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Question DetailsAsked on 6/24/2013

How to remove glued carpet padding

Carpet probably installed 20 years ago over foam padding which was glued to hardwood.

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1 Answer


Don't know the best way, but I found one that works fast, though a bit messy.

I peeled the carpet, then tore up any loose foam pad. Ran over it with a metal detector and pulled any nail strips and staples.

Then gouged the worst of it off with ice scraper and garden hoe - that gets about 90% real fast. Then I just took a 4x24" belt sander to it with 40 grit sand paper - peeled it right off - did about 26x24 room in about an hour suitable for new carpet pad - would probably have taken about 2-3 hours to prep for a glued-down or tile/stone floor. Work so the tail of the sander (rather than the front) is contacting the foam (backing up as you go), and remove accumulated gunk as you go with a brush, because if you run it over too much it will get hot and smoke and get sticky. You need to blow out the sander every so often too, especially if it does not have a built-in dust collector and bag.

You do need to seal the room off from the rest of the house, and you do have a good-sized vacuuming job when you are done. For laminate or carpet you just need to knoeck down the high spots on the glue, not clean to wood. For tile, stone, vinyl or glued-down new flooring, I would get it down to bare wood pretty much everywhere, because the old glue spots may hurt adhesion.

I put a large shop vac in an adjacent outside area (so the air vented outside) but with the hose inlet inside the room I was working on - did a good job of keeping a negative pressure on the room (with thin visqueen taped over the door) so the foam dust and small did not travel to the rest of the house.

Wear a disposable Tyvek coverall when doing this. You pretty much still have to take your clothes off and change at the door of the room when done - your clothes and shoes will be covered in foam dust. Shake off real good outdoors, then hose off before putting in washing machine, otherwise you will have a bunch or foam in washer and burnt foam smell in dryer.

If you are going to try to salvage the hardwood (if the glue did not stain it too much), be sure to sand with the grain only when doing this.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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