In the process of removing the 3 different types of flooring in the house we just bought and before we move in get the major things out of the way. Carpet is easy enough for the most part, the house is a slab on grade so the little bit of glue in 3 out of the 4 carpeted room will go pretty easy. 2 of the 3 floating floors went really well, came up in minutes after the base was pulled up. There is one floor that was laid down with construction adhesive under every 2 1/4" wide strip of maple flooring. Other than the pieces coming up, some in pieces, some full length, the glue is coming up at about a 50/50 rate.

My first thought is to get a large walk behind water fed concrete grinder, then it may only need a floor scraper sharpened often enough to keep it cutting well.

The question is, to remove the leftover glue, to the tune of about a 12X16' area, what has been your technique to get this off? Or perhaps suggestions that I have not mentioned.

The finished floor we are going to put back down will be a floating 5MM solid vinyl plank click lock. Because of this, I am concerned about the nature of the grinder, since it will have no respect on how much it removes.

  • The question is, “how to remove remaining glue?” Or “how to remove wood flooring other than grinder? Or both? – Lee Sam Aug 11 '18 at 3:41
  • Thanks for the question about the question, I will clarify what the question actually is. – Jack Aug 11 '18 at 7:46

I'd try a hefty scraper first... sometimes the right angle is the key to getting glue to break its bond. (And yes, you'll be sharpening frequently... handheld grinder with a flap disk would be my go-to.)

If that doesn't work well, maybe that flap disk on the grinder would help.

If that doesn't work well, maybe a handheld power plane that's riding on a 'sled' of UHMW that keeps the sole off the concrete but cuts dead flush? (Eg, 1/8" spacer on the bottom, clear of the blade; set the depth of cut to 1/8".) Yes, this will kill a few sets of blades, but I suspect you're ahead of a concrete grinder rental and its attendant cleanup.

If all that doesn't work (in other words, you didn't get all of it, but you've got a tiny bit of residue), maybe a bit of self-levelling compound would set things right.

ps, one crazy idea I just had... all safety tips apply... what about hitting the adhesive with a plumbers torch briefly to see if you can harden it (after it cools) to a point where it crackles off nicely? (NOTE! I've never tried this. I know Jack will do this safely, but don't any of you other people go setting anything on fire or poisoning yourself. And if the comments section explodes with derision, I will graciously edit this idea out of existence.)

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    I would love to try the last part on the last floor we will clean, the one I did not mention yet, the one with the carpet pad that is glued down with a gummy glue like i have never seen, "cooking" that may do best, but I am sure the house would go up in flames... or the smoke from the bits of left over pad will kill us.... Might try a solvent on that one.... Back about the scraper, I have a lightweight one that is like a garden hoe but straight, but will look up the heavy duty ones I seen used on VCT and ceramic tile removal. – Jack Aug 11 '18 at 15:56
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    I never did come back to say how it all went. It took a long time to coordinate with an ex-boy friend of a lady who used to work for my wife... (how do you like that connection...) He has a business cleaning floors just like I needed, using a monster grinding machine the size of a washing machine. He also showed me how to use the little 4" scrapers to get the other easier areas up while the monster took up the other difficult areas. I found the machine dished the floor here and there, so I ended up using self leveling cement to flatten the rest. The existing floor had issues to start as well. – Jack Nov 23 '19 at 2:44

I found that orange oil was a good, non toxic solvent for the mastic on concrete left over after removal of vinyl tiles. It softed the mastic and I was able to easily scrape it up. The goo would stick to the scraper and I would wipe it off the scraper on the edge of a cheap dustpan.

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