Old glue on oak floor

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Leay, Mar 24, 2004.

  1. Leay

    Leay Well-Known Member

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    We have been renovating an old farm house on my SO's farmette and have gotten the living/dining room done except for the floor. This old house has oak floors in every room and we want to sand and seal them but we are having a problem getting the old glue off that was used when they installed linoleum probably 50 years ago. We even tried ZipStrip and that wouldn't cut it. The only thing that has worked has been to chip it off with a putty knife but that will take forever and is scarring up the wood. Someone told me about a "hot knife??" Apparently this tool softens up the glue. Does anyone have some advice for us? We would just rent a floor sander but I'm sure that the sanding pads would get gummed up too quickly.....
    Thanks for any help!
    Leay
     
  2. JWH123

    JWH123 Well-Known Member

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    Is the glue black stuff that kind of smells like pine if you wet it?

    I forget the name of that stuff, but I had luck just wetting it down and letting it get a bit softer, then scraping and eventually mopping up the last bits. Let the floor dry thoroughly (a week or two) after this cleaning and then start working on it.

    I used a 3" plastic putty knife on it to remove most of the gunk. Another thing that may work well is those green scotch-brite cleaning pads from 3M. They also make large pads that would be used on the 36" diameter floor buffing machines, used to strip off floor wax before re-doing institutional floors. Maybe check janitorial supply houses for this type of stripper pad?

    Think about investing in knee pads!

    John
     

  3. Yankee1

    Yankee1 Well-Known Member

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    I would ask the rental place if they have a pad designed for your needs. You cant be the first person to have this situation.
     

  4. You may be referring to a heat gun. It is used to remove old paint on houses, etc. I'm sure your local home improvement store sells them, or you may be able to rent them at a rental equipment company, as I am not sure how much it costs to buy them. I would also inquire if this will work for the glue. Wouldn't want it to cause you more problems. Good luck with your floors! I'm sure they will be beautiful when you finish.
    Cheryl
     
  5. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    We had a huge thread about this a few months back, but it might have been lost in the server switch. Try doing a search. If the glue is dark brown or black, it may be pine tar, which was used as glue in the early 1900s. If it's a later industrial glue, I can't say whether my following advice will help.
    After doing this twice, I have it down. Take about a cup of Murphy's Oil Soap into a 2 gallon bucket of HOT tap water. Get one of those stiff nylon brushes you use to scrub a tub. Get the glue really wet with the soap water and let it sit about 5 minutes. Scrape up the glue with a putty knife. You may have to do this a few times. Use the brush to work the soap into the glue and also on the last pass to rub off the residue. If you are inclined to indulge, a few beers makes this job much more enjoyable. ;)
    DON'T get the sander until the glue's off. Those sheets for the drum sander are $2 or 3 each and they gum up instantly if there's a lot of glue. Also be careful if any of the flooring is surface nailed. The nails must be sunk below the surface. If you spark the sander on the nails, you can start a fire in the dust bag (trust me :eek: ), or worse yet, if the dust bag is faulty, you can actually ignite the dust in the air and it will explode. No smoking or open flames.
    Finally, use a water-based poly. You can get 7 or 8 coats down in a day, which should be enough to protect your work for years. Good luck and report back.
     
  6. shakeytails in KY

    shakeytails in KY Well-Known Member

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    Heat guns only cost about $20. Not sure if it will work- not familiar with the type of adhesive you're dealing with. You could go to the hardware store and get several different kinds of solvents(MEK, acetone, etc.) and experiment to see which one works. Ventilate well and wear gloves, etc when working with this stuff. Or you could just spend more on sanding pads and sand the crud off. Good luck- I sure don't envy the work ahead of you!
     
  7. Leay

    Leay Well-Known Member

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    Gosh, thanks to everyone who replied so quickly!
    To John.... The glue isn't black, it is a amber color and it is very brittle and hard. ZipStrip won't even soften it. You mentioned Scotch-brite pads and ironically enough, I work for 3M and looked into them also but was told that they would gum up really quickly if I didn't get the glue up first before sanding the floor. We make the pads at the plant I work for. We also have a clean 'n strip pad that I thought about but I think that would be way to harsh for a hardwood floor. Thanks for the advise! I WILL defeat this floor!
    Leay
     
  8. stickinthemud

    stickinthemud Well-Known Member Supporter

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    try www.oldhousejournal.com. This has been in the magazine so should be on the website. (my back issues are on loan to friends withnew old house so sorry I cant check them)
    CW
     
  9. Leay

    Leay Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Cheryl!
    This tool that I was told about was some kind of heated putty knife. (At least that was the way I understood it) I have asked about it at rental places and no one seems to know what I'm talking about so the information I got could have been faulty. I checked with a flooring place and they recommended a glue stripper. We tried that and that wouldn't soften it either. I wonder just what these people glued this linoleum down with! (smile)
    I may just have to buy a ton of floor pads and start sanding. We chipped away a 2X2 foot section and then sanded it with a belt sander just to see how it would look and it IS beautiful.
    Nothing better than old houses!
    Leay
     
  10. Leay

    Leay Well-Known Member

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    OK, Fin! I'm printing this off to refer to and I'm definately going to try this. (I think maybe a cooler of beer will be in order here...) I completely renovated a house that I bought years ago that had been partially burnt in a fire and I usually know my way around this kind of thing but this GLUE has me spinning in circles. I will report back and thanks so much!
    Leay
     
  11. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    You won't get very far sanding. If that glue is any thicker than a coat of paint, the first three rotations your sander makes will gum it up. I've seem 60 grit (which is basically pebbles glued onto the sheet) gum up. If you had to chip a layer away, you need to strip before sanding. And you also need to remember that whatever you sand ends up in your lungs and on every surface in your house, regardless of how well you seal the room off.
    Try the Murphy's soap. It's safe and it works.
     
  12. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Good luck, Leay-that project will make you wonder: If Murphy's is so good at stripping the finish off wood floors, why do they recommend it for cleaning them?
     
  13. Leay

    Leay Well-Known Member

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    We checked with a flooring place and they recommended a product that we tried. It didn't work at all. This stuff is like concrete! We may have to try a different solvent. I think I'm going to try the Murphy's and just leave it set on there for awhile. And I agree, the work ahead doesn't sound like alot of fun to me. The only upside is that the rest of the rooms don't have this damn GLUE on them. They will be easy to sand!
    Thanks for the help.
    Leay
     
  14. Leay

    Leay Well-Known Member

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    Well, I've saved that link! Thanks for sending it on to me. I love the show and watch it whenever I can. I guess fixing up old houses is one of my favorite things to do. Thanks for the help, stick!
    Leay
     
  15. I also reccomend the murpheys suggestions. If your floor finish is less than perfect, it will strip the floor. It did mine, over a matter of months. The house was built in the 50's and had been covered in nasty brown carpet since the 70's when we pulled it up about 4 yrs ago. We opted to recarpet, however, as our end goal is selling and getting out of town a bit further. It also stripped the sealant of the wood molding, but not the kitchen cabinets, as it seems the previous owners sealed right over the dirt. Something we didn't look for as first time homebuyers back in '95. Oh well, lesson learned. Anyhoo, HTH.
     
  16. Highground

    Highground Well-Known Member

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    Leay, you say the glue is amber, brittle and hard. If it's brittle, why not just keep hitting it with a rubber mallet and sweep up the glue then scrap up what's left with a plastic putty knife.
    Seems to me if you're trying to liquify it to get it off, it will just seep into the grain of the wood and cause more work.
     
  17. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    I also suggest a heat gun. Don't buy the cheapest one they have....they often burn out very quick.

    Be careful NOT to scorch the wood with a heat gun! It can leave very bad marks if you are not careful.
    clove
     
  18. ''This Old House''recently featured one of Napier Environmental's new generation non toxic strippers[ www.napierenvironmental.com]The company has a product specifically designed for removing glue and mastic from floors under their ''Removall'' line
     
  19. Leay

    Leay Well-Known Member

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    Highground, I hadn't thought of that. Worth a try. Between the Murphy's, heat gun and rubber mallet, I just might get this floor done yet. I'll try to post a picture of the end result. Hopefully it will be beautiful. Thanks to everyone for their ideas!
    Leay