How to Remove Old Carpet Adhesive From Fiberglass Boats


On boats intended for luxury and comfort, carpet may be installed for greater traction while walking across the deck or inside the cabin. Exposure to the moist, salty sea air and plenty of sunshine may cause the carpet to age or erode faster than carpet in an interior space. If you decide to remove the carpet, you'll also need to clean up the leftover adhesive before installing another deck covering. The process of removing the adhesive from fiberglass is similar to removal from most other surfaces.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor scraper
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Safety goggles
  • Respirator mask
  • Rubber gloves
  • Floor glue stripper
  • Five gallon bucket
  • Mop
  • Dust pan
  • Soap
  • Scrape away as much of the hardened remaining glue as you can using a floor scraper. Use a scraper with a slightly dulled or hardened plastic edge to avoid damaging the fiberglass as you work.

  • Vacuum up adhesive fragments, dirt and other debris from your work area using a wet/dry vacuum. The cleaner that the floor is prior to floor glue stripper application, the better your results will be.

  • Don your safety goggles, respirator mask and rubber gloves to protect yourself from the hazardous fumes of the floor glue stripper. Open the container and mix the stripper ingredients in a five gallon bucket, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Most chemicals will need to be diluted significantly to create a safe working solution.

  • Saturate a mop with the mixed stripper solution and wring out the excess in the bucket. Apply the solution to the areas where the hardened adhesive remains.

  • Let the solution penetrate the hardened glue for 10 to 20 minutes. During this time, do not allow the solution to evaporate. Reapply more solution as needed to keep the glue moist and soft.

  • Scrape the floor once more to remove the last of the adhesive. Scoop up the fragments with a dust pan and dispose of them.

  • Wash the floor with soapy water and dry completely before installing the new carpet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work in a well-ventilated area. If you are removing carpet from the deck of your boat, work on a bright, warm day. If you are removing it from the cabin, ensure all windows and doors remain open and limit your exposure to the floor glue stripper.
  • Dispose of the floor stripper solution according to the manufacturer's specifications. Failure to do so is an environmental hazard which may result in legal consequences.
  • Do not allow children or pets near your work area or the open floor glue stripper container.

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