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How to Safely Remove Exterior Paint

We’ve created many blogs on how to apply paint, but what about removing it? Stripping paint or other wall coatings is usually something that DIYers and builders hate to do, but what goes on, eventually has to come off!

Safety First

Paint stripping is already dirty and hard work, make sure you have these items to protect yourself:

Eyes – when scrapping old paint off a wall, chips can fly off so make sure you’re wearing safety goggles. Wear wrap around safety goggles if you’re working overhead or using paint stripper, as this can splash.

Lungs – if there is lead in the paint, you’re removing then you need a facemask that has a P100 rating, or a dual-cartridge respirator that is rated to protect against organic vapours.

Hands – you need to wear work gloves for handling sandpaper and scrapes, or if you are working with paint stripper then you need chemical-resistant gloves.

First, using a 600 grit sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block to smooth and dried blobs of paint, then dip the sandpaper into a bucket of water and use a plant mister filled with water to wet the paint, sand this lightly whilst keeping the surface wet at all times/ after this take a hose and rinse any of the pigment or sanding residue off nearby siding.

If you don’t want to sand by hand, use a random-orbit sander that is fitted with a 36-grit sanding disc, this will grind through the top coat of paint quickly. Make sure that you empty the sanders dust collection bag.

If you have an area that is in a really bad condition, then stripping the paint off might save you some time compared to sanding it. Spread drop cloths on the floor, protect siding with painters’ tape (not masking tape). Remember that paint stripper will only soften the paint and you will need to scrap it off.

A lot of people forget that a newly stripped surface will need to be neutralised and rinsed before a new coat of paint is applied, otherwise the chemicals that are in the stripper will discolour the paint and prevent it from sticking to the surface. The paint stripper manufacture will recommend the correct neutraliser to use, this could be an acidic solution or a cloth that is covered in paint thinner, so make sure you read the instructions.

When you are done, contact the council of your town to see where you can dispose of the paint stripper goo that you have had to scrape off your home, it might contain lead which means it’s a hazardous waste.

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