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Ask Angie: How to remove carpet padding stuck to hardwood floor

Angie Hicks
Angie Hicks MCT

Dear Angie: How do you remove carpet padding that has adhered to a hardwood floor? — Rennie T., Staunton, Va.

Answer: The good news is that you're not stuck. (Bad pun, I know.) Our consumer-services researchers found there are several ways to approach this situation, depending on what you plan to do with the wood floor.

Do you want to re-cover it with padding and carpet? Or do you intend to leave it uncovered, possibly restoring it to like-new condition?

If you plan to recarpet, simply use a razor tool to scrape off any stuck padding. Clean the floor well and make sure it's completely dry before installing new padding. That should be all there is to it.

It gets a bit more complicated if you plan to keep the wood floor uncovered and refinish it. In that case, the best method for removal will depend on why the pad stuck to the floor in the first place.

Flooring experts informed our team of several common causes:

■ The padding might have been glued or stapled to the floor.

■ Over several years, it might have bonded to the polyurethane.

■ Pet urine or another substance might have made it sticky.

You might want to remove the padding yourself, but if you're hiring a professional to work on your wood floor, it might be better to have that person remove the padding.

Flooring pros told our team about several methods they use to remove stuck padding before refinishing a wood floor:

■ Dissolve the padding with chemical cleaning solvents, such as an odorless mineral spirit that works like a paint thinner.

■ Scrape with a metal tool, but with care not to scratch the wood.

■ Use soapy water to loosen the padding enough so it can be sanded or scraped off in the floor-finishing process.

Keep in mind that the use of too much water or harsh chemicals can damage the flooring. Before using chemicals, see if a sander or a hand scraper will do the job. If you do the work yourself, wear a dust mask; the padding might contain harmful particles.

If you decide to hire a carpet or wood-floor professional, ask friends, family and neighbors for recommendations, and check reviews online. Get bids from several companies, and be sure to check not only references but any applicable licensing requirements and proof of insurance.

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