How Do I Remove Tar Paper From Hardwood Floors?


Hardwood floors that have been covered with linoleum often also have tar paper to help keep the linoleum in place. Since tar paper is intended to stay in place for years, it can be difficult to remove should you want to restore the hardwood floors. To get the best and most time-efficient results, you must use an agent to eat away at the adhesive properties of the tar.

Things You'll Need

  • Mineral spirits
  • Putty knife
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Garbage bin
  • Mop
  • Paper towel
  • Pour mineral spirits on the tar paper to thoroughly saturate it. Let the mineral spirits soak into the paper for 15 minutes.

  • Scrape the paper and tar residue off the floor with a putty knife. Be cautious when scraping to avoid scratching the wood.

  • Pour the lacquer thinner on the floor if the tar doesn't come off with the mineral spirits. Again, let the liquid soak in for 15 minutes before you attempt to scrape it off.

  • Discard the waste in a garbage bin. Any wet residue can be cleaned up either with a mop or paper towel.

Tips & Warnings

  • If lacquer thinner doesn't get the job done, try using a paint stripper. The more natural the paint thinner is, the safer it will be for the floors.
  • Old tar paper may contain asbestos. If the tar paper is from the 1980s or older, you may want to have it tested for asbestos and removed by professionals, if necessary.

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  • Photo Credit The surface-treated natural wood boards image by Supertrooper from
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