Wood floor gunky glue begone
December 8, 2012 9:56 AM   Subscribe

How do I remove a thin layer of vinyl tile backing glue from a hardwood floor?

Mrs Baggers and I recently took the plunge and started tearing up the hideous vinyl tile floor in our kitchen. It came up to reveal... a hardwood floor in pretty good condition. So, we are removing all of the tiles and are going to refinish the wood. However, the tiles left a thin layer of glue that seems impossible to remove. I have tried water (small amounts) and a heat gun to melt it. However, it remains and I don't want it gunking up the sander when we start. What's the easiest way to get the gunky glue off the floor before snading?
posted by baggers to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
snading=sanding, if it is not obvious...
posted by baggers at 9:56 AM on December 8, 2012

Check at a flooring supplier or hardware store to see if there is a product specifically for this.

In absence of that, I would recommend trying Simple Green. It's usually easily available (hardware stores, big box stores), and is good at dissolving sticky stuff.
posted by annsunny at 10:35 AM on December 8, 2012

Yeah, Simple Green or Goo Gone.
posted by elizardbits at 10:54 AM on December 8, 2012

I'd suggest naptha or mineral spirits but for a whole floor it'd be a toxic inhaling nightmare. Same with goo gone.

If ya ventilate well you could try. Wear gloves.

Maybe vinegar?
posted by Max Power at 12:34 PM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you bought any flooring adhesive remover? Obviously, test on a small area before going to town on the floor.
posted by Ostara at 1:55 PM on December 8, 2012

How have you used water? Have you let a rag soak the warm water into it a bit to soften it up? We did that a little, then used a scraping tool. You'll maybe beat the floor a little, but you're going to sand anyways. (Also, I was worried about damaging the wood, but... eh, it's old and has survived this far.)
posted by Madamina at 2:08 PM on December 8, 2012

We have used mineral spirits to good effect but it definitely requires ventilation and/or a good respirator (mine had an "organic compounds" filter too). Use a plastic scraper with it, or you risk scoring your floors.
posted by bookdragoness at 3:42 PM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

yes respirator with a VOC rating if ya go all chemical.
posted by Max Power at 6:41 PM on December 8, 2012

You are refinishing the floors anyways so your best although time consuming approach is simple scraping. A hand scraper will make quick work of any set adhesive.
posted by Mitheral at 10:58 AM on December 9, 2012

Buy extra sandpaper and sand it off. Seriously, this is the fastest way you're going to get that stuff up, and likely the cheapest. Yes, the paper will gunk up, but you just replace it and keep going. You can experiment with coarse vs fine sandpaper; IME fine sandpaper is sometimes more effective for tarry adhesives than the coarse.
posted by torticat at 7:54 PM on December 9, 2012

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