How To Remove Glued Down Rubber Backed Carpet

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Removing flooring is never an easy task. And, when you involve glue, the job gets that much harder. Do you need tips on removing glued-down rubber-backed carpet? If that's your concern, we've researched the issue for you to bring you the best solutions! 

Unfortunately, removing rubber-backed carpet will require a lot of elbow grease. The initial task would be to use a utility knife to remove as much carpet and padding as possible. You'll have to revisit the whole area to remove the remaining bits of padding. Finally, you'll need a glue remover to remove the adhesive. 

The job will always seem simple in writing. Of course, there might be situations where you'll need more help. What's a good glue remover? Do homemade solutions work? These are some of the topics we discuss further ahead. 

Up close photo of pulled carpet padding, How To Remove Glued Down Rubber Backed Carpet

How To Remove Rubber Backing From Floors

It comes as no surprise that removing rubber-backed carpets is an arduous task. There is no easy way to do it. Whether it's on wood flooring or cement, it will take a lot of elbow grease. Unfortunately, there are no products that can help you accomplish this quickly. 

Many can attest that this is the case for anyone attempting to remove rubber-backed carpeting. So, if you're ready, let's get an overview of what you'll have to do! 

Carpet removed in the living room and in need of replacement

The initial job will have to be removing the carpeting. To do this, you'll need a utility knife or a scraper. If you don't have these tools on hand, you can always do your best to pull the carpet off of the floor.

The other options include hiring someone to remove it for you and renting a ride-on floor scraper or a handheld scraper. 

Using A Ride-On Floor Scraper or a Hand-Operated Scraper

Depending on the area you're working with, a floor scraper or a hand-operated scraper will be some tools you should consider using. If you're planning to remove carpeting from multiple rooms, a ride-on floor scraper can save you a lot of time. However, they do come at a hefty cost. 

Renting one would cost about $525 for three hours of use. It's a pricey option - but one that can save you a lot of time. If you're not familiar with how it works, here's a YouTube video demonstrating it: 

Of course, if you're on a budget, spending a ton of money to try and save time isn't an option. A more budget-friendly approach would be to use a floor stripper to remove the rubber backing. Unlike a ride-on floor scraper, you can rent a floor stripper at most hardware stores like Home Depot. 

Renting one will cost you $67 for four hours of use. If you'd like to use it for the whole day, it will cost around $95. So, if you're unable to do manual labor - or if you'd like to skip the burdensome task of removing rubber backing - a floor stripper is a worthy investment. 

If you'd like an idea of how it works, here's an instructional video of how to use one:

Removing Carpet with a Scraper

Unfortunately, if you can't find an area that rents these tools, you'll have to do the job manually. As mentioned, there's no quick and easy way to remove the glued-down rubber-backed carpet. You can attempt to use chemicals to help make the job easier. 

However, you're more likely to make a mess doing that. The best way to deal with the rubber foam removal is to use a scraper and a lot of elbow grease. It isn't a monumental task. At most, it will give you an arm workout. 

The main concern would be the remnants of the rubber backing. It's essential to know that there's no way to remove every bit. There will be some of the rubber backing left on the floor. Ignore it in the meantime as you remove most of it.

Pulling carpet on the side and in need of replacement

Once you've removed the carpet and as much of the rubber backing as you can, you can revisit areas with leftover pieces. Again, use a scraper to remove them. There are some situations where it might seem like it will take forever to remove the remaining rubber backing. 

Luckily, there are always people with tips online! One user found that you can remove rubber foam backing if you use a drill with a 3-inch knotted wire brush. You'll have to use it like a mini-sander on the spots with rubber backing. 

Click here to see this wire brush on Amazon.

If you'd like a demonstration on how it works, here's a YouTube video showing you what to do: 

Now all you'll have to worry about is the adhesive. There are many ways you can deal with it. So, without further ado, let's take a look at our options!

Dealing With the Glue

Once you finish removing as much of the rubber foam as you can, it's time to think about what to do with the adhesive/glue. If you want to remove the adhesive to settle with the flooring underneath, you'll need to try adhesive removers. 

A pulled carpet on photographed up close

However, if you're not worried about how it looks because you will be installing new flooring over the base, you can sand it to make a level surface. Let's go over what removers you can use to strip the floor of the glue. 

Removing Adhesive

If you want to remove the adhesive entirely, you might have to try various chemical or homemade solutions. When you look online, there are many recommendations. Some would suggest pouring boiling water on the floor to soften the glue. 

Another solution would be to use ice to harden it - making it easy to pick apart. However, some user feedback online would suggest these solutions either won't work - or they'll take too long. For relatively quick removal, you'll have to mess with chemical removers. 

Mineral Spirits

One chemical remover users recommend is mineral spirits. If you'd like to go this route, you need to use a rag and apply it to different areas. Let it sit for half an hour. Then, you can return to scrape the adhesive off. 

One important thing to note is that this method will still require a lot of elbow grease. Mineral spirits will only make removal slightly easier. 

Sentinel 747

If the mineral spirits route doesn't seem feasible for you, some recommend using the Sentinel 747 remover. If you'd like to try this method, you'll need to pour some on sections of the floor. Spread it evenly with a mop. 

Then, let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Grab a wire brush and scrub the area lightly. Finally, use a scraper to scrape the adhesive off. It'll take time - but it beats dealing with dry carpet glue. 

Some areas might not come off easily. If this is the case, you'll need to repeat the process. Meaning, pour more Sentinel 747, wait, and scrape it off. 

How To Remove Glued Down Carpet From Stairs

The process to remove glued-down carpet from stairs is the same as the steps above. However, you'll have to proceed with care because you're not on a level surface. As one user suggests, the basic rundown of what you'll have to do is pull all the carpet and use an adhesive remover on the leftover pieces. 

Since you'll most likely work in a tight and confined space, you can use pliers instead of your hands to pull the carpet off the stairs. 

How To Remove Carpet That Has Been Glued to Concrete

There are only slight differences when you're removing glued-down rubber-back carpet from wood or concrete. The only difference between the two is that you're more likely to damage hardwood flooring during the process.

With concrete, you won't have to worry much about damage. You can use any of the solutions above. If you want to avoid dusting, a floor stripper would be the best option to remove the carpet and backing.

As an example, here's a YouTube video showing one user handling the job with a floor stripper on concrete:

How To Remove Glued Down Carpet From Hardwood

The method with minimal damage to your hardwood flooring is using a scraper. If preventing damage is not a priority for you, you can also use a floor stripper machine to remove the rubber foam padding. What you want to do with the adhesive depends on your goals.

Keeping the condition of your flooring intact would be best if you call a professional to deal with the adhesive. If the solutions above don't work, it might tempt you to use harsh chemicals to remove the glue. It would be advisable to call a professional as a last resort instead.

Homemade Carpet Glue Remover

A homemade carpet glue remover is worth a shot when you don't want to use chemicals. One method many have found to be effective is pouring hot water over the area. To make this more effective, you can pour boiling water on a towel and let it rest on the floor.

When the glue is stubborn and won't soften with boiling water, you can mix a small amount of ammonia with dish detergent. Apply it to the area. Then, scraping the adhesive should be relatively trouble-free.

Final Takeaway

Up close photo of pulled carpet padding

Removing material that won't budge easily can be an irritating job. Luckily, many people online have shared their tips for success. We hope you found the information above helpful!

Before you go, do you have other types of flooring to remove? If you need help removing glued down wood flooring, check out our post:

How To Remove Glued Down Wood Flooring

Do you have tiled floors? If you need tips for removing them, check out our post: 

How To Remove Tile And Grout From Floor

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