How to Remove Adhesive From Concrete

If you are removing tile or carpet from concrete, you must remove the adhesive that remains before painting or staining the concrete and, in most cases, before recovering the concrete with tile, wood or carpet. It is quite a job to remove adhesive from concrete. However, with the right knowledge and tools, you can learn to strip the adhesive.


  1. Image titled Remove Adhesive From Concrete Step 1
    Decide on an adhesive remover to use. There are many types of removers that you can choose. You can find user-friendly and safe types of adhesive removers made with citric acid or soy bases. However, for adhesives that are difficult to remove, you will need to use a solvent-based adhesive.
  2. Image titled Remove Adhesive From Concrete Step 2
    Apply the adhesive remover to the adhesive with a brush or trowel. Allow the adhesive remover to sit for as long as the package directions recommend.
  3. Image titled Remove Adhesive From Concrete Step 3
    Test the surface by scraping a small area to see if it is ready. If the adhesive does not come up easily, allow the remover to sit a little longer.
  4. Image titled Remove Adhesive From Concrete Step 4
    Scrape the entire surface with a scraper, putty knife or a trowel with a flat edge and remove as much of the adhesive as possible.
  5. Image titled Remove Adhesive From Concrete Step 5
    Apply another coat of remover if needed. Repeat until you have removed all the adhesive.
  6. Image titled Remove Adhesive From Concrete Step 6
    Wipe up all the excess adhesive and rinse the area thoroughly with water. Wipe it clean with rags.
  7. Image titled Remove Adhesive From Concrete Step 7
    Allow the surface to dry thoroughly before painting, staining or applying new carpet, wood flooring or tile to the concrete.


  • You may want to try using the adhesive remover in a test area to get a feel for how the remover works. This will also tell you whether you need a stronger solvent-based remover.
  • You may find that it is easier to remove the adhesive by working in small sections at a time. This will prevent wasted adhesive remover as you work.
  • Read the label directions before using the adhesive remover to check the average drying time. This will ensure that you do not let the product sit too long or not long enough. Also, be sure to note any warnings on the label.


  • Keep an eye on the surface to make sure the adhesive remover does not dry out. If you allow the remover to sit too long, the adhesive could harden again before you can scrape it.
  • Don't attempt to scrape the entire surface until the adhesive remover has had time to soften the adhesive sufficiently, or you will just make it harder to complete your project.
  • When using solvent-based removers, be aware that these removers are very flammable. You also want to work in a well-ventilated area when using these products so you don't breathe in the hazardous fumes.

Things You'll Need

  • Adhesive remover
  • Brush or trowel
  • Scraper, putty knife or flat-edged trowel
  • Water
  • Rags

Article Info

Categories: Concrete