How to Remove Glued-on Rubber Underlay

carpet image by Ogis from

Carpet is laid on top of flooring with a rubber underlay that protects the subfloor and makes the carpet bouncy to step on. Spills on carpet can sink into the rubber underlay, potentially causing smells or sunken spots.

When replacing carpet, or exposing the hardwood floor that is underneath the carpeting, the rubber underlay will require removal. Some carpenters glue the underlay down, making it a little more difficult, but not impossible, to remove from the subfloor.

Prep the carpet for removal by cutting the carpet, while standing on the floor, into 4-foot strips that run the length or width of the room. This makes the carpet removal manageable.

Put on a dust mask and gloves. Grab the carpet on the floor at the corner of the room and pull up to release the carpeting from the nail board holding it down.

Roll up the carpet as you pull it away from the tack board and dispose of the carpet rolls according to local regulations.

Pry up the nail board using a hammer or a pry bar. Place a towel or rag under the pry bar to protect the flooring underneath from damage.

Pull up the rubber underlay by hand. The glue may have dissolved over time making it simple to remove. Pieces may stick to the flooring underneath.

Use a paint scraper to remove as much of the stuck rubber underlay as possible. Scrape at an angle to prevent damage to any flooring underneath.

Open the windows of the house to get air circulating. Apply adhesive remover to the rubber glue that is on the floor. Follow the instructions on the label of the spirit.