Paint removal can be tiring, if not frustrating, primarily if you use the wrong tool or technique. Plus, some methods can be hazardous, making it necessary to invest in safety equipment.
Besides, it helps to learn more about paint strippers and removers getting into the thick of things. This post examines some of the tools and approaches you can use to strip exterior paint.
- Heat Gun
A heat gun works by warming old paint and causing it to bubble. Once that’s done, you can scrape the paint off. It’s advisable to use the lower heat setting on the heat gun to prevent the risk of fire.
Be sure to work on a small area as you move the heat gun around so the heat doesn’t build up to an unmanageable level. Using a heat gun could effectively remove lead-based paint in old houses as it doesn’t release dust or hazardous fumes. Also, since your heat gun sports a cord, be careful not to trip over the cord as you work.
- Paint Remover/Chemical Stripper
Paint strippers are chemicals designed to remove paint by breaking down its bond, making it easier to scrape off. But, chemical strippers can be absorbed through the skin and cause various side effects. As such, use them carefully and take necessary safety precautions, such as ensuring you’re fully geared for the job.
Also, most chemical strippers don’t come cheap, meaning you have to dig deeper into your pockets if you need to strip paint off a large area. Still, one paint remover might work on a particular type of finish and fail on another. As a result, there might be a bit of trial and error involved to establish the ideal stripper for your application.
A sandblaster uses an air compressor to scrape off the paint by shooting sand onto a surface at high speed. If you’re hot on DIY, you can rent a sandblaster at a home improvement center and get to work.
Generally, sandblasting works well on various surfaces. But, it can get a tad messy if you don’t apply the appropriate technique. Besides, dust accumulation could be potentially hazardous.
If you’re working on a large area, sandblasting is less arduous than sanding by hand. Plus, it’s ideal for extracting paint from surfaces with gaps or nooks that might be hard to reach using other approaches.
A blowtorch is a tool of choice for many homeowners as it gets the job done relatively fast. Some models sport control knobs for adjusting the heat to increase or decrease the heat’s intensity. Others include special attachments for distributing heat around the work surface.
Unfortunately, since a blowtorch produces a naked flame, you need to be careful not to start an unexpected fire or cause scorching. Hold it safely, say eight or so inches from the work surface, and move it back and forth as you apply heat until the old paint bubbles or wrinkles. After that, you can fish out a paint scraper and finish off the job.
However, a blowtorch may not be an idea for some surfaces. For instance, heating a glass surface could cause it to shatter or even explode.
- Power Sander
Unlike manual sanding, electric or power sanding speeds up the stripping process. This makes a power sander ideal if you have a large area to cover. As you use the tool, apply some pressure, but just enough to remove the paint without damaging the surface underneath. In particular, it’s easy to gouge wood if you apply too much pressure.
Start with coarse sandpaper, and swap to medium or fine-grit paper as you progress. While at it, you might have to deal with the dust that usually forms as you sand a surface.
Be sure to put on appropriate safety gear, especially if you’re stripping lead paint, as it poses a hazard. You might also need to find out if an electric sander is a proper or legal tool for stripping paint in your locality, as some communities are known to frown upon or even ban its use.
- Paint Scraper
Scraping uses a sharp paint scraper or putty knife to remove paint. Although dust might still be a problem, it’s easier to contain it as compared to using a power sander. But remember to wear appropriate safety equipment.
Scraping is a labor- and time-intensive process and may not work in large areas. But, some contractors tend to prefer it over other methods for removing loose paint on exteriors.
Ideally, note the type of surface you intend to work on and establish the ideal option before jumping headlong into the job. Some methods might be great for metal but may not work well on wood, concrete, or brick surfaces. To eliminate the frustration of not nailing the project at the first attempt and settling for a do-over, hiring a professional for the job might be prudent.