to different areas with a rag, waited half an hour and then scraped. These gave very similar results and they both definitely made a difference. The adhesive was able to be scraped off, but still required a lot of time and elbow grease.
First I tried just pouring the water on the floor and scraping. No difference. Then I read a tip to pour the boiling water on a towel on the floor and let it soak for about an hour. When I tried it this way, the results were much better. This actually worked even better than the chemical strippers. Add that to the fact it involves no harmful chemicals and was free and I was sold.
After my original test, I decided to go with the boiling water/steam method. I brainstormed a little more and decided I could probably tweak my method a little and get faster results. So I tried using my iron on the steam setting to loosen the adhesive before scraping and also borrowed a Shark steam mop to try. Both of these worked pretty well. However, even though it was working, I had a really large room to do and it was going really slowly.
I was starting to wonder if I would ever finish… so I decided to try another method I hadn’t been able to test out originally – a chemical adhesive remover called Sentinel 747. It is available at Home Depot for around $20.
I tried it out on a small area of the floor and it was amazing. It worked better and faster than the steam method and was what I used to finally complete the room. My room is around 250 square feet so I ended up needing three jugs for a total of around $60 but it was definitely worth the expense.
Successfully Removing Carpet Adhesive
My final method looked something like this: After scraping up the foam backing, I poured some of the Sentinel on a small area of the floor and spread it around with an old mop. After letting it soak for 15-20 minutes I scrubbed it lightly with a wire brush and then used my scraper to scrape all of the adhesive off. Wherever there were stubborn areas that didn’t come off right away, I just repeated the process.
Yay for one step being done!
As you can see, we went ahead and moved our furniture back into the room as well as a rug we had in storage. We still had a few more problems to tackle in adjoining rooms before laying our new floors and not having anywhere to sit was getting pretty old.
Now to work on bringing the kitchen floor down to the same level so that our wood floors will be seamless between the two rooms. Nothing is ever easy in DIY, that’s for sure.
Looking for a super cheap flooring idea? Check out my painted subfloors.