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 – 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. We very quickly found that this carpet was not going to be easy to remove.
I took 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
This carpet does not come up easily; 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 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 right 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 remained behind, stuck to the subfloor.
So I set to work figuring out the best way to get the job done. I started out testing all of the recommended materials I 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.
Murphy’s Soap: 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 make a 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 them each 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 ton of elbow grease.
Boiling Water: First I tried just pouring the water on the floor and scraping. Um, no. 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. I was able to pick up a jug of it at Home Depot for $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.
After scraping up the foam backing, I poured some of the Sentinel on 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. It is going to be awhile before we are actually able to lay the wood floors and having the couch in the middle of the kitchen was really getting 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.
Anyone else ever tackle a project like this? Any tips for us as we take on the kitchen?