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View Full Version : DIYers: How to get old carpet padding up from hardwood floor


simply_cats
03-03-2006, 08:36 AM
I just bought a house (yay, me!)! Now comes the daunting task of making it "mine." Step one includes painting, which I am ready to do.

Now, it has been my plan all along to take up the carpet in the living room and the family room, which supposedly conceal hardwood floors. The problem appears to be that the carpet padding (which is kind of charcoal colored, thin, foam kind of stuff) appears to be adhering to the floor. I do not know if the carpet was glued on, or if it has simply mutated and melted over the last sixty years. At any rate, assuming that

a) there are hardwood floors under there, and
b) the padding stuff is simply "melted" on...

what are some good ways of getting this up? Any advice whatsoever? I have very, very little money to put into doing this. Thanks :)

Jana

CalMeacham
03-03-2006, 08:39 AM
If it's like ours, it's largely "melted" in. I suggest peeling it up as much as you can.

We've found that Murphy's Oil Soap does a great job of cleaning crud off wood. We used it to clean a glass-frinted cabinet that had been neglected for years, and it came out beautiful. It took many going--over, however. But MOS wiill get an amazing amount of stuck-on crud off wood without scratching or harming the finish.

simply_cats
03-03-2006, 08:41 AM
If it's like ours, it's largely "melted" in. I suggest peeling it up as much as you can.

We've found that Murphy's Oil Soap does a great job of cleaning crud off wood. We used it to clean a glass-frinted cabinet that had been neglected for years, and it came out beautiful. It took many going--over, however. But MOS wiill get an amazing amount of stuck-on crud off wood without scratching or harming the finish.


Thank you, thank you for the quick reply! I knew I could count on the Doper community. :)

CalMeacham
03-03-2006, 09:02 AM
I'm sure someone will be along to say that MOS is precisely the wrong stuff to use. I'm not an expert -- I just know the stuff worked for us.

Cheesesteak
03-03-2006, 09:03 AM
I would suggest painting before uncovering the wood floor, the carpet is a ready-made, edge to edge dropcloth, as long as you don't spill a huge amount, of course.

A scraper of some sort may help as well, I'm thinking of either gentle work with a metal putty knife, or more vigorous effort with a plastic putty knife.

Sal Ammoniac
03-03-2006, 09:21 AM
You can also buy at one of the big-box home stores a kind of adhesive removal for floors. I just recently bought some (look in the tiling section). It's really used for getting tile mastic up, and does a good job with that, but may well work for your situation as well. At about $5 for a half quart, it might be worth experimenting with it.

simply_cats
03-03-2006, 09:53 AM
Thanks for all the tips :) Painting is first, uncovering the hidden treasure that is (I hope) my beautiful wood floor comes later :)

NurseCarmen
03-03-2006, 11:02 AM
If it is an adhesive, you may want to try a citrus cleaner. One thing to consider is if the house has always been carpeted, the wood floors are probably not protected. So you'll want to get a floor sander and use a screen (A type of sandpaper, you'll see what I mean if you rent one) before you poly. The screen will get up any that you can't get, and provide an even surface for poly.

The tack board and staples are a giant PITA. I found that for the staples, the best method for removal is an adjustable pliers (http://news.thomasnet.com/images/medium/2004/05/451852.jpg), grap the staple, then roll the pliers on the top.

As far is polyurethane, water based is fast, low odor, and actually stronger than oil based. Oil based does give that warm amber tint though.

More than you wanted to know.

elbows
03-03-2006, 11:06 AM
I went through a very similar experience when we purchased our home.

When we finally removed the 40 yr old wall to wall broadloom from the livingroom and entryway we found magnificent inlaid hardwood floors, a beautiful cherrywood pattern in the livingroom and an elegant twisting border in the entry. When people first enter our home we can count on them to say, "Wow, nice floors!"

Absolutely stunning, we were gobsmacked! As it is, afterall a humble, if very old, Victorian cottage. Such a grand thing in such a humble dwelling led me to make some inquiries.

There are many grand Victorian homes in another part of this fair city, large ramblers with turrets, and spires, stained glass, mansions many of them. But the part of town I live in is much more humble. It turns out this area was not then part of the city, it was where the woodmill was located and came to be where the workmen who actually built the mansions of Old South constructed their homes. Many of the little homes around me sport unique and interesting features you'd expect only on grander edifaces. Most likely because as they worked along side each other they would see these grand finishes and strike deals to swap trades with their coworkers in the construction of their own homes.

Many wonderful surprises await those who refurbish old homes, I know you'll enjoy the journey. We sure are.

Philster
03-03-2006, 01:03 PM
Mineral spirits can be used.

Carpet Tape adhesive can be removed with an all-purpose adhesive remover. A yellow looking substance is generally carpet adhesive and can be lightly scraped or chipped off easily, and an all purpose adhesive remover will work.

Once the adhesive is removed, the floor can be sanded with a coarse paper and then re-sanded with finer paper.

In some cases, carpeting over a hardwood floor is installed with wooden tack strips. After the carpet has been removed and the tack strips are pulled up, wood putty then can be used to fill the holes.

You can purchase colored wood putty to match the color of the stain if your floor is to remain uncovered. In this case you want to avoid using sandpaper, apply the colored wood putty using a 1" putty knife and take a rag with the appropriate thinner for the putty, fold it into a pad and wipe the excess from the surface while the putty is still wet.

2nd Law
03-03-2006, 04:20 PM
I recently bought an old house, and one of the previous owners GLUED the carpeting on the second floor to the oak floors.

I've been using an adhesive stripper and following up with a floor sander (the rotary kind, not the belt kind). Very time intensive, nasty chemicals, damn near had a hernia carrying the sander toi the second floor, but the results are worth the work.

03-03-2006, 05:09 PM
[QUOTE=Cheesesteak]A scraper of some sort may help as well, I'm thinking of either gentle work with a metal putty knife, or more vigorous effort with a plastic putty knife.[/QUOTEJust go ahead and use the metal scraper. Or even a sharpened sidewalk ice scraper.

Given that the carpet padding has 'melted' into the wood floor, and that the floor has been under this carpet for years, you are going to have to sand & refinish the wood anyway.

So just remove the padding the fastest way, and don't worry much about the minor damage you do to the wood in the process.

GrizzRich
03-04-2006, 12:07 AM
I'd say and a stiff-bristled (not WIRE!) brush with a long handle would work to unstick that padding. Then use a stiff-bristled brush with a citrus-based cleanser.

spingears
03-04-2006, 01:22 PM
DIYers: How to get old carpet padding up from hardwood?
Recently did the same thing but didn't have extreme problems.
One carpet on old time "Ozite" felt like cushion came up fairly easily with a few spots adhering to old varnish on oak flooring. Originally installed about 50 years ago.
One bed room and hall had the cheap? foam rubber/synthetic cushion. In areas of traffic and/or heavy furniture it had adhered to the varnish with a tenacity defying all but the most intense scraping with heavy duty paint scrapers and heavy sanding.
Oil-soap and water assissted in removal.

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