What stands in the way of an old house receiving a fresh coat of paint? Ten tenacious coats of the vintage material. However, you can remove it using these tools and techniques.

man stripping paint from siding

Lead Paint in Residential Buildings

Stripping paint from any house constructed prior to 1978 raises concerns about lead. You want to proceed with caution if this applies to your house.

Paint Stripping Techniques

There are three fundamental methods for removing paint: grinding, applying heat, and chemical removal. All of them require considerable effort due to the fact that the same binders that enable paint to adhere also make it difficult to remove. There are numerous methods for paint stripping. Each strategy has a number of advantages and disadvantages. However, each paint-stripping job is unique.

Paint Removal With Grinding Tools

While power sanding disks or clapboard sanders are extremely efficient on siding in good condition, they generate lead-contaminated dust. Although the tools can be equipped with a vacuum hose, extreme caution should be exercised to avoid releasing lead-contaminated dust.

Chemical Strippers & Heat Paint Remover

Additionally, heat and chemical strippers were tested. The primary disadvantage of the majority of heat methods is the risk of fire.

Chemicals are more complicated due to their variety. Methylene chloride, the old standard, is effective but extremely noxious. Additionally, some environmentally friendly strippers are available, some of which perform better than others. The least caustic chemicals appear to be the most effective, and some of the orange-based products work well.

RemovAll Chemical Stripper

RemoveAll is a water-based chemical stripper. Unlike other chemical strippers, it does not attempt to dissolve the paint but rather breaks the bond between the paint and the substrate.

The best feature of the product is its nontoxic nature. There will be no gloves, HEPA filter masks, or respirators, and there will be no safety glasses. Spray it on in the late afternoon, let it sit overnight, and the paint comes off in rubbery sheets the next morning. With long-handled, 3-inch-wide putty knives, we easily scraped it off.

Silent Paint Remover

“The Silent Paint Remover” heats to a maximum of 500°F—well below the immolation point of wood.
Hold it over an area for 20 to 30 seconds, then scrape it lightly to remove all the paint layers down to the bare wood. It moves at a breakneck pace.

As with any method of stripping that involves scraping down to bare wood, some sanding is required prior to applying the first coat of primer. Scrapers have a tendency to burnish the wood, resulting in an unsuitable surface for painting. Always sand all surfaces with a random-orbit sander and 80-grit paper to ensure adequate tooth for the initial coat of primer.