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The girlfriend and I bought an old house and the floorboards are in brilliant condition so we've decided to sand them, stain them, and varnish them.

As soon as we took up the carpets we noticed expanding foam everywhere. The problem we now have is that around the edges of the two rooms and hallway we want to sand this stuff is stuck on there. I'm guessing it's been on there for a few years at least. I don't want to run the sander over these areas incase the foam is hiding some screws or something that will ruin the machine, so I want to find out how I can remove the foam from the boards so I can then sand them?

  • This answer might be helpful. – Tester101 Aug 25 '16 at 13:19
  • Cheap random orbit sanders generally only hold up well enough for a job or two anyway, so one option would just be using one of these and figuring it may get damaged by screws/nails/etc. – R.. Aug 25 '16 at 21:49
  • It's unlikely you would destroy/ruin a sander by catching a screw-head. If you do, the sanding pad's are only $10-$15. – ench Aug 30 '16 at 21:07
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I'd try scraping before sanding, using a razor blade scraper or a furniture scraper -- a slightly more targeted tool.

  • Seems to be the way. I thought acetone would solve the issue but it doesn't seem to work on cured foam, only fresh stuff. – mickburkejnr Aug 25 '16 at 11:52
  • The last spray foam I applied recommended removing excess with a serrated blade. – stannius Aug 25 '16 at 14:37
  • 2
    A scraper with a replaceable carbide blade is a my floor-hand-tool secret weapon. – Ecnerwal Aug 25 '16 at 14:43
  • As soon as the sander went down the stuff came off without a problem. Anything with a sharp edge gets it off, crisis averted! – mickburkejnr Aug 31 '16 at 6:18
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A search for "expanding foam solvent" or "expanding foam remover" returns results for several products that claim to dissolve the stuff. I've never used them; your mileage may vary.

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As far as I can tell you can remove dried expanding foam only by mechanical means. There exists a large selection of rotary nylon brushes with different grades of roughness, normally used to highlight the grain of wood. I suppose those would be worth a try, perhaps you want to test them on some invisible strip of the floorboards?

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