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The Home Depot

5 Paint Removal Tips & Tricks

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Painting > 5 Paint Removal Tips & Tricks
5 Paint Removal Tips & Tricks

Removing the old paint is essential before you provide a fresh coat of paint to your house, room, fence, or furniture. This can be done in several ways and the method you use will depend on the amount of paint you need to remove. Removing the old paint in the proper manner will ensure a better finish after the new paint is applied. Irrespective of the method you choose, it is a prudent idea to first wash down the area and scrub it well.


It may be essential to obtain a painting permit from local authorities and you should check the regulations and apply for one if required before beginning the project. Local housing associations may also have to be notified that you are planning to repaint your home fully or partially.


You will have to collect all the necessary equipment and safety gear before you begin your repainting job. Things you need include a stripping pad, scraping tools, steel wool, toothpicks, drop cloths, and a container to hold the paint that you have removed.

  1. Using stripping solvent is another way of eliminating the old paint. You must be careful while choosing which solvent to use and determining what kind of surfaces it is suitable for.


    You may come across a sufficient amount of chipped paint and this will have to be removed using a paint scraper or a putty knife. You must slide the scraper or knife under the loose paint and lift it off. Another option is to use a high power water jet to wash off all the chipped paint more quickly. The disadvantage here is that the process needs plenty of water and a major part of this goes waste. You will also have a major job at the end in picking up dead paint scraps all over the ground. If you are scraping paint off a metal surface, then you might want to use an electric drill with a wire brush attachment.

  2. 2.Using Solvent

    Using stripping solvent is another way of eliminating the old paint. You must be careful while choosing which solvent to use and determining what kind of surfaces it is suitable for. A solvent in the form of a gel or a paste is ideal for walls and ceilings because this minimizes the danger of the solvent dripping all over. It is runny and can be messy. Usually the gel-like solvents can be applied in only one direction. Solvents will take some time to do their job even if they appear to have dried out. If you are wary of chemical solvents, there are many non-toxic and eco-friendly solvents available in the market today. These may be a little more expensive than the chemical ones.

  3. 3.Heat Guns

    A heat gun can also help in quick removal of old paint. Here, the heat from the gun loosens the paint and makes it easy to remove it. A good choice would be a gun that can heat up to about 500º Fahrenheit and help remove any number of layers of paint. You just need to heat each section for about 30 seconds and then scrape the paint off. Yes, it seems and is very tedious.

  5. 4.Sanding

    You can use either sandpaper or a sanding machine to remove the old paint while smoothing the surface for repainting. An electric orbital sander is considered the best choice because an electric disc sander or a belt sander can leave swirls or dips in the wood. This will eventually show through any new paint that you will use.

  6. 5.Dipping

    This method is ideal for smaller objects that need to have the paint removed. Suitable candidates would be small pieces of furniture or the parts of a bigger item such as a fence. In this process, the object is completely immersed in a liquid caustic till the paint starts to fall off. Though a favorite with professionals, it can also be adapted to a smaller scale such as home use.


    Whenever you take up the chore of paint removal, make sure your eyes are protected and your hands are covered with heavy duty gloves. A dust mask is also a must to ensure that no paint dust or particles reach your lungs. Taking these precautions will keep you safe while you provide a fresh new coat of paint to your home or furniture.

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