hardwood floor- rubber back of rug stuck to floor

Discussion in 'Flooring' started by dcw1, Feb 7, 2010.

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  1. Feb 7, 2010 #1

    dcw1

    dcw1

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    We have Bruce ¾ inch pre-finished hardwood floors in a dining room. We have a sea grass (similar to sisal) area rug on top of the hardwood and it had sort of a rubber backing. We just moved the rug and much of the rubber backing is stuck to the polyurethane hardwood flooring. The rubber backing on the rug has become brittle and dried out and much has come off the rug and melded to the floor. Water does not dissolve it or break it up nor do regular cleaners.

    This substance is sort of soft/rubbery (not a liquid though) when wet. Although when dry it is rather brittle and it comes off the floor when scrapped with a plastic scraper. But since it is such a large area it is tedious. Also, even when the large pieces come off, there is a film and tiny pieces remain. It is stuck down pretty good—a sponge and warm water or general cleaners isn’t cutting it. I did buy a decent hardwood cleaner but not much help as I don’t think those really have anything special in them in them except for general cleaning

    Does anyone have a suggestion as to what to use to try to dissolve or loosen this rubber backing/glue-like substance? The finish on the floor is fine in that it still is very shiny and there are no worn spots. But, I am concerned about using certain solvents as I only need to dissolve the rug backing (rubber/glue-like) and do not want to dissolve the polyurethane or urethane finish on the floor. I say polyurethane or urethane as I am unsure what Bruce uses. The floor was installed about 6 years ago and is the standard ¾ inch gunstock color you can get at any Home Depot or Lowe’s.

    Internet searches have turned up WD-40, vegetable oil, vinegar and water--all no good. I have some extra pieces and I tested the finish with acetone and it did not affect the finish. But, the acetone did little if anything to break up this substance. Also, AFTA (which I understand is a drycleaning fluid) did little as well. If acetone is not effcetive, is there any chance mineral spirits would work? What about denatured alcohol?

    Any other suggestions and comments are appreciated. Thanks.


    DAVE
    Johns Creek, GA
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2010
  2. Feb 7, 2010 #2

    dcw1

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    OK, I just tried denatured alcohol. I spot tested it on a spare piece of hardwood that I saved and it did not seem to affect the finish. I used it on this substance and it dissolves it into the denatured alcohol which then can be wiped up. It is going to take some time but at least it turns this substance into a liquid which can be wiped up. My concern was it was going to sort of melt it and then it would be like trying to get mastic off. Anyway, since this substance dissolves in denatured alcohol, that is likely what I will be using.

    When I spot tested the piece of hardwood, I let the denatured alcohol sit on the finish for about 2-3 minutes and then rubbed really hard with cloth. The alcohol basically evaporated and there did not seem to be any visible or physical effects on the floor finish--it was still very shiny and hard.

    Anyone have any thoughts specifically about whether denatured alcohol has any effect on polyurethane? Also, why isn't denatured alcohol recommended on these type floors. I mean you probably wouldn't use it every day but I can't find one site that says to use denatured alcohol on hardwood floors.

    DAVE
    Johns Creek, GA
     
  3. Feb 7, 2010 #3

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Dave:

    If the denatured alcohol has no apparant effect on the finish on your floor, then you can safely assume it has no effect whatsoever. Typically on laminate flooring they use a UV cured polyurethane because the poly cures fully in a very short timem when exposed to intense UV light.

    Mineral spirits would also be safe to use on the flooring, but I don't know whether it would dissolve the rubber backing or not.

    In your PM you wanted to know if there was any difference between mineral spirits and acetone. Post again if you still want me to explain the difference between the two.

    If acetone does etch the finish on your floor, you can always just let it evaporate and wipe some wiping polyurethane over the dull area to restore the gloss. Wipe-on Polyurethane is much thinner than normal polyurethane because it's meant to soak into a rag and be wiped onto a surface rather than brushed, rolled or sprayed. That thinness makes it self level very well so you wouldn't have to worry about brush strokes showing.

    OnlineToolReviews.com - Minwax Wipe-On Poly - Review
     
  4. Feb 7, 2010 #4

    dcw1

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    Nestor:

    You mention, "laminate flooring" in your post. My flooring is 3/4 inch, solid oak that was purchased pre-finished. No laminate involved so I am not sure whether that will change your post.

    Also, can I apply that Wipe-On Poly right over top of the existing poly coats. Again the floor has been down for several years, the finish is still good. But if using the denatured alcohol dulls the surface a bit, will the new Wipe-On poly stick or adhere to the old poly?
     
  5. Feb 7, 2010 #5

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    No, it wouldn't change the post. Most products that come with a polyurethane finish from the factory use a UV cure polyurethane just because of the rapid cure time under intense UV light... real oak or laminate.

    Yes. You can apply the wiping poly directly over your existing finish and it should stick well. But, I'd try it in the least conspicuous area just to be sure. It takes Wipe-On Poly a little longer to cure hard than regular alkyd based polyurethane, so give it an extra day or two to dry.

    Yes, it should stick to it and adhere reasonably well. You see, if your surface looks dull in one spot, then the reason is because that surface is rough. So if you apply the polyurethane over a rough surface, it should adhere as well as if it had been applied over a sanded surface. The reason why sanding improves adhesion between a surface and a coating is because sanding increases the surface area the coating is adhering to.

    The wipe on polyurethane won't be as hard as the UV cured finish that came on the hardwood, so just apply the Wipe-On Poly in any areas that are dull from rubbing with the denatured alcohol. I wouldn't spread that Wiping Poly over the whole floor.

    Have you tried using mineral spirits to remove that rubber backing? Mineral spirits should not affect your poly whatsoever. Before you use the denatured alcohol, I'd try mineral spirits to see if it was equally effective in removing the rubber. If so, it shouldn't dull the polyurethane at all, nor will it cause your hardwood to swell at all the way water might. I would hold off on using that denatured alcohol until you've had a chance to try mineral spirits on the hardwood.

    Wipe-On poly is simple to use. You simple take a preferably white preferably cotton rag and get it wet with the Wipe-On Poly. Wipe it onto the area you want to restore the gloss to and keep the rag tightly sealed in a clear plastic bag like a Zip Lock sandwich bag (so the rag doesn't dry out) while each coat of Wipe-On Poly dries.

    The only thing I'm concerned about is that if the denatured alcohol does leave the floor dull, and you "repair" those dull spots with the Wiping poly, then if the gloss of the wiping poly and your original hardwood are different, you could find yourself with a blotchy floor because some areas are glossy whereas others aren't as glossy.

    Does your floor now have a high gloss, semi-gloss or satin finish? Wipe-on Poly will dry to a high gloss finish.

    Is it possible to get a sample of the flooring you had put down from a flooring store and see if the denatured alcohol dulls the surface of the finish? Alternatively, is it possible to contact the manufacturer of the area rug and find out how best to remove that foam rubber?
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  6. Feb 8, 2010 #6

    Bud Cline

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    Anybody think to call the manufacturer before you started dumping everything in grandma's cupboard on that floor finish. Pretty risky thing to do.:)
     
  7. Feb 9, 2010 #7

    inspectorD

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    I addressed it in the same posters other double post...but I guess I was ignored and the process begins.....

    CALL THE COMPANY< THEY DEAL WITH THIS ALL THE TIME>.

    .....think anybody heard me?:D
     
  8. Feb 11, 2010 #8

    Bud Cline

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    Dontcha jus hate it when a common sense comment shuts down a thread.:(
    Duh!
     
  9. Feb 13, 2010 #9

    dcw1

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    Denatured alcohol worked very well. It melted/dissolved the rubber backing so it could be wiped off. It took a while as there were some areas that were really thick. The denatured alcohol also did nothing to the finish even using large amounts.

    I did email the flooring company (Bruce/Armstrong) and this is what I received:

    Thank you for contacting Armstrong World Industries, Inc. regarding our Bruce hardwood. We use a urethane finish on our hardwood floors. Also for tough stains we recommend the use of low odor mineral spirits. This is the strongest product we are able to recommend on the floor, without damaging the finish. This product can be found at any hardware store or home center. Please feel free to respond to this email if you have any further questions.


    I did not try mineral spirits as the denatured alcohol dissolved the material. It is good to know that mineral spirits are available as well.

    Also, the problem started on a Friday afternoon and most companies are closed over the weekend. I had some spare floor boards from when I installed the floor so I was able to put the chemicals on the pieces and let it sit for 20 minutes before scrubbing and wiping really, really hard. Again, denatured alcohol did nothing to the finish. So, I agree common sense tells one to contact the company first. But, often that is not possible and secondly, I am utterly shocked they responded that it was ok to use mineral spirits. Therefore, although I appreciate the replies regarding contacting the company, such comments are useless. I suspect that the vast majority of people seeking advice from this site don't need the call the company suggestion. So, rather than post such, just assume those seeking assistance do have enough common sense to already know that option is available.

    Thanks for all the replies.

    DAVE
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  10. Feb 13, 2010 #10

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Dave:

    That wasn't actually necessary. If a solvent takes the gloss off a plastic, it's because the solvent is dissolving the plastic. If it softens the plastic, it's because the solvent is penetrating into the plastic and acting as a plasticizer. When that happens, then normally that plastic will go back to it's original hardness as the solvent evaporates from the plastic. So, if the alcohol didn't etch the plastic or soften it, it was safe to use. It wasn't necessary to scrub really hard to prove it.

    Even if the alcohol did soften your hardwood floor finish, if it allowed you to remove the rubber from the floor without damaging the floor finish, then you could have just given the floor finish some time, and it would have hardened back up to it's original hardness as the solvents evaporated from it.

    Mineral spirits are one of the safer solvents to use on any unknown plastic. So far as I know, the only plastic that will be harmed by mineral spirits is polycarbonate, which is what prescription vials and disposable clear plastic picnic glasses are made of. So, if your plastic doesn't resemble polycarbonate, or isn't used in a similar application, it's normally safe to use mineral spirits on it.

    (The only problem is that plastics are often clear and hard, so you don't know what kind of plastic you're dealing with.)

    It's obvious to you that calling the manufacturer's customer service 1-800 number was always an option. However, it's surprising how many people don't realize that if something has happened to them, it's probably happened to thousands of other people, and the manufacturer would likely have dealt with this problem before. The rubber carpet backing sticking to your hardwood is just such a case.

    At least the e-mail you got back told you that the finish was polyurethane, and you would have known from my post that mineral spirits would not harm any kind of polyurethane. Lots of times the customer service you get from a company will be much less helpful and will just tell you that you shouldn't have put a rubber backed carpet over the floor in the first place, which is no help at all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  11. Feb 13, 2010 #11

    inspectorD

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    Dave , I was just helpin out, and I never assume folks already know what to do. This is a forum after all, and these are ideas, just what you asked for. Glad it worked out for you.
     
  12. Mar 8, 2011 #12

    Jack01

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    Hardwood flooring gives an ultimate and elegant look to your house. It is not really difficult to maintain the hardwood flooring. I just dust it everyday, which is more than enough it gives the shine which it had in the beginning.
     
  13. Mar 17, 2011 #13

    thor

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    I would try denatured alcohol.If that doesn't work,try Citristip.It is really
    good but home depot quit selling it,so I don't know where to get it.I want
    to get more.Maybe GoofOff would work.Last,elbow grease and a plastic
    scraper.
     
  14. Nov 28, 2011 #14

    Amy1112

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    I have the same problem, and am looking for a different material non-skid rug pad for the future, will let you know what I find. You posted this some time ago, don't know if you found a solution, but for your future ref:

    To clean, best product is Bestine Rubber Cement Thinner. You will find this in any art supply store ( at utrechtart.com it's $8.99 a pint, get at least a couple depending on how big an area).

    Wear protective gloves, and apply with large cotton pad. I would flood an area of the floor and just begin wiping away in a buffing motion, may take a couple times with fresh cotton pad and cleaner - It will remove the rubber without damaging the floor finish.

    This stuff is great in general to have on hand to remove any sticky residue from price stickers, labels, etc. I have even used it on fabrics....Have never had it destroy a surface (not like rubbing alcohol which will cloud plastics and doesn't do a good job anyhow)
     
  15. May 3, 2013 #15

    grannynan10106

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    A lot of talk above was about what to use on floors, but I would like to know how to get the black backing of a carpet off of a cement floor. We had flooding and the carpet came up but not the black backing. Any suggestions and soon, please?
     
  16. May 3, 2013 #16

    nealtw

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  17. May 3, 2013 #17

    isola96

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  18. May 3, 2013 #18

    nealtw

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    I can't say that I have.
     
  19. Feb 24, 2014 #19

    rosiesydney

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    I am using eucylyptus oil and it dissolves the rubber backing but you still need to do some scrubbing
     
  20. Aug 9, 2014 #20

    elfiself

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    I suggest you use a product called "krud kutter concert and driveway pressure washer concentrate". Put it on full strength and let it work. Scrape residue with a 6" drywall knife. Mine is old and sharp from much use but the KK lubricates the process of scraping. It is not a solvent and did not harm the floor finish.
    good luck
     

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