How to Remove Construction Adhesive from Concrete, Wood, Brick, Drywall

Construction adhesives build very strong bonds that withstand various elements. This makes them the best and the most durable adhesives for heavy-duty applications. Better still, they bond various materials including concrete, bricks, walls, paneling, and floors.

On the downside, removing cured construction adhesives from surfaces is extremely difficult. This, however, doesn’t mean that it is impossible. With the right technique, you can remove them and their residues from any surface.

So, stick around as I show you how to go about it when dealing with various materials!

Removing Construction Adhesive from Concrete

Removing heavy-duty adhesive from concrete often leaves behinds glue residues. This isn’t a good thing since grime can collect over these residues over time.

Moreover, this will make it difficult to apply a concrete stain color. Nonetheless, with the right tools and methods, you can easily get the job done.

Essential Tools & Materials

  • Razor blades and straight edges
  • Adhesive remover
  • Heat gun or, hairdryer
  • Mineral spirits/ petroleum jelly
  • Buffing sander machine
  • Boiling water
  • Scrubbing brush

Step 1: Soften the Adhesive

First, use a blow dryer or electric heat gun to soften the cured construction adhesive. Alternatively, coat the glue with mineral spirits/ petroleum jelly for 12 – 24 hours.

Step 2: Scrape off

Once the glue softens, scrape it off the concrete surface with the sharp razor edge of your scraper. On most occasions, this step alone is enough to remove the entire adhesive from concrete. However, if that isn’t the case, wipe away the loose adhesive chunks and move on to the next step.

Step 3: Spill Boiling Water and Give it some time

Apply some boiling water over the cured glue to loosen it up. Boiling water is recommended since it’s free from toxins and it’s the cheapest option. Be careful when pouring it on concrete since it can cause severe burns if it splashes on your skin.

The amount of hot water you use will depend on the age and type of glue used. If a significant amount of adhesive is still adhering to the concrete, you’ll need a large pot to boil the water. Now, let the hot water mix with the glue for 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 4: Use Adhesive Remover

If hot water doesn’t get rid of all the cured adhesives, try using a mastic remover or adhesive remover. An adhesive remover contains chemicals that will soften the adhesive. When using this method, make sure the room has adequate ventilation.

Some chemical removers contain hazardous ingredients. Also, ensure you read the labels, including warnings, directions, and cautions.

Step 5: Scrape off and Sand

Continue scrubbing off the excess residues with a stiff straw scrub brush or scraper. After removing all the glue, sand the concrete surface. You can use a buffing machine or sander with a sanding disk to get this job done.

Sanding makes the concrete surface more porous, helping it soak up more sealer and acid stain. However, be careful not to over-sand the surface as you can expose the aggregates.

How to Remove Construction Adhesive from Wood

Construction adhesives can bond wood to concrete, brick, and other materials. Under the right circumstance, the formed bond is extremely durable and strong.

Unfortunately, construction adhesive can accidentally find its way on your wooden surfaces. Also, you may want to pry off the wood for various reasons.

So, how do you remove the adhesive from wood then? Regardless of the circumstance, the removal process is the same! Here is what you need!

Essential Tools & Materials

  • Chisel
  • Metal putty knife
  • Iron
  • Sanding block

Step 1: Chiseling Away

Wooden surfaces are extremely smooth, particularly if they’ve got a sealant coating. For that reason, adhesives don’t bond with them as strong as concrete or untreated wood. Therefore, you can easily loosen most glue by chiseling it away.

To accomplish that, press a metal putty knife over the dried glue. Then use a hammer to gently tap its handle to chip the glue away bit by bit. If all residues don’t come off, slant the blade at an angle of 45 degrees. And continue tapping the glue to chisel it off the wooden surface.

Step 2: Steam over Textured Wood

When dealing with textured wood, the adhesive may not chisel off the surface. Since you don’t wish to damage the wood, soften the bond to make it easier to remove. You can achieve that by using an iron with the steam setting. However, before you start, make sure its water tank is full.

Turn on your iron and let it warm up. When steam starts to blow out, hold it up to the cured glue for a couple of minutes. Steam penetrates the glue and causes it to soften. Turn off the iron, put it aside, and proceed to the other step.

Step 3: Scrape off with a Putty Knife

Use the putty knife to scrape off the softened adhesive from the wood. You need to be fast when undertaking this process since the glue can harden again. If that happens before you scape off the entire adhesive, soften it again with the iron.

Step 4: Finish by Sanding and Wipe Clean

At this point, your wooden surface will still have slight residues. Hence you might use a sanding block to get rid of such minor imperfections. So, sand the wood and wipe away the residues with a damp cloth.

How to Remove Construction Adhesive from Brick

Some homeowners cover brick with insulation boards/ paneling to create a contemporary look. To do this, they use construction adhesive since it dries quickly and forms a strong bond.

However, these qualities may work against you when trying to remove the adhesive. Also, bricks are porous, making it even harder to remove glue from their surfaces. Worst of all, using the wrong method will increase the risk of damaging the bricks.

To avoid that, use the following tools and techniques;

Necessary Tools and Materials

  • Hairdryer
  • Petroleum jelly/ mineral spirits
  • 18- 24 gauge wire
  • Wire brush
  • Chisel

Step 1: Removing Uncured Adhesive

If you want to remove uncured adhesive from bricks, scrape it off with a putty knife. Remove the remaining residues with a rag. Note that construction glue sets very quickly. For that reason, you need to work fast before that happens.

Step 2: Removing at the Cured Stage

However, if the glue is hardened already, you can still remove it. But you’ll be using a different approach. This is because scrapping away dried glue from bricks will damage them. Besides, weathered/ older bricks are less sturdy as compared to fresh bricks.

To avoid damaging the bricks, soften the adhesive.

There are 2 methods you can use to do that. First, you can apply petroleum jelly or mineral spirits to the dried glue and leave it for about 30 minutes. If this technique doesn’t work, turn to the 2nd approach; using a hairdryer to heat the adhesive.

Step 3: Scrape off

Once the glue starts to soften, scrape it off with a putty knife by placing it against the adhesive at an angle and scrape it along the brick surface.

If the glue remains bonded to the surface, use the knife as a chisel. This means that you need to use a hammer to tap it gently to remove the glue bit by bit.

Step 4: Sawing technique

Alternatively, you can saw the softened glue with a thin 18- 24 gauge wire. Wear safety gloves and wrap a 3-foot long wire around your fingers. Work it under the adhesive in a sawing motion to remove glue from your bricks. Lastly, scrape off the residues with a chisel.

The sawing motions generate enough heat to keep the hardened glue soft. But if it doesn’t, feel free to apply more mineral spirits or petroleum jelly.

How to Remove Construction Adhesive from Drywall

Removing construction adhesive from concrete, wood, and brick is fairly simple. I can’t say the same for drywall since it’s quite delicate and easy to damage.

As you know, drywall consists of pressed gypsum covered on both sides with paper. Besides, the paper-faced corner beads can easily rip when removing dried adhesive from the corners. So, you need to be gentle when removing glue from your drywall. With that in mind, here are the materials you need;

Essential Tools and Materials

Step 1: Removing Uncured Adhesive

If the adhesive is still wet, use a wet cloth/ sponge to wipe it away. Avoid soaking the drywall to prevent damaging its surface. Dip the sponge/ cloth in warm water.

Squeeze out the excess water and use the damp cloth/ sponge to wipe off the adhesive of your drywall. Apply little pressure while scrubbing the area with the glue you want to remove. After removing the glue, wipe down the drywall with a dry rag.

Step 2: Use of Chemical Remover

Another effective approach to removing adhesive from drywall is using an adhesive remover. The chemical remover loosens and dissolves the bond between the drywall and glue. There are various types of removers you can use.

For instance, there are soy-based, citrus-based as well as solvent-based chemical removers. You can also try using mineral spirits if you don’t have a chemical remover. Let the remover sit on the drywall for a few minutes before you gently scrape it away.

Step 3: Handling Tough Residues

For residues that are tough to remove with the above techniques, scrape them off. However, this should be the last option as it can easily gouge the drywall.

First, wipe down the drywall with a clean rag. Gently scrape off the adhesive caulk residues with the flat scraping tool. Work quickly before the glue dries and sets again.

Step 4: Damage Repairing

If you accidentally damage the wall during the process, it’s time to repair it. And you’ll need a joint compound and drywall knife.

Spread the compound with a drywall knife to fill the affected areas. Then allow it to dry and lastly sand down the wall with a sanding block.

Removing Construction Adhesive from Hands & Skin

Heavy-duty adhesives adhere to anything they come into contact with, including your hands. That’s why it’s important to wear gloves when handling them.

However, regardless of how cautious you’re, these adhesives may stick on your skin. If that ever happens to you, don’t panic! Provided you know the right techniques, you can easily get rid of the adhesive caulk off your hands and skin.

Essential tools and materials

  • Petroleum jelly/ vegetable oil
  • Dry rag/ cloth/ towel
  • Hand cleaner
  • Hand lotion
  • Hot water
  • Liquid soap

Step 1: Initial Cleaning

First, gently wash off any debris, dust or dirt stuck on the dried glue on your hands and skin. Then carefully dry your skin with a clean towel or cloth.

Step 2: Soaking Hands in Warm Soapy Water/Acetone

Don’t scrub off the dried adhesive with soapy water only since it will not be effective. Also, rubbing off many layers of adhesive with soapy water can damage your skin. Instead, soak your hands in warm, soapy water for 15 minutes.

As an alternative, you can soak your hands in acetone. Or, commercial hand cleaners might come in quite handy in this case. Now, dry your skin with a clean towel.

Step 3: Apply Mineral Oil/Petroleum Jelly

Apply a small amount of mineral oil or petroleum jelly onto the affected skin. Gently rub in the oil until the glue starts to loosen. This process is recommended for solvent-based construction adhesives.

Step 4: Wiping with a Dry Towel

Remove the excess jelly or oil with a dry towel. When your hands become dry, apply more oil or jelly and repeat the process until the glue wears away.

Step 5: Clean with Soapy Water

Once the adhesive lifts from the skin, wash the area with soapy water. This helps to remove the oil from your hands and skin. Dry your hands with a clean cloth and apply some hand lotion.


Overall, removing construction adhesives from various surfaces is often challenging. But with the right tips, you can effectively remove dried adhesives from any surface. Note, not every material is intended to work on all surfaces.

So, make sure you test the product on an insignificant area before you apply it. More importantly, read the manufacturer’s instructions before you use any chemical remover.


1. What will dissolve construction adhesive?

Chemical removers help to dissolve and loosen dried industrial glue from various surfaces. Alternatively, you can try applying vegetable oil, petroleum jelly, or acetone.

2. Can I sand off heavy-duty adhesive?

Most heavy-duty adhesives are hard to remove by sanding with palm sanders. Instead, sand with other sanding machines like flooring sanders or disk sanders. Sanding saves time and requires less effort than scrapping.

This will come in handy, especially when dealing with a larger area. However, if you’re removing adhesive from a smaller area, you can simply scrape it off.

3. What’s the best chemical to remove tough adhesive residues?

Adhesive removers are designed to deal with tough industrial-grade residues. The best ones available include; Goo-gone adhesive remover and 3M multi-purpose remover.

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