For some reason, my mother-in-law had awful wood effect floor tiles nailed and glued onto the floor boards in her bedroom (she has passed away and we have inherrited the house). 3/4 of the room is glued, 1/4 isnt, and that was the bit i took up first. Getting the rest off with a hammer will take ages, and we will be left with lumpy glue everywhere. My electrician told me he would rip the floor up completely and start again as its tongue and groove, so you cant even flip the boards over. Any advice would be very welcome! Thanks in advance.


A few years ago I was removing the tile from my kitchen floor with two friends. We spent the entire morning getting about 3 s.f. done, trying many solvents in the process. One of us then inadvertently spilled a cup of coffee on the floor. Lo and behold, the wetted tiles came up easily. Water did the trick on the rest of them. It must have been a horse-hoof glue or something similar that was water based. Hard to believe that held so successfully for the nearly 100 years my house has been in existence, and was so hard to remove until we discovered that water was the solvent.

  • Jesus, guys, you have been so helpful, thankyou so much, and such a quick response too, I really appreciate you all taking the time to help me. Thankyou! Jun 18 '17 at 5:20

You gotta do what you gotta do. But before you knuckle under and decide to start ripping out the floor boards do a little investigation. If the floor boards extend out under the lower plate of the wall (especially load bearing walls) you will want to reconsider outright removal as remediation at the walls can be very problematic. Get yourself a good chisel or two, a heavy hammer and some ear protection and go at it. It often takes good old labor and hours of time to achieve what you want.

If the glue is hard and dry it is sometimes not that problematic to remove with wide sharp chisel to get the biggest parts off and then use a scraper to remove the rest. A heavy duty floor sander can also be used to remove dried glue but often the heat generated by sanding will soften the glue to the point that it just gums up the heavy grit sand paper.


If you are interested in salvaging the floor, and it is intact with no repairs made with dissimilar materials, get a professional floor finisher to look at it. I have removed a bathroom floor with asphalt cutback holding the tiles down, I removed the tiles and proceeded to grind away. It about wore me out, using 32 grit sandpaper on the edging machine that I rented. It was a small space, maybe 15 sq. ft I was trying to tackle, but there was more to do. A floor finisher was hired, knocked it out in no time and the floor turned out nice.

The sandpaper will readily clog, but with constant sandpaper changes, it will remove the glue. The trick is to use a coarse enough paper to remove the surface before it heats up. As Michael Karas states, it heats up the glue and clogs the paper, and using a coarse enough paper, it still will, and maybe get too quickly into the good wood below it, but that is were a pro comes in, they already have the experience to know when to stop and move on to a different part of the floor.

  • 1
    I could add a story from the past. I had an entryway that was about 12' x 16' that had tiles stuck down with a thick layer of nasty black glue. I was able to pop the tiles off the concrete with a chisel but scraping the glue was a nightmare. I purchased many gallons of Jasco paint stripper and coated whole areas at once with the stripper in a thick layer. Let that sit for a while and the glue came right off with a scraper like a wide drywall blade. A second go at the stripper actually pulled remaining glue discoloring out of the concrete and was clean enough to lay down ceramic tiles.
    – Michael Karas
    Jun 17 '17 at 21:01

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