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Black residue under old carpet on hardwood floor.indentification

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May 27, 2013, 12:52 PM
Black residue under old carpet on hardwood floor.indentification
Hello everyone! So my husband and I are inheriting my grandparent's old house, which we're pretty sure was built in the 1940's...however, I'll have to ask my Mom for verification of that. We have about a year in which the house will be vacant before we move in, and so in the time we want to do as much remodeling as possible. We do not have a lot of money to work with, however we are both fairly handy/crafty, and don't mind putting in a ton of work.

Anyway, underneath the hideous ancient carpet are hardwood floors, which are covered in a layer of black gunk.

Unfortunately we have only seen what was left after one of my aunts pulled up the carpet and scraped away most of the residue, so we only have a picture of what was left behind after a ton of work was already done.

So basically we're trying to figure out what this is, and what the easiest/safest way to remove it is before we refinish.

So, what does everyone think? Glue residue? Disintegrated carpet padding?

Thank you all SO much ahead of time! This is all super new to us!

Here is a link to the photo of the floor on Flickr: The floor in question
May 27, 2013, 02:15 PM
It looks like the same stuff that was under the kitchen and basement stairs carpets in my house when I moved in. I think at one time mine might have been thicker, kind of a padding, and eventually lost all its buoyancy and flattened down. If I did have to guess, I'd say it was in fact carpet padding that deteriorated over the years.

I spent a lot of time scraping it off and eventually decided it was a rainy day project because it was so time consuming and labor intensive.

When I do go back to getting the rest of it out, I'm going to try to find something like a giant putty knife, something really large that can cover a wider area than just a few inches.

There may be others here with more experience than I who can offer a better and less tedious method of removal.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
May 27, 2013, 03:26 PM
I'll buy the deteriorating rubber pad theory. part of that would have liquified, so after using a lino remover blade, rent a sander pair. get the coarsest grit they have for both the close-tolerance hand sander and the upright, and some of the medium for finishing up.

you are going to go through a good number of belts and pads of the coarse stuff, because it will gum up and start burning a little bit. light touch here please, you only want to get the rubber off with the belts that have two or three rocks on them.

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
May 27, 2013, 05:36 PM
Make it 3-for-3 for the old pad vote.

You are going to have to sand the floor eventually so as swschrad suggests, use a floor sander to sand it off. You will gum up some sanding pads in the process.

May 28, 2013, 08:07 AM
Great advice above.
Carpet pad deterioration opinion here too. FILaw's house had it under old 1970's kitchen carpet. Scrape, remove, sand, vacuum.
May 28, 2013, 09:31 AM
Awesome advice everyone! i can't wait to get started! I'll post an update once we've gotten one of the rooms done Smile
May 28, 2013, 09:36 AM
Originally posted by UberKio:
Awesome advice everyone! i can't wait to get started! I'll post an update once we've gotten one of the rooms done Smile

Please do. It's always nice to follow someone's progress. And personally, it may motivate me to finally get something done about the residue on the basement stairs, a laborious and boring task over which I've been procrastinating.

Good luck with your project.