Paint removal is something that is not often considered when starting a renovation or fix-up job and can seem like a daunting task when you are inevitably faced with it.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to remove both interior and exterior paint that are efficient and cost-effective.
Heat, sanding, water blasting and chemical paint strippers are all viable options. See other Hirepool guides for water blasting your path or patio to see the best method for using a water blaster.
In this guide, we’ll only cover the heat removal and sanding methods. These are the most commonly used when preparing for painting or decorating, and will work for almost all types of paint on any surface.
All of the equipment mentioned throughout this article can be rented through Hirepool at very low prices! We specialise in providing tools for all your DIY projects, no matter the size of the job.
There are many benefits to hiring tools. Most notably, our stock is tuned and maintained by our team of expert technicians, so you can always rest assured that the tools will be in immaculate condition. You also don’t have to worry about storing the tools after use - just return them and get on with your next project.
There are several benefits to removing paint from different surfaces during your DIY project. It may seem like a hassle, but the effort you put in now will be worth it when you see the final result!
Paint removal in the early stages will prepare your surfaces for sanding, repainting and other re-touching. The work you put in now will also mean your job is easier as your project progresses.
Removing old paint leaves a clean surface that can be sanded and varnished, or repainted for a better finish. The resulting finish is far superior to simply painting over the old colour, as it will leave a smoother, flatter texture that's less likely to peel or crack over time, and will be more desirable upon the project’s completion.
Not only will the final product look better when you’ve removed the paint in the early stages, but stripping paint first can help new paint or materials adhere to the surface in question. You’ll be surprised how well your new paint or varnish takes to the painting surface when you’ve prepped it by removing old paint beforehand.
Before you start, it is important to take the necessary steps in preparing your surfaces and your space for removing the paint. Not taking the necessary precautions could result in harm or injury, and these are easily avoidable if you put these simple measures in place.
Your equipment you’ll need for the task depends on how you plan on removing paint. There are two main methods of removing paint; heat removal and sanding removal. Each of these has its own set of tools that will be required to carry them out. Some paint removal jobs will require you to apply both methods, so you should prepare accordingly. See below for the specific equipment you will need.
Regardless of which method of paint removal you use, make sure you read all of the relevant equipment manuals and follow their related safety guidelines.
Be cautious, as sometimes older types of paint can be harmful to inhale as they are being removed, such as lead based paint that can often be found in older houses. Lead particles are toxic to inhale, so extra care needs to be taken when sanding and removing this type of paint. Always wear a face mask and gloves for this procedure. We recommend that you learn about lead paint removal before you start any process of removing paint.
If stripping paint with a heat gun, remember that leaving it unattended, can be dangerous. Even if you have finished using it, a heat gun can stay hot for a long time, so keeping it away from flammable materials and within arms reach as it cools is important.
This type of paint removal requires a heat gun. Heat guns work by blasting the paint with hot air to soften it, causing the paint to bubble up. This makes it much easier to remove with any straight-edged tool such as a scraper.
Wood and wood trim surfaces
The exterior of weatherboard houses
Taking off multiple layers of paint or varnish all at once
Paint burn off set (for larger jobs)
Tarpaulins or drop covers
Mobile scaffold towers if working at height
Step 1 - Connect the heat gun to a power source. If you are working outside or in a large space, you should consider also hiring an extension cord to achieve the extra reach you’ll need.
Step 2 - Keeping the heat gun pointed away from your body at all times to avoid accidents or injuries, switch the heat gun on and direct the nozzle toward the section of the work surface that you are working on.
Step 3 - Hold the gun about 15cm away the surface you are working on, and move the gun back and forth over the area until the paint begins to bubble.
Step 4 - Hold the putty knife or paint scraper at a 30-degree angle and firmly scrape the bubbled paint away from the wood. You need to be careful when doing so to not gouge into or damage the wood underneath.
Step 5 - Continue heating and scraping along the area until the paint has been removed.
Step 6 - When complete, switch off the heat gun but do not leave it unattended. You should never touch the end of the heat gun, and always be aware of waiting for it to cool before packing it away or handing it to someone else.
Step 7 - If there are still small areas of old paint on your surface after you have heated and scraped then you can use a sanding method to gently remove the rest for a smooth and tidy finish.
Sanders works by removing paint and varnish through abrasion. Abrasion is the rapid wearing down of the paint, forcing it to come off the surface in dust form. Be very careful not to breath in the paint dust when executing this method - as mentioned earlier, paint fumes and particles can be harmful or toxic when inhaled.
There are lots of different kinds of sanders you can use around your home or job site to remove paint or varnish from a wide variety of surfaces. Below are the most common, and can be easily hired from Hirepool.
Orbital sander - versatile for many different sanding jobs
Belt sander - great for flat surfaces and planes such as tables, benches or weatherboards
Wall board sander - best for sanding walls, ceilings and plaster board before painting
Flooring sanders - for removing old varnish or paint from wooden floors
If you are unsure which sander is right for your paint removal job, chat to a local expert at Hirepool.
When preparing to carry out your paint removal job via sanding, there are a few key health and safety factors to keep in mind.
We recommend always using the appropriate safety equipment during this job. This includes a face mask to avoid dust inhalation, hearing protection, gloves to avoid injury while using the sander, covered clothing and safety glasses to protect against flying particles and appropriate footwear.
Ventilation is also very important for this method of paint removal. Make sure you have windows open or some other form of air flow if you are working indoors to ensure the air stays fresh and non-toxic.
Lastly, you should use a tarpaulin or old sheet of material to cover all surfaces that you are not working on. This is not a safety precaution, but it will save you a lot of time in the cleanup phase of your project due to paint dust settling around your work space.
Step 1 - Clean all the surfaces you will be sanding to ensure there is no dust or grease to clog up the sander. This will mean there will be minimal interruptions while you sand the surface. Most standard use household spray-and-wipe cleaning products will do, but ensure the surface you are sanding is dry before you begin.
Step 2 - Choose the right sandpaper for your job. When you start to sand, make sure you start with coarse grit sandpaper (the kind that is rougher to the touch) and work your way down to finer grits as you go. Progressing from rough to fine sand paper will make for a smoother finish when your project is completed.
Step 3 - Switch your sander on and ensure it is up to speed before applying to the surface you are sanding. While each sander will vary, generally keep the sander in motion as you use it across the surface of the area.
Step 4 - Continue to do so, repeating the process with finder grits of sanding paper until either the sheen has been removed from the surface (if repainting over areas like trims and windowsills) or all of the paint has been removed and the wood is revealed and has been smoothed by the sander.
Step 5 - Lastly, make sure you vacuum your work space regularly to minimise the amount of dust in the air. For larger sanders, make sure you empty the dust bags regularly so as not to get dust caught inside the machinery. If sanding large areas, we recommend hiring a vacuum cleaner from us to avoid your domestic vacuum from becoming damaged.
We hope you have enjoyed our guide on effective paint removal. Remember to always follow the safety guidelines set out in this brief to stay safe on your DIY jobs!
We know that a lot of people looking to carry out DIY jobs around their home don’t always have the right tools at their disposal. That’s why we recommend hiring from Hirepool. We have a variety of tools and equipment to help you strip paint and varnish around your home, including everything that we’ve set out in this guide.
You can book one online or get in touch with your local branch to talk about which hire gear is right for your DIY project. Our team is friendly and always happy to help. Take your DIY job to the next level by calling us on 0800 15 15 15 today!