After pulling up your old vinyl composition tile floors, you are very likely to be left using VCT adhesive residue all over the subfloor. This adhesive may appear easily or might be more stubborn, based on which kind of adhesive you have. To make the project manageable, determine which kind of paste remover will work on your distinct adhesive, either by requesting the manufacturer or using trial and error.


Before you begin scraping at the adhesive or trying to dissolve it, then be sure that it doesn’t contain asbestos. In case the adhesive is out of the 1970s or earlier, it might be poisonous, and you shouldn’t do anything to it till you’ve had it tested by professionals. In case you haven’t eliminated the tile however, have these tests done before you begin. If the tile was set up after the 1970s, the adhesive ought to be safe, and you may begin experimenting with solvents or less toxic alternatives.


Paint thinners, industrial adhesive solvents and mineral spirits can dissolve many kinds of VCT adhesive. Because solvent-based adhesive removers produce toxic fumes, ventilate the area as well as possible, wear protective gloves and clothing and do not pose any open flames to the room. Apply a solvent into a cloth, and sponge it over the adhesive. Allow the solvent to dissolve or soften the adhesive, then scrape up the remnants using a hand scraper. Although solvents are generally the fastest way to remove old adhesive, they are also the most poisonous, so if you have the time, think about using a different system.

Alternative Strippers

Many manufacturers of adhesive strippers also make environmentally friendly, less toxic alternatives. Some of the products use citric acid, which gives them an orangelike odor and makes them relatively safe to use. Other products use soy derivatives to dissolve adhesive. These alternative strippers work more gradually than the solvents, so check the labels to ascertain how long to allow them to work before scratching off the adhesive. Though these products release milder fumes, then you should still ventilate the room as you work.

Heat and Elbow Grease

Some adhesives do not need any kind of chemical stripper in any way. If you’re fortunate enough to have a glue that dissolves under heat, you can just blast the ground a section at a time using a hairdryer or steamer and then scrape up the resulting mess. This technique might require more physical effort on your part since the scratching might be harder work. However, you’ll avoid any potential toxic effects of chemical fumes, along with a hairdryer will not leave the area smelling funny for times how a commercial stripper can.

See related