Chamberlain SD South Dakota Tool Equipment Rental











        One of the most difficult and frustrating jobs for the DIY homeowner is removing linoleum, glued carpet or vinyl flooring from plywood. Power tile strippers with oscillating blades are readily available for making removal of flooring on concrete or plywood infinitely less strenuous and sometimes do remove most of the adhesive if you are lucky. But when you have successfully peeled off the flooring and glue residue is left on the plywood your problems have just begun. You are now left with gobs of old gummy glue or worse, glue set as hard as granite. Floor adhesive can be removed on concrete easily with a power concrete grinder, but there is no power equipment I am aware of for plywood that will not damage the surface in the process. And, the surface must be smooth again for the next floor covering. You are now faced with the grueling task of scraping by hand or cutting out and replacing the subfloor.

          Nevertheless you will likely not accept your pickle and search for that miracle method involving as little effort as possible. I will run through some possible choices you may think of. Sanding using the coarsest paper available and a floor edge disc sander will work, but you will go through a large amount of costly paper as it will certainly gum up almost immediately. Grinding will undoubtedly damage the plywood surface and the stones will also clog. Most chemical treatments won't work as advertised. A few will. The one you choose might. But, all will require some caution as they can be dangerous and will involve working in fumes. Some will even stain the wood so take care if your plan is to expose a hardwood floor. A wire wheel will soften the glue through friction heat and then fling that softened glue all over your walls besides scarring the wood. Pouring boiling water on a towel spread on the glue, then letting it set 20 minutes should loosen the glue for hand scraping but is quite tedious, perilous, and you need to be careful not to warp your floor.

          My recommendation when someone asks is a method I believe works as well as chemical applications or boiling water but is very safe and without toxic fumes. It will loosen most adhesives for easier scraping. Use a wallpaper steamer. Lay the hot iron on the floor on a towel and let its steam loosen the glue, and then use a good sharp paint scraper to remove it. Do a small section at a time until finished. Follow with a good orbital sanding to remove any residue and oils left by the adhesive on the plywood surface.


                                                                              Last modified: April 10, 2017