We removed a wooden dance floor that was glued to concrete with liquid nails. How do I remove the liquid nails that is all over the concrete floor? Has anyone had success with heat, mineral spirits or any other remover product?

  • 9
    Sounds like a job for Liquid Prybar (tm)! Mar 19, 2013 at 16:08
  • Thanks for your response, where do you purchase Liquid Prybar?
    – Diana R
    Mar 19, 2013 at 16:17
  • 1
    Just a little joke. Mar 19, 2013 at 16:19
  • 3
    buy it where they sell liquid screwdriver. Mar 19, 2013 at 16:36
  • what are you putting on the floor after taking the liquid nails off?
    – DMoore
    Apr 15, 2013 at 20:28

8 Answers 8


Removing glue from any surface is a thankless task. You will not be able to return the floor to an as-built state. You're going to have to cover it with something.

You're going to have to dissolve it and scrape it. And it's going to be a heck of job.

Some expert google-fu has yielded Baby Oil as a potential solvent. Other suggestions were mineral oil.

However, I think a better solution would be to get a floor sander with a grinding pad and sand it off. Remember to wear a dust mask.

  • 1
    Most adhesives now are urethane based, so if one heats them up with a good hot air gun, they may soften so you can scrape most of it off. But the rest will have to be sanded for sure. Mar 19, 2013 at 16:34
  • @shirlockhomes I'd post that as an answer. Mar 19, 2013 at 16:36
  • @shirlockhomes I agree with you, but in the context of this answer: if there's a sure-fire way to gum-up and run through sanding pads quick it's with urethane glues.
    – Matthew
    Mar 19, 2013 at 17:40
  • 1
    agree with the gum up sanding disks. That is why he needs to try to scrape up most of it first. Mar 19, 2013 at 18:05

From the Liquid Nails faq:

How To Remove LIQUID NAILS Adhesive Products from Building Materials
In general, LIQUID NAILS construction adhesive and caulk products can be scraped off when they are softened either by:

  • Heating above 140°F with an electric heat gun or blow dryer
  • Coating the adhesive with petroleum jelly or mineral spirits for several hours to several days (NOTE: Mineral spirits are not recommended for tub surrounds, whether vinyl, plastic, painted or varnished.)
  • Are we sure it's actually Liquid Nails? It could be generic construction adhesive. Mar 19, 2013 at 18:50
  • If it's rubber based, solvent liquified construction adhesive, (which a good portion of the Liquid Nails line is), the above will also apply. Such products are made by GE, DAP, MDA. The OP will have to determine the composition. Mar 19, 2013 at 21:39
  • 1
    I have also removed most of the above with chisel and hammer!
    – DMoore
    Apr 15, 2013 at 20:21
  • 3
    If you melt the adhesive and it gets all gooey that is not a great scenario. I have tried this before. Wear latex gloves and know that whatever you are scraping with might be thrown away. Also note that you will probably not get everything off and instead of having your adhesive tracks you will now have thinner adhesive rivers. This may be OK if you are putting something over this to finish. It just depends. But if you are putting something over then why not chisel... Only time I say not to chisel this stuff off is if you are afraid of breaking material its attached to.
    – DMoore
    Apr 16, 2013 at 17:24

I had liquid nails all over my walls for my steps leading downstairs after I tore out the fake brick. I am more than sure that the above answers will work but I like free and I like hitting things.

Tools needed:
sharp chisel and hammer.
Time it took me to do entire stairs:
about 1 hour.

Just keep the chisel flat so it doesn't take out any chunks of concrete, wear gloves, goggles if you want, I found swinging down worked best. I also found that giving the chisel kind of a constant tap was more productive than killing it. Also they sell scrapers that you can hook up to your compressor if you have one.

Things not needed:
chemicals, gas mask, heating elements.

Benefits of doing it this way:

  • Wife won't yell at me for buying new tool
  • Wife won't yell at me about the dust
  • Wife won't yell at me about using chemicals in the house
  • House will not smell of dust and chemicals for a day.

Negatives of doing it this way:

  • Wife will yell at me because I left the scraps of liquid nails laying on the steps.

I'm sorry for the delay but wanted to provide an update. When the dance floor was removed, there was a heavy amount of liquid nails covering about 500 sq ft. We had to remove it in order to lay new tile. We tried chipping it, which worked but took a lot of time. The best approach was purchasing a bottle of adhesive remover from Home Depot-- it's stated purpose is to remove the tacky adhesive from sub floors when re-tiling (think of pulling up peel and stick tiles, you must clean the floor prior to installing new tile or it just won't stick). This stuff worked wonders on it, softened it up and it could easily be scraped away. It took two bottles and cost $20.

Thanks all for your expertise, advice and comments!

  • you should mark this or (one of the adhesive remover answers) as an "Accepted answer"
    – HerrBag
    Jun 7, 2013 at 15:10
  • 1
    What is the name of the adhesive remover, and is it in the flooring department? I've asked at Lowes and Home Depot.
    – user23862
    Jul 20, 2014 at 6:02

I've used Goof off professional for small areas, but its too toxic for a large area.

Diamond brush buffers will wear down the adhesive and even out the floor. They can be used wet to keep the dust cloud to a minimum. Mastic removal tool

This is available as a rental at a familiar big box store and is paired with a floor buffer. A shop vac and dust mask HIGHLY recommended.

  • HerrBag has a tool for everything! Now I might not choose this answer but he shows me a new tool everyday. Also this would probably be best answer if you were finishing the concrete after taking the adhesive out.
    – DMoore
    Apr 16, 2013 at 17:26
  • 1
    I'll admit to being a tool <cough> enthusiast (my wife says obsessed (I say, check her shoe rack)).
    – HerrBag
    Apr 17, 2013 at 2:27

I'm told WD40 will dissolve liquid nails.

  • That's an expensive way to apply mineral spirits, which is what WD-40 largely consists of.
    – Mazura
    Apr 28, 2016 at 3:16
  • Sometimes handier to locate than "mineral spirits" in the toolbox :)
    – rogerdpack
    Sep 13, 2018 at 22:14

I'm removing carpet in the basement and replacing it with laminate flooring. The carpet is held down with tack strips glued to the concrete. The adhesive appears to be Liquid Nails or PL400 or something of that nature. Yes, mineral spirits will soften it, but it's a mess and very time-consuming. Even slower than that is the use of a heat gun. Best method so far: Pry off the tack strips with a Wonder Bar, and use a brick chisel (3 inches wide) to remove the majority of the adhesive, followed up with an angle grinder to remove the remaining residue and smooth the area. The angle grinder alone does work, but sets off the smoke alarm and goes through a lot of discs. Good luck.


Another option: use a cement grinder (ex: cement grinding wheel on an angle grinder). If you don't put too much pressure on it you won't grind down "too much extra" of the cement underneath. Need to be gentle...

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