How to rid your floor of stuck-on rubber rug padding

Question: My parents have a 9-foot-by-12-foot area rug, which is in excellent condition, in their bedroom.

Under the rug is green foam-rubber padding that has become as hard as a rock over the years and has stuck to the hardwood flooring like paint.

I have tried a plastic scraper with no luck. I used a 2-inch-wide metal scraper that removes the rubber but is time-consuming.

I have not scratched or marred the hardwood flooring. Is there an easier method?

Answer: As strange as it seems, when I received your question, I took a look under our living room rug to check the condition of the padding there. Though some of it had crumbled, it wasn't sticking to the floor.

Checking on the internet with the usual grain of salt, I discovered that the metal-blade scraper was the most-touted method of removal without scratching, even though it took one woman 26 hours.

She didn't say whether this was 26 hours at once without a break, or 26 hours over a period of months or years.

Angie's List, which said it asked professionals, recommended using such solvents as paint thinner or soapy water to loosen the glued padding and then scraping or sanding it off.

Frankly, given indoor air-quality issues, I'd go with the soapy water, but not a lot, because you might cause the floor to warp.

There were some YouTube videos available showing a variety of ways to remove glued-on padding, but most involved projects that required removal before a new floor was installed, so the condition of the hardwood floor underneath was not an issue.

These are all sources available to you by Googling, but here's my advice:

A job worth doing is one that's worth doing well. If the metal scraper is working, no matter how time-consuming it is, go with it.

As far as using paint thinner or soapy water, one requires proper ventilation, including a mask, and the right clothing for protection.

If the job is important to you, and you are pressed for time, it might be best to contact a professional to do it.

Money well-spent.

aheavens@phillynews.com or write him at Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.

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