How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring on Concrete

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DIY tips and video showing How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring or Engineered Wood Flooring and Flooring Adhesive on Concrete.

Hi guys, I’m moving right along on big changes in my house that started with my tutorial for how to cut and hang drywall. I closed off an opening between my foyer and our playroom/den area to make both rooms more functional. Now, I’m sharing how to remove glued wood flooring on concrete as the next step in remodeling these two rooms.

I’m adding a wall of built-ins in the playroom, but really needed to remove the glued down wood flooring that has had some damage to it since a window leaked during hurricane Harvey. Luckily it didn’t flood in our house, but a lot of homes in our area had to clean up flood damage.

The flooring near the window in the playroom had buckled and warped in a few spots from a strange leak on the worst day of sideways rain. So, in addition to removing an arched doorway in a wall of this room, I needed to rip up the bad flooring.

I’ll eventually install tile flooring in this room too. Tile just seems safer than wood in Houston. If you need some tips for how to install floor tile, I shared a good walkthrough when I tiled during my Master Bathroom Remodel last year.

DIY tips and video showing How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring or Engineered Wood Flooring and Flooring Adhesive on Concrete. DIY Steps and How To Video showing how to remove glued wood flooring on concrete and how to remove adhesive on concrete floors. How to scrape glue off concrete floors.
Don’t forget to save this DIY on Pinterest.

Instead of babbling on, let’s get to How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring And Adhesive on Concrete. 🙂

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What I Used to Remove Engineered Wood Flooring on Concrete

How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring on Concrete Video

If any of the steps for How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring or Engineered Hardwood on Concrete are confusing, I highly recommend watching the short video. Hopefully seeing it done can help clear up any confusion.

DIY Steps to Remove Glued Flooring in Your Home

Step One

First, you need to find a starting point. I happened to have a loose board, due to a window leak during Hurricane Harvey. But, this room connects to a carpeted hallway. Starting with a board along that carpeted spot would have been easy too.

Another way to start in a room is to cut a 1′ x 1′ wide square of flooring with a circular saw. So, to do this, set the depth of the saw to slightly less than the depth of the flooring. If your flooring is 1/2″ thick, set the saw depth to about 3/8″ deep.

That way you can cut your square without hitting the concrete pad. Once the square is cut in the flooring, use the pry bar and hammer or flooring chisel and hammer to remove the flooring from that section.

Once you have that square removed, you’ll have access to the boards around it.

How to use a pry bar and hammer to remove glued engineered flooring on concrete.
I hold the board up with one tool while walking the tools along the board and prying the board up. You can see how I do this in the video above.

Step Two

Pick a board that starts inside your square and hammer the pry bar under the end of the board. Once the pry bar is under the end, slowly work the pry bar down the board with the hammer until you can pop the whole board up.

If the board starts to crack or split in a spot, stop working that spot and move a little further down the board to try again. Trying to keep the board in one piece makes clean up easier and leaves less board fragments on the concrete that will have to be chiseled away.

DIY tips and video showing How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring or Engineered Wood Flooring and Flooring Adhesive on Concrete.
This board was splitting and cracking in certain spots when I tried removing it. When that happens, I remove the pry bar and move to a new spot to try to remove the board in 1 piece.

Step Three

You’ll get a feel for how to remove glued wood flooring on concrete after 10 minutes or so. The flooring planks that have the longest area not connected to other boards will be the easiest to remove. Start with those and just take your time to reduce mess and extra work. Watch my video above to see exactly how I remove glued wood floors on concrete.

If you are removing glued flooring in multiple rooms. You might want to rent a power tool from your local tool rental company. Ask about the price per hour and decide if it’s worth it to you. Those machines can also be quite big and heavy. So, plan on how you will get it home and lift it in and out of your car.

I removed all the flooring in my one room in less than 2 hours, so that was actually faster than it would have been to drive to get the rental, go back home, do the removal, drive the rental back, and return home. Also, it would have been a massive pain lifting that machine in and out of my car. 🙂

DIY tips and video showing How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring or Engineered Wood Flooring and Flooring Adhesive on Concrete.
The glue on my engineered wood flooring really stuck to the poured floor leveler in some spots. The boards were almost impossible to get off in a solid piece there.

How to Dispose of Old Wood or Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Most trash removal companies can’t and/or won’t take construction material. You’ll likely have to take the old flooring to a local dump or recycling center that can handle construction material. But, it’s worth googling your local options. Some garbage companies have 1 day a month that they pick up construction materials and other large items.

I bagged mine in heavy duty construction bags. I hate adding that to landfills, but I can’t really individually load hundreds of pieces of flooring into a truck and then unload hundreds of pieces at the dump.

You might have luck calling local flooring companies to find out what they do with old flooring in your area.

Can you burn old wood flooring or engineered flooring?

No, please don’t burn it. Even without the adhesive a lot of wood and engineered flooring has been treated in chemicals that can be toxic when burned. The adhesive can also be toxic when burned. Old wood and engineered flooring might also have mold or fungus that can be breathed in when burned. So skip the indoor and outdoor burning.

For the same toxic chemical, mold, and fungus reasons, you can’t turn old wood floors into mulch or bury it either. Did anyone else have Grandpa’s that were always burying garbage in their yards? Mine did. Yikes! Who knows what leached into the ground water back in the day.

What I Used to Remove Adhesive on Concrete

How to Remove Adhesive on Concrete Floor

After you’ve figured out how to remove glued wood floors on concrete, it’s time to remove the adhesive that’s left behind.

There are a lot of ways to remove adhesive on concrete floors. Most of them are tools to help you get the work done. You should pick the way you want to remove the adhesive on concrete floors depending on how big your space is and how much adhesive is left on your floors.

A flooring chisel with a hand guard is a great tool for scraping light amounts of adhesive off concrete. The end is sharp enough that you can push the chisel across the concrete and light strips of adhesive will easily scrape off. And, it’s perfect for using with a hammer to pop up broken scraps of flooring.

DIY tips and video showing How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring or Engineered Wood Flooring and Flooring Adhesive on Concrete.
Use a flooring chisel with a hand guard and a hammer to hammer scraps of glued down flooring off of concrete.

You can also find a stand up version of a heavy duty flooring scraper, that you can use without bending over. It helps save your back if your adhesive is coming up easy enough for a scraper alone. If you need to use the hammer with the chisel or if your adhesive is too strong to work with a stand up chisel, you’ll have to move on to one of the other options.

If you have hard to remove adhesive or bigger spots of adhesive to remove from concrete floors, you can try scraping it off with an oscillating tool with a scraper attachment. It looks easy, but it’s still hard work. You have to apply pressure to get the scraper beneath the glue.

For me, it was easier where the adhesive was actually on the concrete slab. If the adhesive was on the poured floor leveler (lighter grey areas) then that adhesive was really fighting me and much harder to scrape up.

Using an oscillating tool with a scraping attachment to remove adhesive from a concrete floor.

If you have a lot of adhesive to remove from a concrete floor, or multiple rooms, you might want to use flooring adhesive stripper. Pour it on nice and thick and spread it around. The stripper I used has very low odor and is easy to use inside a home your still living it. I got absolutely no headache or bother from this chemical.

I do recommend pouring the stripper on in reachable sections, so that you don’t have to stand on gummy, tacky areas after you’ve scraped that a spot. AND, remember stripper doesn’t mean that it will be easy to remove the adhesive, just easier. You’ll still have to put in effort while scraping. And, you will need a second layer of stripper in some spots.

Pouring on Klean Strip Flooring adhesive Stripper. I used a putty knife to spread it around. You can see that in the video below. Be sure to leave it thick enough to work properly.
Using the flooring chisel to scrape up the gummy flooring adhesive after the stripper was left overnight to work.

The last way to remove adhesive on concrete that I want to tell you about is with a big, heavy duty floor scraper that you can rent from your local tool rental company. These things are about 4′ high and around 130 pounds, generally. So, plan ahead for how you will lift and transport it.

They also can be pricey too, depending on how long you need it. Home Depot rents one for about $65 for 4 hours. And, you probably have to buy a new scraper attachment when you rent it.

Those big, heavy duty scrapers can save your back and time, when you have multiple rooms to scrape. Think about the pros and cons of all of those options when you decide which way to scrape adhesive off of concrete floors you want to use. Check out the video below to see the three I went with and the 2 I didn’t.

5 Ways to Remove Flooring Adhesive on Concrete Video

Watch this video to see how I removed the adhesive on my concrete slab.

That’s it for How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring And Adhesive on Concrete, guys.

Looking for more of my Home Remodeling Videos? Check out this DIY Home Improvement playlist on YouTube.


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Feeling inspired? Now that you’ve read these tips for How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring And Adhesive on Concrete, you can do it too. Let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.

How to Remove Glued Wood Floors

DIY tips and video showing How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring or Engineered Wood Flooring and Flooring Adhesive on Concrete.
DIY tips and video showing How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring or Engineered Wood Flooring and Flooring Adhesive on Concrete.

Tools

  • Flooring Chisel with Hand Guard
  • Oscillating Tool with Scraper Attachment
  • Flooring Adhesive Stripper

Instructions

If any of the steps for How to Remove Glued Wood Flooring or Engineered Hardwood on Concrete are confusing, I highly recommend watching the short video. Hopefully seeing it done can help clear up any confusion.

Step One

  1. First, you need to find a starting point. I happened to have a loose board, due to a window leak during Hurricane Harvey. But, this room connects to a carpeted hallway. Starting with a board along that carpeted spot would have been easy too.
  2. Another way to start in a room is to cut a 1′ x 1′ wide square of flooring with a circular saw. So, to do this, set the depth of the saw to slightly less than the depth of the flooring. If your flooring is 1/2″ thick, set the saw depth to about 3/8″ deep.
  3. That way you can cut your square without hitting the concrete pad. Once the square is cut in the flooring, use the pry bar and hammer or flooring chisel and hammer to remove the flooring from that section.
  4. Once you have that square removed, you’ll have access to the boards around it.

Step Two

  1. Pick a board that starts inside your square and hammer the pry bar under the end of the board. Once the pry bar is under the end, slowly work the pry bar down the board with the hammer until you can pop the whole board up.
  2. If the board starts to crack or split in a spot, stop working that spot and move a little further down the board to try again. Trying to keep the board in one piece makes clean up easier and leaves less board fragments on the concrete that will have to be chiseled away.

Step Three

  1. You’ll get a feel for how to remove glued wood flooring on concrete after 10 minutes or so. The flooring planks that have the longest area not connected to other boards will be the easiest to remove. Start with those and just take your time to reduce mess and extra work. Watch my video above to see exactly how I remove glued wood floors on concrete.
  2. If you are removing glued flooring in multiple rooms. You might want to rent a power tool from your local tool rental company. Ask about the price per hour and decide if it’s worth it to you. Those machines can also be quite big and heavy. So, plan on how you will get it home and lift it in and out of your car.
  3. I removed all the flooring in my one room in less than 2 hours, so that was actually faster than it would have been to drive to get the rental, go back home, do the removal, drive the rental back, and return home. Also, it would have been a massive pain lifting that machine in and out of my car.