The Ultimate Guide to Removing Glued Down Wood Floors

The Ultimate Guide to Removing Glued Down Wood Floors

Wood flooring offers a touch of classic elegance to any room. Yet, there are instances when homeowners might need to remove them, especially if they’re glued down to the subfloor. This can pose certain challenges. Whether you’re looking to renovate or deal with an aging floor, understanding the correct procedure can save both time and avoid potential damage. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of efficiently removing glued-down wood floors.

Is it necessary to remove the subfloor post wood floor removal?

It isn’t always necessary to remove the subfloor after removing a glued-down wood floor. Whether you should remove the subfloor depends on several factors:

  • Condition of the Subfloor: If the subfloor is damaged, warped, or has extensive adhesive residue that can’t be effectively cleaned, you might consider removing or replacing it.
  • Type of New Flooring: Different flooring options have varied requirements. For example, if you’re planning to install carpet, it might be more forgiving of minor imperfections in the subfloor than a new wood or tile floor would be.
  • Adhesive Residue: Some adhesives can be challenging to remove entirely. If the residue might interfere with the new flooring or its adhesive, further action (like subfloor removal or thorough cleaning) may be needed.
  • Leveling and Smoothness: For some flooring types, especially tiles or laminates, a smooth and level subfloor is crucial. If the existing subfloor doesn’t meet these requirements, additional preparations or replacements might be necessary.

However, in many cases, after removing the wood floor, you can prepare the existing subfloor (clean, patch, level) for the new flooring without needing to remove it entirely.

Step-by-Step Process:

1. Preparing the Room

Begin by removing any baseboards or trim around the room. If you’re considering reinstalling them later, label each piece sequentially on the back. This will aid in putting them back in their exact locations.

2. Determine Wood Flooring Depth

You can ascertain this depth by checking the gap previously covered by the baseboard. For precision, use a piece of wire to measure the difference between the top of the subfloor and the top of the wood floor.

3. Setting Your Circular Saw

Adjust your saw to match the depth of the wood flooring, ensuring it doesn’t cut deeper than needed.

4. Initial Cuts

Make cuts along the seams in the wood floor at intervals of 12 to 18 inches. This will help dislodge any tongue and groove connections binding the flooring sections.

5. Making the Grid

Now, cut in a perpendicular direction to your first set of cuts. This action divides the glued sections into manageable pieces, making removal smoother.

6. Starting the Removal

Insert a pry bar in the space between the wall and the wood flooring to raise a section. For stubbornly fixed flooring, use a mini sledgehammer to aid the pry bar, but ensure the surrounding walls remain undamaged.

7. Continue the Process

Once the initial section is up, methodically remove the rest. Use the pry bar and mini sledgehammer combination as needed. Continue until the entire wood flooring is removed.

8. Clean the Subfloor

Post removal, you may find adhesive residues. Use a metal-edged putty knife to scrape these off. Depending on the subfloor’s condition and the new flooring type you intend to install, you may need to consider if replacing the subfloor is beneficial.

Removing glued-down wood floors can be a meticulous process, but with the right approach and tools, it can be achieved efficiently. Always remember the key lies in patience and precision. If you’re uncertain about any step, consider consulting with a flooring professional.

Can I reuse the removed wood floor?

Depending on the wood’s condition and how cleanly it was removed, some pieces might be reusable. However, always check for damage and wear before considering reuse.

What if the adhesive doesn’t come off easily from the subfloor?

In stubborn cases, you might need to use a solvent or adhesive remover. Ensure it’s safe for your subfloor type and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Posted by
James C. Fortune

I have been writing for both print and online media for over 15 years. I also have a keen interest in DIY and Home Improvements, and have written several hundred guides and how-to's on this subject.