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Need Advice - Glue smell on hardwood floors

Can anyone make recommendations about a smell coming from the hardwood floors?

I pulled up carpeting and then laminate in a bedroom. Underneath is old hardwood. The laminate pulled up very easy leaving no marks or damage to the floor underneath except for a 3 foot strip by the wall. This section was heavily glued down. We found that whatever type of glue this was was water soluble. When we put water on it, it smelled VERY bad but with enough mopping and scrubbing, we were able to remove the glue from the floor.

At this point, the floor looks like it doesn't have any glue on it, but the entire room still smells. It did not smell before we scrubbed the glue on the floors. (It has been over a month since we removed the glue - the "just let it air out" technique didn't work.)

Our two thoughts were to sand and refinish the floors, or to apply a moisture barrier and install a floating floor over top. We worry if we sand the floors, then the odor will still be there. The thought on the moisture barrier is that it would provide a "smell barrier" as well, but I don't know if it would.

Does anyone know what type of glue we uncovered or does anyone have any experience in this area? Any advice would be helpful.

The house was built in the 1940s.

Re: Need Advice - Glue smell on hardwood floors

A barrier should help. A good refinish will help even more.

I don't know if you tried refinishing before, but it's not an easy job. And what's worse is the dust from sanding.

Hire a pro and leave the house until he finishes. Make sure all valuables are out of reach.

Re: Need Advice - Glue smell on hardwood floors

Shellac seals in every objectionable odor I've run across, and has no odor of its own, and is no-VOC in application. It sticks to anything, and a good cleaning first is probably acceptable.
Worth a shot, unless the smell is urine stains that go down the cracks between the boards where the shellac isn't going to reach (well, unless you pour it on)

Re: Need Advice - Glue smell on hardwood floors

More than likely, sanding and refinishing the floor will lock in any odors that are in the flooring wood. But the flooring may not be the culprit here as drywall, curtains, rugs, stained but not finished wood etc are all porous so if they were exposed to the odor, they may be retaining it too.

In my days of fire restoration work decades ago, we used 50lb blocks of baking soda placed in the attic to quell the smoke odors and they absorbed it well. This may work for you here if you can wait a week or two for them to draw all the odor in. They should be available from anyone doing fire restoration in your area, or perhaps an industrial supplier.

BTW, those 'carpet fresheners' you sprinkle on then vacuum afterward are simply scented baking soda you spent far too much for. Next time just use baking soda alone and I'll bet that a day later you won't be able to tell the difference other than the savings.


Re: Need Advice - Glue smell on hardwood floors

There may have been cats, dogs, or poorly raised children in the house long before you arrived. Wetting the floor may have brought those odors back to life.

Sealing the floor properly will send them back to the grave.

Re: Need Advice - Glue smell on hardwood floors

Didn't somebody on the board recommend using charcoal to absorb paint smell/fumes? I imagine that could be effective here as well. A cheap bag of charcoal (without the lighter fluid impregnated in it of course) left in a bowl in the offending area couldn't hurt. Even if i doesn't work you are only out a few bucks, much like the baking soda method.

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