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The problem is aggravated by the presence of underlayment. When engineered hadrwood flooring was removed, some underlayment was removed with it, and some stayed glued to the floor.

What is the best way to remove all this mess? And should I use any solvent or adhesive remover?

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4 Answers 4

It depends on the adhesive. For tile mastic, I've used this on concrete before and it worked amazingly well (if but a tad messy):

http://www.franmar.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=84

It also smells funny, but is completely non-toxic.

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I am not sure what type it is. Does not look like urethane adhesive normally used for glue down hardwood flooring. This stuff sits between concrete and the underlayment, it is clear in appearance, maybe some yellowish tint to it. –  user443854 Jan 21 at 20:35
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I've used hot water for laminate glue on concrete and rented a floor stripper. For construction adhesive you might want to consult with a local hardware store and see what popular adhesive removers are available in your area. Unfortunately in my experience this is hard work.

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I have had to go through this a few times recently. You can try hot water or some kind of remover but you may be making a liquid mess where you adhesive just spreads out.

I have found the fastest way of dealing with it is chiseling for a small area or power scraping - rent one or I personally own one that hooks up to compressor - scraper was like $15 at big box. Yes the work is more laborous but it gets done quicker and cleanup is with a broom.

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Yes, that was my concern as well: creating a liquid mess. I have a couple of tools that I will try to use first. One is reciprocating saw with scraping attachment. I know it works because I used it before. It's just very labor intensive. Another one is Dremel oscillating tool with a scraping attachment. I have not tried it for scraping yet, but I'm afraid it is not heavy duty enough to cover large areas. Finally, I can try to sharpen floor removing tool and see if it will cut the glue. Solvents are my last resort. I'll report what worked best. –  user443854 Jan 23 at 21:39
    
Dremel is too small. Might as well by a wide scraper and use a hammer at that point - which I have found the easiest for small areas. Reciprocating saw might work. Something this big isn't needed but I would recommend something like it - images.harborfreight.com/manuals/37000-37999/37073.PDF. If you are doing a lot of DIY then a compressor is a must. –  DMoore Jan 23 at 21:45
    
I do everything myself, without any exceptions so far (HVAC repairs, floors, ceilings, walls, doors, furniture, plumbing). I have been avoiding buying a compressor due to limited space and noise considerations. When I needed a nail gun, I bought gas actuated one. My trim nailer is battery-operated pneumatic. I can survive without a compressor, I'm sure. –  user443854 Jan 23 at 22:41
    
You can get by without a compressor but having one makes doing things cheaper and faster in my opinion. I spent 15 dollars on an air scraper... a big just plain scraper at same big box was 30. –  DMoore Jan 24 at 1:02
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I found the answer by talking to a team of professional contractors who are removing the floor in the apartment next door. There are several steps.

After the flooring is removed:

  1. Pour adhesive remover on top of the underlayment, let it soak a few hours. There will be many holes in the underlayment from removing the flooring, so the solvent will slowly seep in. enter image description here

  2. Scrape underlayment with a sharp scraping tool. The underlayment should now be easy to scrape off. If not, pierce more holes in it and let it soak a bit longer. enter image description here

  3. When the underlayment has been scraped off, there will be still a layer of adhesive on concrete. Pour liberal amount of adhesive remover and let it soak overnight. Warning: I am not certain if now is the time to scrape again, or proceed to the next step. You may want to try over a small area to see what works best.

  4. Spread sweeping compound on top of the floor. enter image description here

  5. Sweep the floor using a heavy duty broom. enter image description here

The floor is now completely cleaned of glue -- just bare concrete, smooth, clean, and nice to look at. Unfortunately, the job is very messy. And the vapors from adhesive remover are toxic. So if you are doing a small patch, you might be better off with scraping it manually using a reciprocating saw with a scraping attachment. Very labor intensive, and does not remove all glue completely, but a lot cleaner.

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