How to Remove Linoleum Glue from Concrete

When you’re redoing your flooring sometimes the only thing standing in your way is needing to remove linoleum glue from a concrete floor that hasn’t been touched in ages.

You know there’s some special tool or cleaner you can figure out how to use…but what is it and how do you use it so it works and won’t kill you in the process?

Let me say that learning any new DIY skill when it comes to floors can be frustrating.

Don’t worry, though. This one can be easy. I’ll make sure of it, even though old linoleum glue can be pretty tricky to get off any surface at times.

“But why is it so difficult?”, you might be wondering. Let’s start with some quick background info, which will help you later.

So, What Is Linoleum Anyways?

laying linoleum flooring

Although I’m backtracking slightly, let’s look at what linoleum is.

Linoleum is mainly made with natural raw materials. It’s made from pine resins, linseed oil, wood flour, and cork powder.

This eco-friendly flooring product is highly resilient, which means it can be pretty challenging to remove from concrete.

Additionally:

Linoleum, or lino for short, can last for up to four decades if cared for properly. It’s a great flooring material that people have used since 1860.

This low-maintenance product may, however, darken when exposed to sunlight. It also shouldn’t be used in areas where there’s a lot of moisture.

How Do I Remove It?

You’re probably wondering:

“This is going to be expensive, right?”

Thankfully, no. Many of the solutions will be very cost-effective and uncomplicated. Some may cost you a bit if you don’t already have the equipment needed.

Let’s not delay:

You’ve probably already been at it and have been able to get the old linoleum up.

I suspect that you’re anxious to get started, so let me begin with the best way to remove linoleum glue from concrete.

Scrape it Away

scraper in hands of a painter being used to remove sticky rough glue

This sounds simple, right? It’s actually the go-to solution for these types of problems. This should also work with vinyl flooring.

Let’s get to it:

You’ve taken out a concrete slab, and you’re ready to get started:

This method is as simple as using a hand scraper of some sort and working at it until you’re able to remove the glue.

That said:

If, perchance, this doesn’t work, don’t worry, we’ve still got a few methods on how to remove glue from a concrete floor after removing the linoleum flooring.

If you don’t own a hand scraper, then you can always try the Titan Stainless Steel Scraper. Although, any old scraper will do.

From now on, bear in mind that you’ll need to use the scraper for all the methods that I’m going to mention.

How About Water?

This is probably the most inexpensive method for linoleum underlayment removal. You’ll need water, some patience, and a scraper (see above method).

Step 1: Throw Water in the Area

It’s genuinely as simple as that. Throw water on the linoleum adhesive and wait a while.

Step 2: Get Scraping

After a little while, it should be much easier to do. As per the last method, simply get working until the glue effectively peels off of the floor.

Step 3: Rinse and Repeat

If needed, throw a little more water down, and try again. Alternatively, try the following method.

Use a Heat Gun

A decent heat gun made for tasks like this will set you back about $25. It’s well worth the investment, though.

Heat guns can be used for removing wallpaper, bending plastics, and of course, softening glue. If you only have a small amount of glue to remove, you can also try a hair dryer on a higher temperature setting.

Step 1: Using the Heat Gun

using heat gun to remove glue 1

To do this, you need only crank up the heat on your heat gun and use it directly on the cement floor or other flooring where the glue has hardened.

Step 2: Get Scraping

Using the heat gun and the scraper in unison is an excellent way of getting the job done.

Adhesive Remover

Now, if you’ve gone through the non-chemical methods, and you’re still battling, it’s time to break out the big guns.

There are a lot of different brands of adhesive removers. I recommend that you try Goo Gone Pro-Power, an effective remover that works on several other surfaces.

It’ll work well for ‘getting at’ the linoleum glue and paper.

Step 1: Pour Some Remover

Typically after pouring the remover on your concrete, you’ll have to wait a little while, possibly about 30 minutes.

Step 2: Use a Scraper

For pretty much all of these solutions, you’re going to have to use a scraper to do the final removal.

Step 3: Try Again

As the old adage goes: If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Unfortunately, the issue with this method is that the odor emitted from the remover is powerful. It’s better to go the non-chemical route first.

Be Persistent

If you’ve tried all of the above, you should’ve been able to remove the adhesive. If not, then the best you can do is keep trying the most effective method for you. Give it some time.

A Curiosity

putty knife tool

You must have wondered at some time or other, (at least I have): what is the difference between linoleum flooring and vinyl flooring?

I mentioned previously that the methods would work on vinyl flooring repairs and removal projects, but what is it anyway? This short YouTube video effectively explains the difference.

However, to summarize:

Linoleum is cheap, durable, eco-friendly, antimicrobial, and anti-static. Vinyl is offered in various styles, is a bit more expensive, and is easier to install yourself.

I mentioned the above because if you’re removing flooring, you might want to install something else. Both are great options, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

FAQs

What is the difference between linoleum glue and vinyl adhesive when it comes to concrete?

I’ve spoken extensively about the difference between vinyl and linoleum in the article.

Concerning the glue and adhesive however, there’s not much of a difference, particularly when it comes to the methods you use to remove them.

The same is also true for removing carpet glue from concrete floors no matter how old or stuck on it is.

Can sanding off the glue hurt the concrete surface?

That can happen, which is why we didn’t mention it. You can try this, although you should exercise caution whenever you use abrasion on these surfaces, such as when you get paint off concrete.

What if I’m only repairing a section of the floor; will the products mentioned above hurt the linoleum tiles I want to preserve?

These products will not necessarily hurt the tiles. Though, it would be best if you were careful with the heat gun so as not to damage the tiles you wish to preserve.

Hope This Helps

Although I can more or less guarantee that the methods that I mentioned will work, as I’ve mentioned before, it can sometimes take time, grit, and elbow grease to get it done.

It can be particularly frustrating if you’re working in a large area. So take it easy, buy the products you need (if you have to), and get to work.

Wonder no longer about your ‘how to remove linoleum glue from concrete floor’ problem.

These solutions worked for me, and I’m confident that they’ll work for you.