How To Remove Glued Hardwood Flooring? [The Easiest Solution]

how to remove glued hardwood flooring

Removing glued hardwood can be helpful for so many reasons. If you are thinking of renovating the floor or simply want a different flooring layout, you may need to pull up the old hardwood planks. But removing nailed planks is simple, taking off glued hardwood flooring is a bit challenging. Not only taking them off is hard, but the damage in the subfloor can be major too. 

Removing glued hardwood flooring requires planning and knowledge. If you are unaware of the techniques and tricks to effectively remove the glued planks, you can mess it up. This is why knowing the process is important. And as much information is not available regarding this, I am here to explain the process and share my experience. 

From years of experience, I have decided to write on this. I have removed planks and renovated spaces which is why I want to talk about this. Those who are willing to remove glued hardwood flooring, stay with me till the end of the article. 

6 Steps To Remove Glued Hardwood Flooring: The Best DIY Process 

Removing hardwood flooring requires a certain level of expertise and knowledge. Besides, you need to have a set of tools to accomplish the task properly. So, before we start with the process, note down the tools you need for this task. I have provided a list of tools below:

  • Chisel and hammer
  • Circular saw
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Pry bar
  • Scrapers
  • Putty knife
  • Painter’s tape
  • Goggles
  • Hand gloves
  • Face mask
  • Shoes and knee pads for extra safety and comfort

These are some basic tools you would need to pluck up glued hardwood flooring planks. Now let’s move to the steps of removing glued down hardwood flooring:

Step 1: Prepare For The Work

Preparing yourself as well as the surroundings makes the task easier, better, and comfortable. First, you have to make the room ready for work. Next, you should wear protective gear to be comfortable and safe from dust and chemicals. 

To make the room ready, you should cover the electrical plug points and other items in the room. Use a plastic sheet to envelop the furniture items, doors, and windows. Use white duct tapes to cover the electrical plug points. Covering these would avoid the contamination of dust and chemicals. 

After that, wear goggles, gloves, and hand gloves. Make sure to put on a face mask to avoid breathing in dirt. For comfort, wear knee pads and shoes to move around the room easily. 

Step 2: Draw Lines To Decide On The Area To Work On 

If you are removing the entire flooring of a room, you may not need to mark the place of work. But if you are working on a definite portion of the room, you should definitely mark the area and also draw lines across which you would make the cut. 

First, use painter’s tape to mark the edges from where you want to remove the hardwood flooring. After you draw the borderline, you should now draw lines to denote the cutting points on the floor. To do so, use a measuring tape or scale to draw straight lines on the floor. In fact, you can mark the lines with the painter’s tape for accuracy. 

Measuring and marking the working zone is done. Now you can move to the next step. 

Step 3: Cut Across The Marked Lines On The Floor 

Generally, hardwood flooring comes in long planks be it wide or narrow except parquet flooring. Now, these wide planks have to be cut short so that you can pull them up easily. As glued hardwood flooring is stuck firmly with the subfloor, cutting them short is necessary. 

As you have already drawn lines, cut the flooring planks with a circular saw. Make small sections after every 4 to 5 inches and cut along the width of the planks. However, if you want a long piece of plank, you should cut across the length of the flooring. You need to decide on this in case you are planning to reuse the planks in a particular way. 

Note that the circular saw blade depth should be the same as the height of the planks. This would conveniently cut through the entire plank without hurting the subfloor. Also, don’t affect the tongue while cutting the floor. 

Step 4: Pull Up The Planks

For pulling up the glued planks, you may face trouble. While nailed woods can be pried up easily, glued hardwood would require a bit more effort. Therefore, for this task, a long-handled pry bar is suitable. Remember to apply elbow grease too for ease. 

For the initial stage of plucking the planks, you should pluck up the baseboard first. This would expose the edge. Now, you can cut the edge with the circular saw just to kickstart the work. After you cut the small portion, pluck it up with the pry bar. However, if you find it difficult to do it, you should use a chisel and hammer to strike and loosen the edges of the planks. 

Once you pull up one portion of the hardwood flooring, you can then move on to pulling up the other portion of the hardwood flooring. Use the pry bar to pull up the marked portions of the flooring. If you find it difficult, use the chisel and hammer to loosen the portions you are struggling with. 

Step 5: Use Chisel For The Stubborn Areas

Remember that it is extremely hard not to harm the wood and smoothly remove the glued flooring. No matter which wood grade it is, you won’t be able to remove glued hardwood flooring effortlessly. 

Especially hardwood flooring on the concrete subfloor is very hard to remove. As the flooring adhesive sticks so well to the subfloor, removing the planks becomes difficult. This is why you may need to use a chisel and hammer to scrape off the wood pieces. In fact, after you pluck up the planks with the pry bar, you have to finish the task with a chisel and hammer to remove the remaining wood pieces. 

An oscillating tool can help you in removing the glued hardwood from stubborn areas. It makes the scraping easier by loosening the glue from the subfloor. Only a little bit more pressure from this tool can make the task simpler. Otherwise, chisels and hammers are there to save your day!

Step 6: Clean Out The Glue 

After you remove all the wood remaining from the flooring, you can see a mess on the subfloor! As hardwood flooring adhesives are strong, they stick hard to the subfloor. And before you install any other flooring, you must clean and remove the glue properly. 

For removing the adhesive, you have to use a hand scraper to scrape off the glue from the surface. This is the most time-consuming part where you need to have patience. Now if you find it too difficult, use a reciprocating saw with a scraper head to clean out the glue from the surface. 

Another way to clean glue from the subfloor is to apply adhesive remover and then remove it. To do so, you have to spread it well on the flooring. Wait for a few hours and then scrape off the adhesive from the subfloor. Make sure that you clean the flooring well after removing the adhesive. 

And that was all!

How Do You Remove Glued Hardwood Floors Without Damaging Them?

Glued hardwood flooring is extremely difficult to remove without damaging the surface. However, if you intend to reuse the planks for any other task, you have to know how to remove them without any damage. But yes, I understand that the task is not easy at all. 

Even after you manage to pull up the maximum portion of the flooring planks, the wood pieces at the subfloor remain. So the technique has to be different to pull up the planks without damaging them. 

To reuse the hardwood planks and remove them, you just need to be slow and cautious. Use a long pry bar to pull up the planks. But first, loosen the plank sides a bit using a chisel and hammer. With little strikes, you can loosen the adhesive from the planks.

After that, slowly pull up the edges of the hardwood planks. As the edges are loose, go towards the length of the hardwood plank. But go slow so that you don’t end up breaking or cracking the hardwood planks. 

After plucking up the glued hardwood planks with a pry bar and chisel and hammer, you have to clean the subfloor by scraping off the glue. Also, wipe off the planks neatly, stain them, and polish them well to prepare for a new project. 

Now if you have some broken pieces of wood and scrapes, you can sell them. These wood pieces are used to make reclaimed hardwood by recycling the disposed of wood remains. So for recycling, you can sell out the remaining woods. 

Related Questions: 

How To Say If The Hardwood Flooring Is Glued? 

Before you remove hardwood flooring, you must first know whether it is glued or not. The further procedure depends on that. 

If the flooring is nailed, you are likely to notice small nails all across the edges of the walls. In fact, some have small nails at the edges of each plank. But with glued hardwood flooring, the surface is flat and plain.

You can also look into the transition pieces as they are positioned in a track. This makes it easy to remove them. Also, note that most concrete subfloors have glued hardwood flooring on them. 

How Fast Can You Remove Glued Hardwood Flooring? 

The speed of removing glued hardwood flooring depends on one’s expertise. If you are an expert, you can take a few hours to remove the flooring in one room. 

However, an inexperienced person may even require 60 to 80 hours to complete a project. It totally depends on one’s skills. But in general, any average person can remove 10 square feet of glued hardwoods in one hour. That is the average time one usually takes. This can go up or down according to the tools you are using and your expertise. 

How To Loosen Glue From The Subfloor?

One of the biggest problems after scraping off hardwood flooring is cleaning out the adhesive from the subfloor. This makes the subfloor uneven and untidy. And you can’t install new flooring on this subfloor. 

To loosen glue from the subfloor, you have to apply a solution of warm water and detergent/ soap. Apply this on the floor to melt the glue a bit. Another way is to spread adhesive remover on the flooring. You can also use a heat gun to melt down the glue a bit.

After the glue gets loose and melts a little, use a scraper to scrape off the glue from the subfloor. Then sweep and mop the flooring well to remove the remaining debris and dirt. 

How To Remove Glue From Hardwood Flooring?

Even after removing hardwood flooring from the subfloor, the back part of the plank can have glue in it. This happens naturally as the glue dries out at the backside. 

If you are planning to reuse the flooring planks, you get to remove the glue from the planks. To do so, you can apply any adhesive remover on the glued areas. An alternative to this is to apply acetone.

Take it on a cotton pad and gently rub over the glue. If the layer is thick, you should keep the solution on it for 10 to 15 minutes. After that, scrub off the glue from the hardwood and wipe it off with a towel and warm water. 

How To Detach Glued Hardwood Planks? 

Sometimes two or more wooden planks stay attached to each other due to the adhesive. If this is the case, you have to go through a process to separate the planks. 

To separate glued hardwood flooring, you can simply pull the planks a bit to leave a gap. Now spray water in these gaps and heat the joint area slowly. The heat has to be mild. Do this to loosen the glue.

As you see the glue dissolving a bit, pull apart the wooden planks. The planks are supposed to detach by this. In the end, clean the planks to leave a smooth finish.

How Do You Remove Glue From Engineered Hardwood Floors?

To remove glue from engineered hardwood flooring, you can use different agents that would loosen the glue from the wood surface.

To dissolve the glue and detach it from the wood, you may use white vinegar, lemon juice, or rub mayonnaise. Apply any one of these agents on the glue. Let it sit and work on the glue for 20 to 30 minutes. Once the glue dissolves a bit, you can use a towel dipped in warm water to remove the residue of the glue. 

If you still find any layer of glue, repeat this once again until the glue is gone.

Will Mineral Spirits Remove Glue From Hardwood Floors?

Mineral spirit is rarely used for removing glue from hardwood floors. However, it is effective in removing glue from hardwood flooring.

Though mineral spirits can remove hardwood flooring adhesive, it has a drawback. The volatile spirit can be absorbed by the wood grains of the hardwood planks that can damage the planks severely. Hence, the process should be carried out carefully to avoid damage.flooring and let the spirit evaporate.

Final Thoughts:

If you have been struggling to remove glued hardwood flooring, it is solved by now, I believe. The procedure is in your hand and now it is your time to act on it. 

Follow the process, know the precautions, and start removing glued hardwood flooring. Be cautious if you are going to reuse the planks!

Jahidul Alam

Hello dear! This is Jahidul Alam. I am the admin of this Tidy Floor. I have been in the floor cleaning business for the last 20 years. My business is all about ensuring affordable flooring cleaning services for Americans.

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