How do I remove this strange glue from my previously carpeted hardwood?
June 29, 2008 12:37 PM   Subscribe

How do I remove this strange glue from my previously carpeted hardwood?

Here's a photo.

Just bought a house, tore out nasty carpet. Other rooms are fine, but in the living room, the outside perimeter of the carpet pad was glued to the floor with dots of this fibrous, brownish glue. "Oops" only makes it harder and doesn't seem to dissolve it at all. Same with laquer thinner. Tried a glue remover specifically meant for carpet glue on hardwood and that didn't work either. Fine sandpaper and steel wool don't take it off, we need something that will dissolve it.

We plan to refinish eventually, but the floor looks terrible with these glue dots all over and I'm not sure we can live with it like this for long. Anyone seen this type of glue before?
posted by bradn to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
A carefully applied heat gun usually softens glue enough to remove most of it with a putty knife.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:51 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you're using harsh chemicals and thinners on the wood, it is likely you're going to strip any finish that exists so you may as well consider refinishing it at this point anyway. A floor sander (available at most rental stores) will make quick work of it.
If you're not ready for that, I would call a carpet store and ask what sort of agent they would use to dissolve the glue. If it was a liquid at one point, it should have an agent that will revert it back from solid to liquid.
Good luck!
posted by mcarthey at 12:54 PM on June 29, 2008

That fibrous stuff isn't glue -- it's bits of and old pad that used to be on that floor. Remove them with a pull scraper like this one, which has a replaceable sharp blade that will do the least damage. Because the fiber is embedded in the floor's finish, you'll be removing some polyurethane or varnish when you scrape. I don't know of any solvent that will loosen the fiber without dissolving the finish, but the heat gun idea is definitely worth a try. Some very old floor finishes can be melted with alcohol -- either rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol, available at hardware stores.
posted by wryly at 1:02 PM on June 29, 2008

Got it. Looks like we're refinishing sooner than expected. These old houses have a way of throwing the unexpected at you. Guess we better roll with it. Thanks to all.
posted by bradn at 5:42 PM on June 29, 2008

I've become a strong proponent of Wilson 110 for cleaning up glue of many kinds. The heat gun will soften, the Wilson will help it lift off any residue.
posted by ptm at 5:08 AM on July 2, 2008

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