Removing Construction Adhesive from Wood

What You'll Need
Steam iron
Metal putty knife
Sanding block

In the process of construction or renovation you can find construction adhesive being used on many surfaces. Wood can be attached to brick and concrete, insulation installed to metal and its core is this special adhesive. Construction adhesive is incredibly durable and will last forever given the right circumstances. When you are able to pry wood off of a surface where it has been affixed by construction adhesive you will want to remove as much of the adhesive as possible. Subsequently, construction adhesive can find its way to your beautiful hard wood floors by mere accident. Regardless of the circumstances you want to remove it and this article will show you how to do that.

Step 1 – Chisel Loose Adhesive

Most wood surfaces are very smooth especially if they are coated with a sealant. Construction adhesive will adhere to it but the bond between it and the wood is not as strong as untreated wood or concrete. This means that you may be able to chisel away most of the adhesive. Use the metal putty knife and press it on top of the adhesive you need to remove. Gently tap the handle with the hammer to chip it away bit by bit. Once you get enough away to see the wood turn the blade to a 45 degree angle and continue tapping to chisel the adhesive off the wood.

Step 2 – Soften the Construction Adhesive

You may find that the construction adhesive simply will not be chiseled off. Perhaps the adhesive is on unfinished or textured wood or you do not want to damage the wood. This is especially the case for wood panels and unfinished hardwood floors. Luckily, construction adhesive can be reconstituted and made soft again which makes it much easier to remove. Make sure you are using an iron with a steam setting and that the water reservoir is full before you begin. Turn the iron on and let it warm up. Once the steam begins to blow out of the iron; hold it up to the dried construction adhesive. The steam will penetrate the adhesive causing it to soften. Check after several minutes to see if the adhesive has started to soften. Once it has; proceed to the next step.

Step 3 – Scrape

Turn the iron off and set it off to the side and work quickly because the adhesive can get hard again quickly. With the adhesive softened you can begin to scrape it off. Put the blade of the putty knife through the adhesive and scrape it from the wood. If the adhesive hardens before you get to it then use the iron again until it has softened.

Step 4 – Sanding

After the bulk of the construction adhesive has been removed you will still be left with a slight residue. To remove these minor imperfections you can sand the wood using a sanding block. These are very handy and inexpensive. Use medium pressure and sand the adhesive. Wipe the way with a tack cloth and inspect for remaining adhesive. Repeated as necessary.