After my basement flooded and I removed the carpet I found the previous owner had sealed the floor but it's flaking up now and I want to remove it all. It's about 200 sqft so a wire brush by hand is not going to cut it. So, what's the best method to remove this stuff? I'm thinking something like a floor sander but with a wire brush roller. Not sure if such a thing exists. enter image description here

  • Would a pressure washer be out of the question?
    – Edwin
    Oct 6, 2013 at 5:02
  • That wouldn't work well for my situation. The floor is not level and doesn't drain properly (learned that during flooding). Also they kick up debris on the walls
    – Andrew
    Oct 6, 2013 at 14:35
  • It's going to be messy whatever path you take. You could try a heavy duty paint remover. Costs about $30 a gallon. Follow with lots of scrubbing with degreaser.
    – Edwin
    Oct 7, 2013 at 17:58
  • Be a man, do it by hand! :) I just did 400 square feet of this crap with a putty knife.
    – iLikeDirt
    Apr 5, 2014 at 4:01
  • I'm leaning towards using a 12" scraper at this point. I seen a few attachments for angle grinders that would make quicker work but also stir up quite a bit of who knows what
    – Andrew
    Apr 5, 2014 at 17:26

2 Answers 2


Not saying I'm an expert, but I did just finish scraping up about the same square footage of old mastic (asbestos-free!) from my basement. Obviously the real answer is to try various things to see what works best, but in my case, I found a long-handled razor scraper and a lot of elbow grease managed to get up the majority of my problem. Because the mastic was really tough in spots, I ended up using progressively shorter blades in the razor scraper handle (from 8" all the way down to 2" utility razor blades).

The stuff that couldn't get removed by the razor scraper came up nicely using the same wire wheel that bib mentioned. I used a two-handled corded hammer drill which was easy to control. However, I would not recommend trying to do the whole floor with that tool - it was really powerful but had a really small contact patch, so you'd be on your hands and knees for days trying to do the whole thing. If a power drill is your thing, though, you may find success with one of the larger rotary wire brushes.

Lastly, I looked briefly to find a floor refinisher that I could rent, and Home Depot apparently had some options. However, I decided that the rental hassle (my car is rather small) wasn't worth the small floor area. If you think a big machine is what you want, check with your local HD or tool rental shop.

Also, if you are doing anything that breaks the surface of the concrete (as I was) don't skimp, and get a respirator that provides P100 protection. The power tools especially can kick up some pretty fierce concrete dust.

  • Good point about the respirator. I have no idea what was used in the sealer (old). Could be bad stuff. I'll try the scraper.
    – Andrew
    Aug 19, 2014 at 13:36

Consider a drill mounted wire brush, like this one

drill wire brush

This particular version requires a separate mandrel that attaches it to the power drill.

If you go this route, wear safety glasses and protective clothing (long sleeve shirt, etc.).

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