Glue on hardword floor: removal tips?
November 8, 2004 5:31 PM   Subscribe

I-Spilled-Some-Nasty-Shit-Filter: I was mounting a pipe to the ceiling in my loft, and being SO not a handyman was flying by the seat of my pants. I was super-gluing some stuff to the pipe in situ, and some of the glue dripped onto my (laminated?) hardwood floors. [mi]

I cleaned some of it immediately, but I missed some, and now I can't get it off my floor. I was able to scrape the "bubbled" part of the glue that had some dimension to it, but there is still a 12" thin film swath of the stuff on my floor, and no cleaning solvent or supply I've tried have been able to dent the stuff. You can actually only see it when light hits it a certain way, but light tends to hit it a certain way a lot, and it looks bad. I believe the glue I used was something called "Gorilla Glue" that I picked up at Home Depot. My floors are not true hardwood, they appear to have some sort of coating that protects them from scuffs and scratches, but it seems as if whatever that coating is has fused to the superglue to make something I can't figure out how to remove.
posted by robbie01 to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Call the people that make the glue and see what they suggest. If anyone knows, they will. I'm guessing the Home Depot drones won't know much.
posted by tracicle at 5:36 PM on November 8, 2004

From the Gorilla Glue site: "There are no known solvents for Gorilla Glue.... In most cases. once the Glue is dry, it can only be removed by a chisel, scraper, or sandpaper." Additionally, if what you say in the last sentence of your post is true, I think you're hosed. Sorry.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:04 PM on November 8, 2004

It will probably totally destroy the finish on your floor, so you might need to refinish it after this, however, acetone will unbond most glues and plastics. It's also not so hot on your hands, too...

Then again, if you're going to refinish the floor, you might as well use a sander.
posted by shepd at 6:39 PM on November 8, 2004

Yeah, you're fucked, as far as removing it goes. (Why were you supergluing a pipe to the ceiling? There's nail-in hangers for such things.)

Your best bet is a flooring company at this point, have them sand it down and re-finish it. You *might* be able to sand it down flush yourself, and then put a good wax on the whole floor, but my experience with hardwood floors is all-or-nothing.
posted by notsnot at 6:39 PM on November 8, 2004

I don't think acetone will work on Gorilla Glue. Man, I love that stuff . . . it's great - unless you get it on something by accident, I guess! (Side note: Gorilla Glue requires clamping . . . how did you do that with a ceiling?)
Anyhow, I think you are saying you have Pergo-type laminated floors, not real wood. Your best bet is to just replace that section of floor - it's quite cheap.
posted by sixdifferentways at 6:44 PM on November 8, 2004

Response by poster: God DAMN the hand of science! I had a feeling I was screwed, but was hoping someone might come up with a "Oh, just spray Windex on that shit. Clears it right up somehow."

Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately I'm renting so the landlord would be none too please with me re-flooring or re-surfacing the place.

(and I was using the glue to seal together the joint between two PVC pipes on the ceilng, not using the glue to attach the pipe TO the ceiling :) )

Guess I'll go for the old standby fix: area rug!
posted by robbie01 at 7:02 PM on November 8, 2004

For fine furniture finishing there scrapers are often used instead of sand paper. They're held perpindicular to the surface of the wood and dragged across. You could probably do the same thing with a razor blade. Get it close with sand paper or normal blading techniques then try to plane it by holding the blade perpindicular to the floor. Don't cut any bits of yourself off that you think you'll need later.
posted by substrate at 7:17 PM on November 8, 2004

FYI, next time: use PVC cement to join PVC pipes. It's a LOT less nasty.
posted by notsnot at 9:47 PM on November 8, 2004

Don't bother with solvents; keep scraping until that film is gone. Use a scraper if you know what you're doing; if not, use a razor blade to gently take it off. If you are gentle, you will only scuff the original finish; this you can gloss out with a bit of polyurethane on a rag. Just be patient and work small.
posted by transient at 10:07 PM on November 8, 2004

I think you're out of luck in regards to solvents. Gorilla Glue is a polyurethane foam, and polyurethane is pretty resistant to any chemicals you may have at home. I've looked around for a way to atack it and every method I've found requires you to have some serious lab supplies. Go with scraping.
posted by TungstenChef at 1:06 AM on November 9, 2004

I'll third the razor blade suggestion. Use a window scraper to hold it though.
posted by davehat at 1:30 AM on November 9, 2004

TungstenChef is right, a urethane polymer is very durable, probably at least as good as your floor finish. Scraping is likely to make the problem worse, unless you spot sand and refinsh. Ammonia can prevent the glue from setting (according to the MSDS), but that doesn't help you now.

I see a nice rug in your future.
posted by bonehead at 7:03 AM on November 9, 2004

A card scraper is what you need. The thinnest one of the lee valley set is probably best for this application. Scrapers are really easy to use. If you get the lee valley set you probably won't even need to joint an edge and for this use I wouldn't burnish a hook.

Your floor finish has a thickness (really thin if a laminate, thicker if actual hardwood). What you want to do is scrape off the polyurethane with out touching the wood using the floor finish as a buffer. This sounds harder than it is because card scrapers are very precise tools and are easy to get the hang of.

How to use a card scraper:
Hold the scraper in both hands with the wide dimension left to right (landscape mode) at about 80-89 degrees to the surface to be scraped. All your fingers should be on one side and your thumbs on the other. Slightly flex the scraper with your thumbs and then draw the now convex edge across the glue you want to remove. This picture shows the guy with his fingers all lined up across the top of the card I prefer to hold the scraper like a book with my fingers pointing at each other and push away. The key is the slight curve however you accomplish it. The lower the angle you hold the card the less material will be removed.

Once the glue has been removed the floor finish is going to be really shiny. Don't sweat this with a few months of wear the shiny section will blend back in.

I'd practice a bit on a scrap of wood or something before attacking the floor. A chunk of laminate from the discard bin at the borg with polyurethane spilled on it would be perfect.

A warning: The card can get hot enough to burn your finger tips if you really get into it fast and furious. Watch for it heating up and then take a break to let the card cool. This probably won't happen to you because you need practice, your fingers will tire first and you'll be going slow to just barely take the glue off. However I throw it out 'cause it's quite painful when it does.

If worst comes to worst you can always fall back to the rug.
posted by Mitheral at 12:17 PM on November 9, 2004

Borg => Home Depot, Rona, Lowes etc.
posted by Mitheral at 12:18 PM on November 9, 2004

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