How to remove paint from concrete walls?
If you’re into home improvement, then you are thinking of how to rejuvenate your surroundings? How to easily remove paint from concrete walls and color your dim walls again? If this sounds like you, then you’re at the right place, as we’ll share some best techniques to get rid of the paint from your concrete walls.
We already know that concrete is a very cost-effective yet bottommost maintenance option. So, if you accidentally choose the wrong paint on a concrete surface but it is fresh, then don’t worry at all as it can easily remove by some very simple tricks. Like you can cover the surface with water-mixed detergent and scrub the paint off with a bristle brush.
But when it comes to dried paint on concrete, it is a bit challenging and time-consuming to get rid of it. The same goes with latex paint as it is less troublesome than oil-based paint. It is a time-consuming process but not an impossible one. Everything is possible in this world and so it is!
So, what makes the whole process daunting? Well, it is the porous concrete surface that makes the whole process look tedious. Paint gets seep into the surface of the concrete, which makes it hard to extract the paint out of the pores.
But don’t lose hope as this how-to guide will surely tell you the finest yet instant methods to remove paint from the concrete walls. Just sink in and have a look!
A Deeper Look At How To Remove Paint From Concrete
Before we dive into the step-to-step guide, make sure that you equip yourself with top PPE (personal protective equipment). You need a 50 to 250 Micrograms – Full mask with air purification and filters, non-permeable gloves and boots, and goggles to armor yourself from paint fumes or lead.
The Nature of Concrete
What are the attributes of a concrete surface? You probably note the sponge-like surface of concrete having several leaky spots. Due to that surface, concrete becomes vapor-permeable a.k.a., breathable.
Its porosity gets increased when the particles of coarse sand or gravel used are big. Its bibulous nature increases its strength and longevity. But we came across its cons when we need to clean it.
How does porosity affect the whole bond strength of concrete?
The porosity of the concrete surface is directly proportional to paint deepening. This means that the sieve-like surface is better for the paint to breach and boost the tensity of the bond between the paint and concrete. However, these strengthened bonds also come with their cons. The leachier the concrete, the more problematic it is to clean.
For that matter, it is recommended to seal the concrete first so that it can resist stains. Now we’ll have a look at the step-to-step tutorial on how to remove paint from the concrete walls.
Give the concrete surface a deep cleaning and allow it to dry
The first thing you need to do is to broom or vacuum the outer surface area. Get rid of all the gunk and filth so the washing process becomes easier.
Formulate a mixture of warm water and soap or warm water and trisodium phosphate (TSP). After applying the concoction, scrub the concrete surface with a wire brush. Keep in mind that you must wear your safety wears like long sleeves, goggles, or a pair of gloves. With that PPEs give this mixture about two to three hours to dry.
Note: Trisodium Phosphate is very harsh and toxic for that matter it requires careful handling. For this reason, many states banned this.
What You Will Need To Prepare This Mixture:
- TSP or soap water
- A rugged bristled sweeping brush
- bucket of warm water
- Hand Gloves
- face mask
- Fully coverage clothes
How to apply?
After wearing the exact PPEs, add the TSP or soap according to the instructions on the box. For instance, if you’re using TSP in a powder form then you need to dilute ¼ cup of powder in 1 gallon of water, which is an ideal proportion for heavy-duty cleaning.
You can do the same thing with soap and mix it in 1 gallon of water. Later, scrub it off with a wire brush in circular motions. Leave the solution on the concrete surface for almost 2-3 hours before rinsing it off, so that solution begins its magic.
For tougher stains, you need to persistently repeat the process several times until the paint removes fully. If you’re dealing with a huge surface of concrete, replace a 1-gallon bucket for a larger one and surge the ratio accordingly.
- It is inexpensive
- It is widely available
- Easy to use
- No heavy equipment needed
- No need to hire experts
- TSP can irritate the eyes and skin
- It is not eco-friendly
- Local state restrictions may apply when you buy it
- It can harm surfaces like glass, steel, and grout
Apply A Paint Stripper
After applying the above mixture, it is guaranteed that you’ll get rid of some stubborn stains, or if not, some paint may have already begun to chip. You need to scrape off as much as possible and then use the paint stripper all over it or where it is needed the most.
You can apply turpentine or mineral spirits, but if you encounter rugged paint stains, then this technique will not work. Just use a paint stripper which is made specifically for concrete, other paint strippers will not work.
If you want to use some other alternative, then, you can go for other solvents like acetone, paint thinner, denatured alcohol, and turpentine. Because when your household detergents refused to work, then it’s time to level up your solvents. Solvents are competent in softening the layer of paint so they can easily remove from the concrete surface.
Do not jumble paint stripper with the paint thinner. The earlier one is a solvent too and it is developed after apt. formulations.
What kind of stuff you are required to gear up this project?
- Paint stripper or solvent
- Low-priced paintbrush
- Wire broom and sponge
- Dust Mask
- Garden hose or a bucket of water
How to do this process step wise?
After prepping this mixture or the solvent, coat it on the concrete surface with a paintbrush. The paint stripper will take at least 30 minutes to set up. Later, it will create bubbles, which is an indication that the magic of the paint stripper is going to begin and it is swiftly lifting the paint from concrete.
For rugged paints, you will need a bit of patience. You need a wired bristle brush to scrub the area in a circular motion until the paint is aloof. If you’re applying the solvent then scrub it instantly, as it will evaporate swiftly.
After removing the paint from the concrete, rinse the surface with water or a sponge. If you are working outside of your house then a garden will work best. If you are thinking of using a bristle brush then be vigilant as this brush could damage the surface.
This method is very effective yet affordable for a homeowner
You don’t need heavy machinery for this method
You don’t require a Pro to assist you
It needs protective equipment because it contains toxic fumes
It can burn your skin
It can damage your concrete wall coating
- Allow the paint stripper to initiate its magic
Setting up the paint stripper depends on how rugged your paint stains are? You can leave it for 30 minutes or for more than eight hours.
Prod tip: Avoid applying the paint stripper in breezy or extremely hot weather as it might dry prematurely.
- Scrub the surface
Use a wide wire brush to lose the patches of paint. In circular directions scrub the surface off until no paint stain is left. If the stain was of latex paint, then apply warm soapy water but if it is oil-based it will give you a tough time to clean.
- Follow up the scrubbing with a power wash
Grab an intense garden hose or a power washer with 3000 PSI to remove any stubborn paint leftover. Make sure that you’re using a power washer as it is different from a pressure washer. The power washer uses heated water and pressure, whereas, the pressure washer uses only pressure to clean the concrete surface. This additional heat is necessary and effective when it comes to eradicating paint from the concrete.
What you’ll need for this method?
- Power washer or pressure washer (recommended psi of 3000)
- Detergent (optional)
- Goggles (recommended)
How’ll you, do it?
To confiscate the paint from concrete, it is advised that the flow of your power washer is above 4 GPM (gallon per minute). It is vital to remember that the industrial high-pressure cleaner can be extremely destructive for your concrete walls.
Once you note the above points, adjust power washer pressure with the nozzle according to certain guidelines. Give an adequate blast of pressure on your concrete wall.
Apply this from afar and then incrementally draw near. Gradually maneuver the pressure from top to down in an all-encompassing motion. You can add a degreaser or a detergent in conjunction with a power washer to aid in lifting the spray paint from the concrete.
- This method uses fewer water
- It is very operative on spray paints as well
- Light-duty power washers are less effective than industrial ones
- Industrial power washers are posh
- You may need to hire a pro
- High-end power washers can be dangerous if not used correctly
Repeat The Process Until All The Paint Is Removed?
If the paint didn’t chip off, then persistently re-do the process.
- Clean the area to get rid of all paint stripper
Once you wash away the paint, hose down the area and rinse off the paint stripper or solvent which you might use. After drying the concrete surface, seal the terrain with the paint sealer as you desire. After sealing or staining the concrete wall appearance will look better. Also, this technique shields the surface from other harmful UV rays and rudiments.
What is the process of removing latex paint from the concrete?
The step-to-step guide is:
- Spotless the concrete
- Apply ammonia because it is an everyday cleaner. Use this solution and let it sit for some hours. This concoction when applied to the paint will show some bubbles.
- Chip the paint off.
- Then apply the paint thinner where it is necessary
- Go for alcohol
What is the process for removing oil-based paint from the concrete surface?
Its step-to-step guide is:
- Oil-based paints indeed give us a tough time to remove but try to loosen the paint and chip away by using a paint scraper.
- Use the paint scraper and pour directly onto the remaining paint residue after removing the paint.
- To terminate the job using a pressure washer.
What are the Tips and Tricks which are on mark?
Always initiate the cleaning process with gentle moves and restrain from the abrasive chemicals. Because this will protect you from damaging the surface of the concrete.
When you opt for paint thinner to remove spray paint from concrete, keep a towel or spare cloth to dab the area. Why? Because paint thinner could melt the paint rapidly and can run into other spaces to make a mess.
One more alternative to TSP is non-toxic borax. Borax isn’t just effective but it is economical as well. You can also go for soy-based paint strippers which are also efficient in extracting paint from concrete.
Keep in mind that after applying the paint stripper on the concrete surface, you need to leave it for some hours but must not dry it on the very surface. As then it will be very arduous to wash that away. So, keep an eagle’s eye on it.
To lessen the filth, use a dust shroud. The dust shroud can be searched at a local hardware store. After buying it, the works become easier as the dust shroud will be linked up to the vacuum cleaner and remove the filth while you work.
We are pretty sure that you heard this saying that Prevention is better than cure! For that matter, apply it here while you clean the paint from the concrete surface. Just mask properly and prevent yourself from the spray paint hazards.
Apply a paint sealer on your concrete surface after cleaning it which heightened its longevity and make it easy to clean.
Products and tools you’ll need to remove paint from concrete
What are the PPE and vital stuff you need while removing paint from the concrete walls? Thinking about this! Don’t be. We have enlisted important gears.
Safety gears: Ensure to wear gloves, long sleeves, elongated boots, and a respirator when dealing with paint fumes.
Vacuum cleaner or a broom: These will support you clean up the affected area.
TSP alternative: This will assist you to make your concrete surface spot-free.
Scrub/Wire brush: Scrape off the excess paint from the concrete wall and make sure that it is longhand.
Putty knife: Peel off the chipped paint on the concrete surface after you’ve applied your solvent of TSP.
Paint stripper: This formulated solvent is engineered in a way to remove the paint from the concrete terrain by cleaning it underlying. You can go for the best eco-friendly DUMOND Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover. This product is smell-free as it is a water-based stripper.
It is non-carcinogenic and biodegradable which makes it safe for not just you but the environment as well. It can take away 15 coats of varied paints from the concrete walls. And you know what it offers? A neutral pH, which means that you will not have to neutralize the surface right after the cleaning.
- Environmentally friendly
- Non-toxic and non-carcinogenic
- Easy to use
May damage other surfaces
Can be difficult to remove if left to dry
Hose or power washer: This job requires a high-pressure washer or a hose to chip away the paint. You can remove the paint from your garden walls or outdoor surfaces by the pressure washer. But for the advanced outcomes, you need to glance at the power washer. Just adjust its pressure rating to 3000 psi and a flow rate above four GPM (gallons per minute) and you are all set to go.
Adjust a 15–25 degrees nozzle to create a pattern which you want and remove the previous paint from the concrete. Grab the wand at a bottom angle and spray it at least a foot away. Apply it in a sweeping motion and try to remove the paint. Try to incrementally get closer to the concrete to remove the tough stains.
Don’t want to use chemicals? Here’s how to remove paint from concrete naturally
Some other alternatives other than harsh chemicals have listed below.
- Soda Blaster
If the paint covers a huge concrete surface, then you should give a chance to soda blasting. Some of you might not be heard of it, don’t bother yourself we are there to tell you. This relatively novel technique of chipping paint from concrete walls works the same way as sandblasting but it is quite meeker on your concrete terrain.
So, what stuff do you need for soda blasting? You’ll need a soda blaster with sodium bicarbonate. After preparing this mixture, spray it on the affected area uniformly from a safe distance so that you do not end up blasting off the surface.
NOTE: make sure that you’re protected by your safety gear while doing this.
You can just rent it from some local hardware store. Make sure it should be the special one because the usual sodium bicarbonate or baking soda will not work. While doing blasting your plants are not nearby as their high pH level will deeply affect your plants.
For newbies, using a grinder can be risky. So, if you’re ready to go for the grinder follow a basic guideline that will illustrate the very fact that how to use it safely.
What You Will Need for Grinding?
- Angle grinder
- Full coverage clothing
- Vacuum cleaner
What is the Actual Method for it?
It is for sure, that while grinding the concrete walls, some of the concrete will be affected too. In that case, you need to be very careful while doing this. You can use the diamond wheel grinder and move gently on the affected area. Apply the pressure where it is required. Keep your pressure persistent, until you’ll be able to remove the excess paint from your concrete walls. Grab a vacuum cleaner near you as the grinder can be built up a lot of dust.
- This technique is very effective
- You don’t need toxic chemicals
- It is quite easy for someone pro with a grinder
- It generates excessive dust
- It is not for the inexperienced
Soap and Water: You can use soap and water mixture when your concrete wall is covered with water-based paints or it is freshly sprayed paint. It is worth it if you tried it on dried oil-based paint. As it is always best to initiate your cleaning with the most affordable yet eco-friendly process.
What You Will Need for this technique?
- Stiff-bristled scrubbing brush
- 1-gallon bucket of warm water
- Dish soap
- Absorbent towel
- Garden hose and water supply
What is its Proper Method?
Load the container with warm water and some added squirt of dish soap. Wet the concrete surface before applying this mixture. Then scrub the paint from the concrete walls in a circular direction with warm and soapy water. After a while, you witnessed the paint start to loosen up.
Once you find out this loosening process, rinse the concrete with fresh water and pat dry it with a cloth. You can add some white vinegar to this concoction which eventually upsurges its potency. But now this will damage a bit of your coating of sealed concrete. If it seems to be working then persistently repeat this process a few more times.
- This technique is very reasonable
- It is very effective in removing certain spray paints
- You don’t need a heavy machinery
- You don’t require some harsh chemicals
- It is way too eco-friendly
- This method necessitates elbow grease
- It is not effective on rugged paint spots or dried spray paint
- It is not effective on very porous concrete
How to Remove Paint from Concrete with a Sandblaster?
Just like soda blaster, the same goes with the sandblaster. It is better that you’re not using chemicals but you need to be gentle while using this on your concrete wall. A little misuse and speedy work will eventually result in disaster.
NOTE: Wear your PPEs like gloves, goggles, ear protection, and a dust mask.
You need to armor yourself because Crystalline silica is extremely toxic if inhaled. You need to shield your largest skin organ i.e., Skin, from this too, by wearing long sleeves and pants. When you turn on the sandblaster make sure that gradually open the valve to begin this process with a fine mist. Move the nozzle evenly in a sweeping move across the affected area.
How to remove paint from concrete walls by using heat?
You can use heat to remove paint. Make sure that you cover up the floor of the adjacent wall. First, wipe the wall with clean water then grab your heat gun.
Stay the heat gun for some time on the exact spot at least 5 inches away from the concrete surface. Heat causes the paint to bubble up. It will naturally come off from the concrete surface. Use the brush to take out the excess paint.
Latex paint is very easy to get rid of as compared to other oil-based paints. You can easily take it off by scrubbing on your concrete walls. If it is a bit rugged stain then you use a paint remover and let it to sit. Once it dries up, chip the stains off.
It is a bit arduous task to get rid of oil-based paint stains from the concrete wall. Apply a paint absorbent along with the paint stripper. Add these two in a container evenly and make a mixture. Apply them on the paint and let it sit for 30 minutes to one hour and scrub the surface with a nylon brush.
A floor grinder is generally used for leveling, polishing, and cleaning the concrete surfaces. As if you go a little tough it will eventually damage your wall.
We mentioned above, that you need to conceal your concrete’s porous surface. If you don’t, it will readily absorb liquids. And in extreme weather, your paint bond will seep into the concrete pores and strengthen its bond. This will gradually make it hard for you to clean the surface.
Go through the manufacturer’s instructions before applying sealants. Though, many of the coatings can resist light traffic after a day.
You can get rid of paint from your concrete walls without the assistance of harsh chemicals. You can give power pressure, nontoxic paint strippers such as soy gel, nontoxic, biodegradable paint strippers, soda blaster, etc. a try to illustrate their magic.
Its process is the same as we’ve mentioned above.
- Clean the wall thoroughly and pat it dry.
- Peeled the paint.
- Wait for 30 minutes to an hour after applying.
- Eradicate paint stripper remainder.
- Re-do the process.
Yes, it can. Plus, you can start from this potent ingredient as it is quite low-cost to use. We have already mentioned its method and concoction above. Remember if your concrete has a sealer or finishing coat on it then do a patch test first.
For that, you need 1 cup of distilled white vinegar, a small saucepan or microwaveable bowl, a sponge or paintbrush, and a paint scraper or wire brush.
First, heat the vinegar on the stove or microwave a bit. Don’t boil it! Before applying it on the walls take out the grease from your wall by sponge. Apply the hot vinegar over the affected area and allow it to set in for a minimum of 15 minutes.
When you witness that your paint is beginning to bubble then grab your spare cloth. Remove the loosened paint with a paint scraper or wire scrub brush. Wash the area with warm soapy water, then rinse and allow it to dry.
If your concrete walls are covered with latex paint then WD 40 can be effective. But if it is oil-based then try it out on a small surface and see how it reacts. It is because it is a light penetrating solvent and is not as effective as other solvents.
Just follow our guidelines and we guarantee you that you will get rid of your paint from the concrete walls. Leave your comments below and tell us about your experience while trying out this.
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