How To Remove Glued Down Carpet [8 Effective Ways]

Sometimes you may want to remove an old layer of carpet to reveal your hidden hardwood flooring beneath it. The only downside to this can be when the carpet was glued down instead of stapled--a scenario that presents its own unique set of challenges. In this post, we will show you a few ways to remove glued down carpeting from your floor.

Here are the steps to remove glued down carpeting:

  1. Decide on your approach.
  2. Gather your materials.
  3. Pull up the tacks/staples on the edges.
  4. Pull up the carpeting from the farthest wall.
  5. Switch sides and pull up the last few feet.
  6. Roll up the carpet, secure the roll, and remove it from the room.
  7. Remove the carpet glue.
  8. Clean the area.

Read on to learn more about how to quickly remove the carpet that's been glued down. We'll also suggest some quality adhesive removers to aid the process and compare a DIY job to the cost of professional carpet removal.

Man removing glued down carpet during home renovations, How To Remove Glued Down Carpet [8 Effective Ways]

How To Remove Glued Down Carpet

Man removing carpet during home renovations

Depending on the length of time carpet has been on the floor (and the glue has had to harden and settle), the amount of time and effort needed to remove the glued carpet may vary. Also, removing carpeting can be a very physically demanding task, especially on your back, so it may be best to get an extra set of hands or two to assist with this project.

Things you'll need:

  • Dry clothes and towels
  • Blow dryer
  • Sponge
  • Putty knife
  • Rope
  • Adhesive removing solvent
  • Heat gun
  • Handyman gloves
  • Respirator mask

1. Decide on your approach

The first thing to do is determine what kind of glue you're working with. The best way to do this is to pull up a foot or two of the carpet to inspect the glue beneath it. There are generally two types of glues used for carpeting, commercial carpet glues and tar-based glues.

If the carpeting is 60+ years old, the chances are that a tar-based glue was used. In which case, mineral spirits may be the best way to remove it. Tar-based glues are typically light or dark brown in color. If a commercial carpet glue or adhesive was used, you can apply a citrus-based commercial solvent to remove it.

Buy commercial adhesive remover on Amazon.

2. Gather your materials

After you have determined the type of solvent that you'll need for the removal, it's now time to gather all of your tools and equipment. Be sure to have plenty of rags and towels handy, as you will go through them during the "pull-up" process.

To prepare the room, you want to open up doors and windows, as both the solvents and the old glue give off pretty strong odors during this process. Lastly, set all of your equipment and tools in corner of the room closest to the door. This way you won't have to leave the room to retrieve them, and you can simply grab them right before you finish pulling up the last section of the carpeting.

3. Pull up the tacks/staples on the edges

Starting in the corner that's furthest away from the wall, use a putty knife or another prying tool to pull up the tacks or staples on the edges of the carpet. Continue working your way to the right until you have covered the entire perimeter of the room.

4. Pull up the carpeting from the farthest wall

Now it's time to go to work. Starting at the corner farthest away from the door, use a utility knife to loosen the corner of the carpet from the floor. Next, once you've pulled up about a foot or two of the carpet, began walking backward, pulling the carpet with every couple of steps. Stop once you pull up about five feet of carpeting. Next, grab the end of the carpeting that is about three to four feet away from the area that you just started, and began to pull that area carpeting up as well.

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As you pull up the carpet, be sure to roll it beneath the older layers so that you end up with one long roll at the end-- instead of a huge pile of bunched-up carpeting that will be difficult to dispose of. After you pulled up about five feet, start on the next area. The point is to pool the carpeting away from the wall in even proportions so that you can easily roll it up and remove it from the room. After you have completed pulling the carpet from the wall, you need to step over the roll to pull up the last few feet.

5. Switch sides and pull up the last few feet

Once on the other side of the roll, grab the carpeting edge and pull it upward. Continue to do this and work your way toward the middle of the rolled-up carpeting, until it is completely removed from the floor.

6. Roll up the carpet, secure the roll, and remove it

Watch the last few inches of the carpeting is removed, roll it up completely. You may also want to use a piece of rope to tie up the edges so that they don't become unwound while you're disposing of it.

Buy rope on Amazon!

7. Remove the carpet glue

Now it's time to remove the glue from the subfloor. If the glue was laid on thickly, you may be able to use your putty knife to break it up so that it chips away (only do this if there's a thick layer of glue, as you don't want to damage your hardwood floors).

Start by using a wet sponge to saturate the glue with an adhesive remover (you can also use a paintbrush, towel, or rag). It's always best to try the remover on a small section of the flooring before applying it to the entire floor (though citrus-based solvents are really gentle on hardwood and concrete).

Buy Goo Gone on Amazon!

Next, start at the corner farthest from the door, continue applying the solvent, and use your putty knife to chip away at the glue. If you are using mineral spirits to remove the glue, you may need to let it sit anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes before attempting to chip it away, especially if the carpeting is old. If the glue is still not completely removed, reapply the solvent and let it sit for another 10 to 20 minutes, and then try scraping it off again. Repeat this process as needed.

Wear PPE

Most adhesive the movers will be solvent-based, meaning that they're extremely flammable and contain fumes that may be harmful. So it's wise best always to wear a face mask and create great ventilation for your workspace before working with them or any other mineral spirits.

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Use a Heat Gun Alternative To Remove Glue

In cases where solvents do not dissolve glue after two or three tries, you can also consider using a heat gun (or a blow dryer) to help soften the glue make it more pliable. If you don't have a heat gun, other methods that you can use include steam and boiling water (for concrete subfloors only).

Buy a heat gun on Amazon!

8. Clean the area

Once you have successfully removed the glue from the flooring, you want to go over the flooring with a mop to clean up the remnants of the glue and solvent. To do this, you can use dish soap or any commercial all-purpose cleaner (or a floor cleaner). Next, allow the floor to dry out for the next 24 to 48 hours. If you are removing carpeting from hardwood floors. You'll likely need to go back and sand the floors before applying any sorts of stains, sealants, or finishes.

What Is The Best Floor Adhesive Remover?

Goo Gone Original

Goo Gone has become the adhesive remover standard when it comes to home improvement projects. The solution is made from Citrus oil and petroleum and its biggest benefit is that it is safe to use on most non-porous hard surfaces (though care should be taken when used on rubber surfaces and fabrics). Goo Gone can effectively remove tar, glue, gum, wax, and other adhesives. The best way to use it is to apply it with a cloth, paper towels, or a sponge. If using it for larger surfaces (such as flooring), you want to buy the industrial-sized formula.

Goof Off

Goof Off is another adhesive remover that's great to keep around the house. It's a professional strength-solvent that's perfect for getting rid of gummy residues like glue, wax, gum, dried paint, stickers, and more. It's also fairly safe to use on fabrics, including upholstery furniture, carpet, clothes, and other porous-surfaces. Goof Off is known to work very quickly and comes easily used aerosol spray can. After spraying the solvent onto the treatment area, it only needs to sit in a minute or two to cut through even the toughest adhesives.

Buy Goof Off on Amazon!

3M Adhesive Remover

This general-purpose adhesive remover by 3M is another stable product known for quickly removing hardened glue and other adhesives. This product will be best used on wax, oil, tree sap, glue, and adhesive residue. It comes in an aerosol formula, so it's best to wear a ventilation mask when using it and to ventilate the area (via windows and doors). The 3M remover is best used in smaller areas such as automobiles, desks, windows, and non-porous furniture.

Buy 3M Adhesive Remover on Amazon!

Do You Have To Remove Old Carpet Glue?

Worker removes glue and rubber with putty knife from floor

Yes, after you remove the carpeting from the floor that was laid down with glue, it is recommended that you remove most of the glue before laying down a new layer of carpet or finishing the flooring. If you don't remove old layers of glue, you may have a harder time removing it if you ever need to replace the new carpeting. The easiest way to remove the glue is a solvent or scrape it off with a putty knife, depending on how much glue remains on the subfloor.

How Much Does It Cost To Remove Glued Down Carpet?

Removing old carpeting is a very laborious task to take on and contractors typically charge either by the hour or by the floor's size, with the average removal cost ranging from $1 to $2 per square foot. This usually adds up to about $50 to $75 per hour, as it generally takes about three hours to remove carpeting from a 10 by 10 foot room.

How Do You Make Homemade Adhesive Remover?

You can make your own adhesive remover (similar to Goo gone) using 1/2 tbsp of water, two tablespoons of baking soda, in two or three drops of lemon essential oil or orange oil.

Wrapping Things Up:

We hope that this post has shown provided you with a quick and easy way to remove glue down carpet.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

How Much Does Carpet Cost? [Inc. Installation & Material By Type]

How To Get Wrinkles And Creases Out Of Carpet? [6 Practical Solutions]

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