Guys, I’m hoping you can give me some DIY advice. The sun room in our new house was covered in an impossibly foul carpet, and after ripping it out there was a thick gray carpet pad stuck to the concrete. After hours of scraping, the majority of padding is gone, but a wickedly stubborn residue remains.


Screen shot 2012-08-07 at 4.42.38 PM

There’s exactly ONE clean spot of concrete right now, there on the step where I spent 30 minutes scrubbing it with a wire brush and a deadly solvent.

Have any of you dealt with this bullshit before? Any suggestions for getting the residue off during the next decade?

PS: The rest of the house is coming along. New kitchen floors are in:


Screen shot 2012-08-07 at 4.54.21 PM

Still to do: lots of painting, light fixtures, hardware, and a metric shit-ton of yardwork. Also, CARPET PADDING GAHHH.

**UPDATE** The floor buffer idea? Genius. It’s totally working, and it’s a big obnoxious phallic power tool, so you know JB is stoked. Thanks, everyone.

Screen shot 2012-08-07 at 8.55.25 PM


35 Responses to “Carpet padding, you go to hell and you die”

  1. Stephanie on August 7th, 2012 5:02 pm

    You eliminated the ‘granny’ look so efficiently! We had the same residue on wood flooring before having them sanded and refinished. I’m definitely no DIY’er, but could you rent some sort of floor sanding equipment to remove the final sheen of ugly?

  2. Wendy, Los Angeles on August 7th, 2012 5:08 pm

    you need to sand the concrete with an angle-grinder…the kitchen floors look fab.

  3. Emily on August 7th, 2012 5:14 pm

    Yep, sanding is the way to go. Wear a respirator or something to cover your nose and mouth, concrete and flooring particles can clog up your sinuses and make you sick. If you are getting floors professionally installed, they will often include prep work (sanding concrete) as part of the installation costs. My place in Seattle required quite a bit of sanding just to get the floors reasonably level (due to earthquake cracks and settling) in the concrete, and it was all included free of charge. If you’re DIY’ing and the floor isn’t quite level anyway (or even if it is), you could also skip sanding and go with self-leveling concrete on top of the existing.

  4. TinaNZ on August 7th, 2012 5:23 pm

    No helpful suggestions on the kitchen floor, but it’s going to be so exciting to see this house emerge like a butterfly. Please keep posting the befores-and-afters!

  5. Tracey (sparkyd) on August 7th, 2012 5:35 pm

    i just had to say Wow. What a difference new floors make. That kitchen looks totally different – and way better! Nicely done.

  6. jen on August 7th, 2012 5:42 pm

    contractor husband said “either use an acid solvent and then grind it or just grind it off”

    yuck. sounds like fun! :)

  7. Mikal on August 7th, 2012 5:48 pm

    I just saw them do this on some DYI show today and they used some sort of rented grinder thing to grind off the layer of goo and then leave a rough surface for laying tile.

  8. Pete on August 7th, 2012 5:58 pm

    You can go to home depot and rent a floor buffer. You can get a wheel for it that has carbide inserts to clean concrete. Works great for what you need. I used it to scrape the leftovers from removing stick down tile squares.

  9. Kami on August 7th, 2012 6:04 pm

    Ok. The kitchen floor looks amazing. Looking at your sunroom floor a great option would be grani tite. I’m in love with the stuff, you can even have them do your kitchen counter tops at the same time if you like. My mom has the grani tite counters in her kitchen and they are the best. It’s a spray on coating and it leaves a bumpy texture, hers actually shine under her pendant lights. Everyone comments on them and loves them, check it out just google it and there is all sorts of info on it! Pretty sure that would also solve your sunroom problem also– by not having to sand/grind the glue.

    It will be a beautiful home when you’re done. Good luck!!

  10. Kristianna on August 7th, 2012 6:04 pm

    Oh man, you have the same godawful light fixture I do. It’s been on the long list forever.

    I’d paint that floor, maybe lay some of that stuff they put on garage floors to resurface it — it’s thick and self levels, and it can be a solid or a combo of colors. I think it’s epoxy.

    The wood on those cabinets is really lovely. I’m not kidding — I know you could paint itrew, but seriously consider keeping it. My father was a refinisher and I was raised to appreciate wood. :)

  11. Abby on August 7th, 2012 6:13 pm

    I read that vinegar works on carpet glue, but I have not tried it. My outdoor patio has the same problem – I’m going to cover it with pavers. ;-)

  12. Rachel on August 7th, 2012 7:00 pm

    No – don’t kill the light fixture! Love it…though I think most will agree with Kristianna.

  13. sara on August 7th, 2012 7:06 pm

    Aw, i love that light fixture too! Lol. Floors made a world of difference!!

  14. AmyD on August 7th, 2012 7:08 pm

    How about Flor carpet tiles? They have some pretty cool colors and textures, and definitely warmer than care concrete.

  15. Melissa on August 7th, 2012 7:12 pm

    I asked my husband who is a flooring installer and he said sanding it off would probably work. His other suggestion was to put new carpet and pad or a floating linoleum.

  16. Meagan on August 7th, 2012 7:19 pm

    Hang on… Was the kitchen CARPETED? Who does that!? These people must have liked them some carpet.

  17. H on August 7th, 2012 7:40 pm

    I have no advice but I am cheering you on from afar! It looks great so far!

  18. Kate on August 7th, 2012 8:49 pm

    Do you have a steamer? Might be worth a shot. I used a wallpaper steamer to emulsify the adhesive under two layers of vinyl and one layer of linoleum in order to get down to original oak flooring in our kitchen. It might just work on carpet pad adhesive as well. Hold steamer in place for 30 to 60 seconds, then scrape with paint scraper.

    Your kitchen floor looks amazing!

  19. Thursday on August 8th, 2012 1:14 am

    Clearly, you’ve got the flooring issue sorted but I’d just like to say the kitchen floor looks great and the garden looks lovely.

  20. Sarah on August 8th, 2012 4:34 am

    Wow that floor makes such a difference! The kitchen is looking so lovely. I’m glad the floor buffer is working. Your previous method looked like serious torture.

  21. Sonia on August 8th, 2012 5:27 am

    Absolutely no advice on the concrete floor, but I wanted to ask if your cabinets are birds-eye maple? They look like the hard wood floors we had in a previous house, which were. When my house was built, birds-eye maple was considered an inexpensive, not-very-attractive option, which is why they were relegated to the 3rd floor/refinished attic, but now it’s an expensive, sought-after grain pattern. The kitchen floors are gorgeous, and they already make the whole room look beautiful.

  22. Alli on August 8th, 2012 5:45 am

    We had that issue in our first house and my husband was able to rent a machine that basically had a big ass scraper on the front. He pushed it along and it lifted that crap right off in record time. Which meant I didn’t have to do the kneel on the floor and use a hand scraper thing anymore.

  23. Jaida on August 8th, 2012 6:50 am

    I am SO not trying to be a douche here, but please tell that cute husband of yours to wear some kind of a mask!! Who knows what that buffer is kicking up!

    New floors look great. That was the first thing we did when we bought our foreclosed-on fixer and it made the rest tolerable til we could get to it.

  24. T. on August 8th, 2012 8:03 am

    Another option for after you finish up with the buffer is to rent a power washer and blast the shit out of the floor. It will get up whatever residue is left and leave the concrete looking more or less new.

  25. Manda on August 8th, 2012 11:22 am

    Carpet in a sunroom and in a KITCHEN? WHY?! I will never understand the 70-80s obsession with wall-to-wall. Love the new floor and good luck with the concrete/residue!

  26. Redbecca on August 8th, 2012 12:36 pm

    You and JB are an inspiration. Our “sun room” has indoor/outdoor carpet in it and I haven’t been brave enough to see if it is glued to the floor or not. Not planning on taking it up any time soon. If I have my way we’ll be demolishing the whole thing and starting over from scratch!

  27. Christen on August 8th, 2012 2:02 pm

    Wow, what a difference some new flooring makes! The kitchen already looks a million times better.

    Please keep the before/after (and maybe some in-progress if it’s not a total assache) coming. I’m dying to see how the sun room turns out.

  28. marna who is in OREGON on August 8th, 2012 6:51 pm

    Floor Buffer from Home Depot and wear a mask for god’s sakes you don’t want hantavirus!

  29. divrchk on August 8th, 2012 7:28 pm

    So glad the buffer is working! The kitchen floors look great! What kind of wood did you go with? Did you install them yourselves? I need deets. Thanks!

  30. Debbie in the UK on August 9th, 2012 2:33 am

    Hi ! Just found your blog! Brilliant. Also sent a friend request on FB. Hope you dont mind x

  31. Rachel on August 9th, 2012 11:34 am

    I’ve used a wallpaper steamer for that. It takes a lot of paper towels to mop it up as you go, but it just liquefies the gunk.

  32. Catriona on August 9th, 2012 11:43 am

    Totally a floor sander, those things kick some serious ass. But, you really do need a mask, sorry to nag.

  33. Kari on August 10th, 2012 7:24 pm

    Really? No one else before me said it?

    GodDAMN, JB is looking good. Oregon suits the both of you like woah.

  34. lindsay on August 12th, 2012 1:46 pm

    glad you got it figured out… love hearing all about people’s home updates via the blogs and twitter. Keeps me motivated over at my own place. Best of luck to you guys with this!

  35. sheilah on August 13th, 2012 11:01 am

    hehe…we rented one of those things many many years ago to re-do the kitchen floors in my parent’s old house. No one realized how powerful the thing was and the first time we turned it on it dragged my father clear across the room. Love your new kitchen floors.

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