Removing Old Resilient Floor Adhesives from Concrete

Technical Procedures Disclaimer

Prior to inclusion in GSA’s library of procedures, documents are reviewed by one or more qualified preservation specialists for general consistency with the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitating historic buildings as understood at the time the procedure is added to the library. All specifications require project-specific editing and professional judgement regarding the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers are to serve as a general guideline and do not constitute a federal endorsement or determination that a product or method is the best or most current alternative, remains available, or is compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards. The library of procedures is intended to serve as a resource, not a substitute, for specification development by a qualified preservation professional.


We’ve reviewed these procedures for general consistency with federal standards for rehabilitating historic buildings and provide them only as a reference. Specifications should only be applied under the guidance of a qualified preservation professional who can assess the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers serve as general guidelines and do not constitute a federal endorsement nor a determination that a product or method is the best alternative or compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards.


The cleaning or removal of adhesives from concrete may require the use of liquids, detergents or solvents that may run off on adjacent material, discolor the concrete or drive the stains deeper into the porous concrete. Use the following products and techniques only for the combinations of dirt/stain and concrete specified.



  1. This specification provides guidance on stripping concrete floors to remove old resilient flooring adhesives.

  2. Safety Precautions:

    1. Do not store any chemicals in unmarked containers.

    2. Excellent ventilation must be provided as most strippers have a solvent odor. Use respirators with solvent filters.

    3. Provide adequate clothing and protective gear where the chemicals are shown to be dangerous.

    4. Have available antidote and accident treatment chemicals where noted.

  1. Read "General Project Guidelines" along with this specification. These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing this procedure and should be followed, when applicable, along with recommendations from the Regional Historic Preservation Officer (RHPO). The guidelines cover the following sections:

    1. Safety Precautions

    2. Historic Structures Precautions

    3. Submittals

    4. Quality Assurance

    5. Delivery, Storage and Handling

    6. Project/Site Conditions

    7. Sequencing and Scheduling

    8. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)



ProSoCo, Inc.

Lawrence, KS 66117



  1. Commercial stripper such as "Sure Klean Heavy Duty Paint Stripper" (ProSoCo, Inc.) or approved equal.

    1. Effective in removing high-strength clear coatings from masonry; also effective in removing asphalt, tar and grease stains.

    2. Fast-acting

    3. Surface neutralization not required.

    4. Suitable for use on vertical surfaces.

    5. NOTE: This product contains Methylene Chloride, a known carcinogen. Methylene chloride is banned in some states such as California. Regulatory information as well as alternative or equivalent chemicals may be requested from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Office and/or the State Office of Environmental Quality.

    6. A potential substitute for this product (to be considered only after case-specific research and on-site testing to verify applicability and effectiveness) is "Enviro Klean Safstrip 8" (ProSoCo, Inc.) or approved equal.

      1. Does not contain methanol or methylene chloride.

      2. Suitable for interior and exterior use on masonry, wood and metal surfaces.

      3. Suitable for use on vertical surfaces.

      4. Rinses easily with water

      5. Surface neutralization not required.

  2. Cleaner for use after adhesive removal or for prepping the surface for a new coating or flooring material such as "Consolideck Cleaner/Degreaser" (ProSoCo, Inc.), or approved equal.


  1. Solvent-resistant brush or roller.

  2. Pressure water rinsing equipment (Follow stripper manufacturer's recommendations for equipment fittings and pressure ratings).

  3. Metal scraper.

  4. Stiff bristle brush.



Surface Preparation:

  1. If high pressure water is used, learn floor drainage characteristics and procedures for handling water and runoff.

  2. The surface must be dry before applying any paint strippers for removing adhesives.


  1. Apply a uniform coat of stripper (approximately 1/8" thick) to the old adhesive material working in small areas at time (approximately eighty square feet).

  2. Allow stripper to dwell until adhesive is lifted from the surface or dissolved. Scrub the surface periodically with a stiff bristle brush. Reapply if stripper is absorbed into the concrete.

  3. Scrape adhesive buildup and residue from the surface using metal scrapers and wire or stiff bristled brushes.


Thoroughly rinse the surface with high-pressure water, following manufacturer's instructions. Be sure to contain water runoff and keep surrounding areas that are to be cleaned as dry as possible.

  1. Reapply stripper as necessary following above procedures to completely remove adhesive; shorter dwell times are probably sufficient.

  2. When all of the adhesives have been removed, rinse the surface thoroughly with hot or cold water to neutralize the surface and remove all traces of stripper.

  3. If the floor still looks dirty or needs a surface coating, apply a chemical cleaner such as "Consolideck Cleaner/Degreaser" (ProSoCo, Inc.) or approved equal.

    1. Dilute with 2 to 6 parts water depending on severity of staining and degree of etching desired.

    2. Apply liberally to the concrete surface and allow to dwell for 3 to 5 minutes.

    3. Thoroughly rinse the surface with clean, clear water and allow to dry. Rinsing may be supplemented with the use of a stiff bristle brush.