How to Remove Adhesive Under Carpet Tack Strips | Ep. 97

Gloved hand scrubbing ceramic tile floor with ammonia and liquid dish soap
Joe has a solution for stubborn adhesive residue left on tile floors. (DepositPhotos)

Many homeowners pull up their carpet when they have hardwood or tile floors beneath it. The project is easy until you get to the carpet tack strip, and the adhesive underneath it.

That’s the situation John faces.

He and his son decided to pull up wall-to-wall carpeting that was covering beautiful tile floors.

They removed the carpeting and pried up the carpet tack strip lining the room’s perimeter. Then they were shocked to find residue from contact cement that held the tack strip to the tile.

There are solvents and liquid floor strippers to remove that residue, but those will dissolve it and leave a gummy mess.

Joe prefers to dry-scrape the area first. The right scraping method could be all it takes to scrape hardened adhesive residue.

Take a 2-inch-wide steel putty knife, wrap it in terry cloth and try scraping off the residue under the carpet tack strip. The terry cloth will help protect the tile surface.

Then, fill a bucket with hot tap water, a cup of ammonia and a few squirts of liquid dish soap, put on some rubber gloves, and scrub whatever is left over with a nylon scouring pad.

If that fails, you will need to try a liquid floor stripper — such as Goo Gone Pro Power — or soak the area with acetone.

Listen to the Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!

  • [1:43] When you know the shower valve needs to be replaced
  • [6:39] Chelsea talks about making a concrete Christmas tree stand
  • [10:03] Tips for removing adhesive residue from old carpet
  • [13:50] Best New Product: Lockly’s Vision Smart Deadbolt with Video Doorbell
  • [15:14] Tips to get rid of stubborn mildew stains
  • [22:19] Tips for taking architectural asphalt shingles apart
  • [26:07] How to fix squeaky floors
  • [29:21] Question of the Week: Tips for replacing a tub shower with a steam shower

Simple Solutions

Fast Fix for Running Toilet — If you have a toilet that’s constantly running, the culprit is likely a leaky flapper valve.

Over time, flappers may become cracked or warped, which can allow water to leak out. In fact, a faulty flapper is the leading cause of leaking or running toilets, according to Fluidmaster, which manufactures toilet parts. 

Here’s what to do: Shut off the water to the toilet, then flush the toilet and hold down the handle for a few seconds to empty the tank.  

Next, reach inside the tank and disconnect the old flapper valve, and snap on the new one. Adjust the chain to the proper length, turn the water back on, then flush the toilet a couple of times to make sure it’s working correctly. And that’s it. 

Hideaway Bath Trashcan — Bathroom trashcans always seem to be in the way, especially in small bathrooms. Here’s how to put a trashcan in your bathroom and have it hidden away.

On the back of a vanity door, mount two small plastic hooks with half-inch screws. Use short screws because you don’t want them poking through the other side.

Space the hooks three or four inches apart, depending on the size of the trash can, and make sure the trash can has a lip on it.

Now, simply hang the trashcan right on the hooks. Close the door, and it’s completely out of the way.

Watch: The Simple Way To Hide Your Bathroom Trash Can

Question of the Week

Q: We are considering replacing our tub shower with a steam shower. What should we know so we can assure ourselves that our contractor installs it properly?

We do not want mold to occur due to the exposure to steam. We would appreciate any insight or resources you can provide.

A: People think that a ceramic surround is waterproof, and nothing will penetrate it, but that’s not true. You need a waterproof membrane under each of the shower’s surfaces.

You can roll on a liquid membrane — RedGard is one brand — and brush it into all the corners. It’s similar to painting, but this is a rubber material. Then add a second coat of the liquid membrane and, finally, you can add the finished wall surface.

In addition, you may need to modify the shower door to include a vent panel or at least cut it short because you’ll need fresh air coming in.

Make sure the contractor tackles these key areas before you pay the check, because getting them to return might be an issue!

Finally, you may need to replace your current bathroom vent fan with one that can handle the extra steam. And, as always, make sure the exhaust vents through to the outside, not just into the attic.   


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