How to Properly Remove Construction Adhesive

adhesive in a can
  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 130
What You'll Need
Flat edged tool
Warm water
Commercial adhesive remover
High pressure water hose
Breathing mask
Protective clothing

Construction-grade adhesive is formulated to last. Therefore, when it has been applied to be a long-lasting binding agent such as in flooring applications, removing it can be difficult. In many instances, construction adhesive cannot be removed without creating a lot of damage. For example, never attempt to remove construction adhesive from drywall. It is less expensive to replace the drywall than to attempt to scrape off the adhesive. When you do decide to remove adhesive here are some tips to help you out.

Removing from Flooring, Paneling or Molding

a scraper

Removing construction adhesive from flooring, paneling, and molding can also cause irreparable damage. You may be able to remove it with a flat-edged tool, but it can take a great deal of time and effort. Always practice extreme caution when using even a flat-edged blade when attempting to remove construction adhesive. If you are trying to preserve the paneling, molding or flooring for reuse, errant or forceful blade operation can cause serious damage by gouging or tearing the material. Some adhesives can be loosened using acetone. But first, test it on an out-of-the way spot to see if it will damage the material. Some paint strippers may work as well to loosen the construction adhesive to a point where the material can be removed without damage. If so, scrape the substance off quickly before it re-hardens.

Adhesive Removers

There are commercially available adhesive removers that may help loosen the adhesive so the material it binds can be removed successfully and then scraped clean. While working with drywall and when the adhesive is still wet, just wipe it off gently with a sponge and warm water. Never soak the drywall with water to remove an adhesive because this will damage the wall. Some solvents you can use to loosen adhesive include citrus and soy-based removers. Try using mineral spirits as well.

Blast It Away

When faced with stone, rock and bricks bound together with construction adhesive, the best possible way to loosen the glue is to blast it away. Using a high-powered, water pressure hose or a sand blaster may get the job done efficiently. However, sand blasting can scratch hard surfaces leaving unsightly scars.

The Heat Is On

a hair dryer

In many instances, applying heat to an adhesive area will help to loosen the substance enough to remove the material for scraping. Often, after gaining entry under a tile, for example, use of a hand-held hair dryer will soften the floor glue enough to peel the tiles from the floor. After the tiles are peeled away, the hand-held hair dryer can also be used to soften the glue still sticking to either the back of the tiles or on top of the sub-flooring making it easier to scrape off.

Note: When working with adhesive, always wear a breathing mask. Also protect your eyes and skin when using chemicals.