How to Remove Carpet Glue From a Wooden Floor

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how to remove carpet glue from wooden floor

If you are removing carpet from a wooden floor, odds are you are going to encounter glue. 

Carpet glue is used to hold the carpet in place as well as brads and small nails. It is easy enough to remove the carpet but removing the glue is another story. 

If you are keeping the original wood under the carpet, you are going to have to remove the glue. This will give you a blank slate to refinish the floor and get it back to its original glory. 

In this article, we have laid out a step-by-step guide to removing carpet glue from a wood floor. By following these steps, you can get the floor looking as beautiful as ever. 

Removing Carpet Glue From a Wooden Floor: Basic Idea

Removing carpet glue from a wood floor is a fairly simple process. However, there is a specific order you should work in to ensure that it is done properly. These steps include:

  • Apply solvent
  • Scrape up the glue
  • Sand the floor 
  • Clean the floor 

When to Remove Carpet Glue

when to remove carpet glue

When you remove carpeting from a wood floor, you will often be left with the residual glue. This glue holds down the carpet and keeps it from shifting with use. 

This glue will be completely dried and will stick to the wood floor underneath the carpet. 

If you want to refinish the floor, you will have to remove this old glue. You will also have to remove it if you want to put down another type of flooring like linoleum or tile. 

When you are removing the old glue, you should always be careful to wear a respirator. Many carpet glues made before the 1980s will be mixed with asbestos. 

If you aren’t sure how old the glue is, be sure to consult with a professional before beginning. 

Apply a Solvent 

There are many different types of solvent you can use to remove old carpet glue. 

Some of the store-bought solvents like Goo-Gone can be a great tool. They are specifically designed to remove glue and will be incredibly effective. 

You can also use solvents like mineral spirits and paint thinner. 

If you are going to use a solvent, make sure you are working in a ventilated area. Many of them will emit harmful fumes and you will be using quite a bit to remove the glue. 

Using a sponge or a large paintbrush, apply the solvent to the glue. Let it sit for at least an hour. 

After the solvent has been sitting, the glue should be loose enough to be pried up. 

Scrape the Glue 

After you have loosened the glue with a solvent, you can start to remove it. 

Paint scrapers are a great tool for removing old adhesives. Use one that is thin and as wide as you can find. 

When working with the paint scraper, be sure to keep an eye on the pressure you’re applying. You don’t want to gouge the wood floor underneath if you’re going to refinish it. 

It is best to work in sections of the floor. Apply the solvent to a section and remove the glue while the next section is soaking in the solvent. 

Gently Sand the Remainder 

After you have removed most of the glue, you can sand the remaining spots with a fine-grit sandpaper. 

This is the step where you really want to make sure there is no asbestos in the glue. Asbestos is harmful when it turns into dust and gets in the lungs. 

Sand the remaining glue until it is completely removed and the wood underneath is showing. However, you should always sand with the grain to prevent scratches and gouges. 

Clean the Floor 

Once you have removed all the glue, you can then clean the floor and prepare it for refinishing. 

Sweep and mop the floor to remove all the dust and remaining solvent. 

Wood floors are very porous and they will soak up any water that is applied. This is especially true if it doesn’t have a clear coat on the top. 

Make sure that you dry the floor as soon as it is clean using dry rags. This will prevent the wood from warping with the moisture. 

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to remove carpet glue from wooden floor

  • Can you remove carpet glue from carpet?

You can remove carpet glue from carpet using ammonia and water. 

Simply mix the solution together and sip a clean cloth into it. Then, rub the glue off the carpet until it has transferred to the cloth. 

  • Do I need to remove carpet glue before laying vinyl?

You need to remove carpet glue from any flooring surface before laying vinyl

If you are laying down new carpet, you can keep the old glue on. However, if you are putting down any other type of flooring, you will need to remove the old glue. 

  • How do you remove a glued down floor?

You can remove a glued down floor by applying heat to it. 

With a heat gun or hair dryer, heat up the flooring that needs to be pulled up. The glue will loosen enough that you should be able to remove the flooring material. 


Removing carpet glue from a wooden floor is a relatively simple process. 

If you use the right tools, you can be sure to remove it without damaging the wood. By following the process outlined above, you can get your wood floor back to its original condition. 

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Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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