How to Remove Adhesive from a Concrete Floor

Carpet glue being poured on a concrete floor.
What You'll Need
Hand scraper
Power scraper
Reciprocating saw
Rubber gloves
Boiling water
Chemical adhesive remover
Tile and glue removing tool (optional)
Scrub brush
Absorbent cloth

Concrete floors aren't the eyesore they used to be. There are plenty of methods for decorating them that can make you want to pull up old carpet and tiling in an instant. However, if you do this, odds are that some adhesive will be left behind in the process. Remnants and residues left over aren't pleasant to look at and make it impossible to add new decor or refinish to the concrete. Getting rid of old adhesive is a tedious and difficult task, but with the proper step, it can be accomplished by any DIYer.

Step 1 - Scrape

Depending on the adhesive, a scraping is all you may need to remove it. Try a hand scraper first, with protective gloves to avoid blisters, but if the job proves too difficult, you can try a power scraper or a scraper attachment on a reciprocating saw instead. Sweep up dust or chipped pieces that come free and dispose of it all in the trash.

Step 2 - Soften the Adhesive

In the event that scraping is unsuccessful on its own, take it a step further and make the adhesive softer. Put on a pair of rubber gloves, boil water, and pour it on the surface of the adhesive spot. Let it remain for few minutes to make the glue more supple.

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Chemical adhesive removers can also be used for this purpose, with citrus-based types being favored. If you do use a chemical, you should leave it to sit for about 30 minutes before you move on. It is advised that you test any chemicals on a small patch of the adhesive so you have an idea of how it will work and if you'll need something stronger. You should also consider working on smaller patches one at a time instead of covering the entire area with remover. It will help you avoid wasting remover since you won't overuse it and the solution will not have a chance to dry before you can finish.

Step 3 - Use Scraper on Softened Adhesive

Take your scraper to the softened glue this time, and it should come away fairly easily. There are also tile and glue remover tools available in the market. This will have an eight-inch long blade which scraps the surface moving back and forth. However, be careful not to scrape with a sharp instrument that can scratch or gouge the floor.

Step 4 - Wash the Floor

After the adhesive has been successfully cleared away, it's time to wash the concrete. Use a mild soap and water solution with a long-handled scrub brush to thoroughly clean the entire floor. Finally, wipe up any loose adhesive bits with an absorbent cloth.

Additional Tips for Specific Adhesives

If you're getting rid of tiles, you might be dealing with a mastic. Fortunately, this is one of the easiest types to remove, as it will come away with just water and a light scraping.

Some types of floor stick with vinyl adhesive. Unlike glue, this won't often leave behind globs that you can scrape away. Instead, this variety will have to be removed with solvent.

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