How to Remove Glued Hardwood Floors (DIY Hacks)

Glue-down hardwood floors are one of the most durable and robust floor coverings in use for years. Unfortunately, they are not easy to remove because of their durability nature. However, it is not that complicated if you are ready to get the right tools.

There are many reasons to remove glued-down hardwood floors, and the process is time-consuming needing rapt attention.

Doing it the wrong way can make the whole work messy and cause damage because of strong adhesives. In this article, we will talk about how to remove glued hardwood floors, how to know if your floor is glued down`

How to remove glued hardwood floors?

How to Remove Glued Hardwood Floors

Materials Needed

  • A putty knife
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Protective goggles
  • Circular saw
  • Knee pads
  • Pry bar
  • Breathing mask
  • Work gloves
  • Closed-toe shoes

Step By Step Procedures

  • Prepare while making safety your first priority

Before starting the work, ensure to put on the necessary materials to keep you safe during the work. Wear protective goggles, work gloves, closed-toe shoes, and other protective materials.

Now, put away furniture that might get in the way while working. Ensure to protect the furniture, appliances, or light fixtures with a cover to prevent any unforeseen damages. Place plastic sheeting to cover any item you can’t move.

  • Measure and mark the area

Next, measure and mark the area you need to work on. If you are removing just a small part of the flooring, mark that area for replacement. You can make use of painter’s tape to do the marking.

This is necessary because it will indicate the parts that require removal. It will also avoid moving to other flooring parts that were meant to stay fixed.

To mark the floor, put a line of tape on the joint of the hardwood where the edge you want to remove will meet. You can also decide to mark the points where you will remove them.

  • Cut the flooring into manageable sizes.

Make use of your circular saw to divide the flooring every 2 to 3 inches. Ensure the cuts are perpendicular to the flooring direction and next to the line of tape you marked on the wooden floor.

It is a good move to position your circular saw blade at the same thickness as the hardwood floor. Be careful not to cut into the floor’s tongue, affecting floorings that were meant to stay fixed.

  • Remove the wood pieces.

Finally, remove the wood flooring by prying off the wood pieces you’ve prepared to remove. This will require applying minimal to a lot of elbow grease. This may not even come easily if the hardwood is firmly glued down. You may need some items to make it easier.

The best option is to make use of a hammer and chisel. A long-handle pry is typically good for this job. First, make sure to detach the baseboards before you start.

Next, place your long-handle pry bar along the edge of the wood board and lift. It should become easy to remove. Try to chunk the pry bar under the hardwood, where you cut each section with the circular saw for more control. If it doesn’t come that way, apply more effort to pull it off.

Chisel concrete

A chisel is typically good at removing glued hardwood floors from concrete. This could be challenging, especially if this is your first time. Removing the floor and glue is more complex and time-consuming if glued to a concrete subfloor. Your wood may end up coming in pieces because of the string nature of the adhesive.

Use a chisel and hammer to scrape the hardwood pieces off the subfloor, taking you near the boards. Use an oscillating tool with a scraping attachment for glues that prove stubborn.

The tool helps when there is a lot of glue on the concrete subfloor. Gently push the scraper under the glue.

  • Get rid of the glue

Use a hand scraper with a long handle to deal with most of the glue on your subfloor. Use a scraper attachment on a reciprocating saw for sections that are hard to pull. Large spaces and stuck-on glue often have a stronger adhesion that is hard to get rid of without a power scraper.

Try using an adhesive remover or stripper if the glue isn’t coming off. They help in dislodging glues on your subfloor. Pour a generous amount into the area and spread it with a putty knife.

However, they may leave behind a residue that could get absorbed into your new floor and affect the adhesion. It is good to read the new floor’s warranty information before moving on with an adhesive stripper.

Removing hardwood: Power Scraper vs. Hand

Usually, professionals use a power scraper to bring down glued hardwood floors. This tool is heavy and large with a blade on the front, saving you stress while doing the work.

You can rent power scrapers at large tool-rental stores or people who put them up for rent. If you have an automobile that brings the machine down to your house, it is advisable to rent it instead of spending hours getting the job done.

The difficulty of using hands depends on the glue used, how strong the glue is, and how wide the hardwood boards are. Also, it may be easy to pull up small planks that professionals don’t install.

Removing glued hardwood floors requires a lot of time, so be patient enough to get the right tools and get the job done.

How to remove glued hardwood floors without causing damage?


The purpose of removing hardwood floors varies. You may be removing it because you want to refinish your floors or fix water damage which will require doing so.

There is a guess you will need to reuse it in this case. In that regard, you need to be extra careful when removing glued hardwood floors not to cause damage. Use a standing pry bar and lift each board one after the other. Be careful when pulling the wood pieces up to avoid breaks.

After successfully removing the hardwood, clean each board with a damp cloth or towel. Keep the wood in a dry, cool spot until you are ready to use them again. You can use the wood for another project, sand and refinish it, or sell it to a local company.

When to re-install new flooring?

After removing all glues and detaching the hardwood from the subfloor, clean and wait for a day to install new flooring. Consider some factors, like the real reason behind replacing the hardwood and the time required to dry the subfloor.

Installing the new floor the next day is a wise choice since it allows the concrete to gain the right moisture levels.

How to tell if your floor is glued down?

In the case of moving to a new house, you may not be aware of their choice of flooring installation. You can detect how you can tell if the hardwood is glued down through various means. One, check the thresholds and transition pieces. You can easily predict the hardwood is glued if the subfloor is concrete.

In the case of a concrete subfloor, check the joints in the floor panels and corners. You will notice adhesive lines, which will prove the floor is glued down. Also, inspect for nails around the room’s perimeter.

The wood floor is probably fixed down to the subfloor. However, removing the hardwood floor 11fixed to the subfloor with nails is quite easy.

How difficult is it to remove glue on hardwood floors?

It may be easy to remove the wood flooring and glue it in a room in a few hours. The real task comes when it is already stuck to the subfloor. You could rent a power tool to conserve energy by removing glued hardwood floors in multiple rooms. Local tool rentals put up rent for a price per hour. You should be aware that the tool is large and heavy.

How long does it take to remove hardwood floors?

How long it takes depends on the method you choose. If a professional is the one helping you with it, it can take between 1 to 3 days. If you are the one doing it yourself, it may take up to a week or more. It also depends on the size of the project. Adhesives are strong and can be quite difficult to remove.

What’s the cost of removing glued hardwood floors?

The pricing varies based on the condition, the kind of flooring, and other factors. However, the basic charge ranges between $2.5 and $3.5.


I hope this article has been able to do justice to the question, “how to remove glued hardwood floors?” With this guide, you should be able to get the work done with no headache or confusion. Cheers!