Why not just paint over old, cracked and peeling paint? It sounds like a quick and easy fix, but sadly, it doesn’t work. The new Paint will soon resemble the old, cracking and peeling in many of the same places. Removing cracked, chipped and peeling paint is the best way to ensure that an exterior paint job looks great and lasts longer than one season.
Do you know if the paint contains lead? If the old paint (or an underlying coat of paint) contains lead, it is safest to consult a qualified contractor experienced in lead removal. Do not remove lead paint yourself. Old lead-based paint is the most significant source of lead exposure in the U.S. today. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, harmful exposure to lead can be created when lead-based paint is improperly removed from surfaces by dry-scraping, sanding, or open-flame burning. High concentrations of airborne lead particles in homes can also result from lead dust from outdoor sources, including contaminated soil tracked inside.
Be aware of all federal, state and local laws regarding the removal of lead-based paint. New laws are created regularly and old laws are sometimes modified. The local health department is a good resource for current information regarding the removal of lead-based paint.
The methods below can be used if the paint contains not lead.
There are several ways to remove paint from wooden surfaces, using a variety of tools and methods. To treat a small area of peeling paint, homeowners need only be armed with a wire brush and a wide-blade putty knife. The wire brush provides abrasion and the putty knife can get under the paint layer to pry it off.
For larger areas, a tool to consider is a sharp pull scraper. The scraper does what its name suggests—separates paint from a surface. Carbide scrapers remain sharp over time, while scrapers of other materials may need to be sharpened. For hard-to-reach areas, some scrapers may be attached to a elongated handles. Scrapers should always lay flat against wood surfaces to guard against leaving gouge marks.
Several electric paint removal systems are currently available, using the concept of infrared radiation and minor heat to soften paint quickly and efficiently. A plate-like heating element “cooks” the paint. Some electric systems come with a built-in scraper. The paint can be scraped easily, with little need to exert pressure. This type of system can be purchased or rented. Once bare wood is reached, fresh paint can be applied with better adhesion.
When refinishing a wooden deck or fence, the best method for removing old paint is us a power sander. A sander will remove the paint and a thing layer of the wood. So be carful not or overdo it. Because the project is outdoors, ventilation is not an issue, but you should still wear a professional, multi-purpose respirator mask with compact filters.
For paint removal on metal, a wire brush attachment on an electric drill will remove rust and paint with less effort. If there are not concerns about scratching the surface, sandblasting or stripping chemicals can be employed, but both must be performed following directions carefully. Safety equipment should be used.
Soda blasting is another option for paint and rust removal, using bicarbonate (baking soda) to strip finishes. Material that is expelled from the blasting hose dissolves into the ground or washes away with the next rain.
To remove paint from concrete, scraping or chemical paint stripers can be employed. Depending on the type of stripper, the process may take from under an hour to eight hours to complete. Scraping can be done by hand, or by using a floor grinder. Sand or soda blasting will also be effective. Caution is recommended, as these items could remove the top layer of concrete and possibly damage the surface.