How to Strip Paint

Whether renovating an entire house or repurposing old furniture, stripping paint can leave you with a fresh canvas to create something new. However, getting to this blank slate can be a tedious process. You may want to strip paint that's starting to crack and blister or just start from scratch to rejuvenate a tired surface. Whatever the case may be, there are many ways to strip paint. Each method has its pros and cons, and this guide will take you through the tools and techniques that lead to your desired result.


Whichever paint stripping process you choose, if you suspect the paint you're about to strip contains lead, it's best to call in the pros to help with removal. Search EPAs website for certified lead paint abatement contractors and be sure the paint removal process is properly contained.


Chemical Paint Strippers

There are a wide variety of paint stripping products on the market. It's easy enough to find these liquid, gel, or paste-based products in a local store or online. While they all work to dissolve paint, you may want to test patch a small, hidden section of the surface first to see if it will damage whatever is underneath.


Pros: Work best for fine details, hard-to-reach spots, and awkward-shaped surfaces. There's no dust or paint chips left behind. Therefore, optimal for lead paint removal.


Cons: There's a chance the chemical compound may damage certain surfaces. The paint removal process may be slower than other options. The process can also be messy and certain products produce a chemical odor.


How to Strip Paint with Heat

Heating up a surface with a heat gun or similar device can soften thick layers of paint or varnish. This causes the paint to bubble, allowing you to scrape the finish off the surface. The trick is to find the right temperature and rhythm of heating and scraping at the same time for optimal results. If the temperature is set too low, the job could take longer, but if it's set too high you could seriously damage the surface. When the paint starts to bubble, this is the time to scrape. There should be a safe surface nearby to place the heating device if you must put it down—to save other surfaces from damage.


Pros: Bubbles up thin film paint.


Cons: Dangerous fumes could be produced. There's also the risk of fire and charring the surface as well as igniting other nearby objects.


Sanding Paint Away

If you have a large, flat, outdoor surface to remove paint from, a sander may be a useful option. It's best if sanders are hooked up to a vacuum to capture the dust it will produce. However, understand that sanding cannot be used if lead paint is present.


Pros: Removes layers of paint without the use of heat or methylene chloride strippers.


Cons: Creates too much dust for indoor use, and should never be used on anything with lead-based paint.


Dumond Chemicals Paint Strippers


When you want to strip paint in a safe, easy way, Dumond® Chemicals offers a variety of effective paint removal products that are brushed, rolled, or sprayed onto a surface and then left for the proper period, then either scraped or pressure washed off. Look for Smart Strip™ and Smart Strip™ Pro to remove multiple layers of paint from both interior or exterior surfaces. These water-based formulas don't have an odor like other chemical strippers, they won't burn surfaces like the heat guns, or create dust like the sanders. Before starting any paint removal project, look to Dumond® Chemicals first for products you can trust.

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