Removing Really Old Carpet Adhesive from a Finished Concrete Floor

May 1, 2011

So this is what I've been working on lately. We have a pretty nicely finished, painted concrete floor that had carpet glued down on top for oh, 30 years. The challenge is to remove the old yellow ugly carpet adhesive without damaging the concrete floor's shiny finish.

Turns out, it is possible to do with elbow grease, the right tools, and a bottle of mineral spirits.

You can find all these materials at your local hardware store:

Working on the floor in the overnight apartment

Removing old carpet glue from a painted conrete floor without damaging it
  1. Scrape up as much of the glue as possible with the plastic scraper.
    Metal scrapers will scratch the floor.
  2. Soak a rag with the mineral spirits and wipe a section of the remaining carpet adhesivie liberally.
  3. Allow to sit for a minute, then scrub with the rag until the adhesive is released from the concrete.
    I did say scrub. You will need to use some elbow grease, but it works.
  4. Soak the rag with mineral spirits as needed.
  5. After the rag becomes noticeably soiled from the carpet adhesive, switch to a fresh rag to get the most scrubbability.
  6. Take breaks as needed, and make sure you have plenty of ventilation when using mineral spirits.

WARNING: plastic scrubby sponges like Dobie and Scotchbrite will destroy the concrete finish and dull it considerably. Only use T-shirt style rags to remove the carpet adhesive from the concrete. Yes, I learned the hard way.

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