How To Remove Paint From Concrete Floor 2021 - Step by Step Guide
Last updated: 3 May, 2021
Concrete is an economical flooring option that is loved by the masses due to its least maintenance requirements. However, concrete, being a porous surface, readily absorbs the liquids like chemicals and paints. Paints and liquids can penetrate deep down onto concrete if not cleaned on time. It is an extremely tiring and time taking process to remove paint from the concrete floor.
Especially oil-based paints, due to their fantastic adhesion properties, require specialized tools and techniques. Many people are looking for a cost-effective solution to this problem. The Internet is flooded with various tips and techniques, but the thing is: do they actually work?
Here is a complete guide on how to remove paint from concrete? This article contains all the validated tools and techniques to remove paint from the concrete. We are hopeful this article will help you get out of the situation.
What is the best way to remove paint from concrete?
How do you remove paint from concrete without chemicals?
Will a power washer take the paint off concrete?
Do I need to remove paint from concrete before repainting?
Will baking soda remove paint from concrete?
Does vinegar remove paint from concrete?
How to Remove Paint From Concrete?
There are various factors that decide which tools and techniques will be best for you. These factors include the porosity level, type of paint, amount of spill, and size of the area you are dealing with.
1. Paint Stripper
Paint strippers are excellent chemicals that help you remove paints, chemicals, polishes, and other coatings from furniture, floors, walls, and other surfaces. Additionally, it also cleans the surfaces and gives them a shiny finish.
While roaming around the market, you will come across various products labeled as “paint strippers.” Keep these points in mind while purchasing a paint-stripper:
- Carefully check the label, whether this product is perfect for your job or not. For example, a paint stripper specialized for removing paints and varnishes for wood won't work on concrete. Buy the best paint stripper for concrete.
- Make sure your chemical is formulated to remove the type of paint you are dealing with. For example, if you are dealing with oil-based paint, your paint stripper should also be formulated for oil-based paint.
- If you are working on a large surface, make sure the product you buy is of thick consistency. Thicker paint strippers tend to stick better and are pretty easy to apply.
- Buy an inexpensive brush to apply the paint stripper on the surface. As evenness and neatness don't matter, there is no need to spend extra bucks on an expensive paintbrush.
Other things you will need are
- Paint scraper putty knife
- Wire scrub or scrub brush
- Protective gear like gloves and goggles
Step 1: Clean the Concrete Surface
The first step is to thoroughly clean the affected concrete surface and allow it to dry. The first thing you need to do is to wipe off dust and debris from the concrete surface. A contractor’s broom or long handheld sweeping brush will do the job for you. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust from the garage floor. Then prepare a solution of warm water and soap. If you are dealing with a large spill of oil-based paints, it is recommended to use trisodium phosphate.
Trisodium phosphate is an effective chemical used to remove grease and other stains from floors. This is a toxic and dangerous chemical and should be handled with proper care. Wear full sleeves, clothes, and pants to avoid direct contact with the chemicals. Moreover, wear gloves and safety goggles while working with trisodium phosphate.
Take a dilute solution of the trisodium phosphate and mix it with warm water. Start cleaning the floor with TSP solution or soapy water using a broom or handheld brush. Keep on rubbing with a brush for a few minutes, and then rinse off with water. Make sure no soap and TSP solution is left on the floor. Wait until the floor is perfectly dried. Usually, it takes around three to four hours to dry.
Step 2: Apply Paint Stripper
The next step is to apply the paint stripper. If you have used a TSP solution, some of the paint may already have started to peel off. If yes, then scrape as much paint as you can before applying the paint stripper. Then apply a thick layer of paint stripper using a paintbrush. You can also use a handheld sweeping brush or broom for this job. Evenly apply paint stripper on the affected area.
Paint stripper is also a toxic chemical, and you must wear protective gear like rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a respirator when working with a paint stripper. If a respirator is not available, wear a face mask to avoid the fumes.
Let it Set
Some people often complain the paint stripper doesn't work. Remember, a paint stripper doesn't work until you provide it sufficient time to do its job. It may take as long as 8 hours. In these eight hours, the chemical will penetrate the concrete surface, and a chemical reaction will take place, resulting in the removal of paint.
Remove the Paint
After eight hours, paint has already started to chip and peel off. You can use various tools like a putty knife, a wire scrub, or a paint scraper. If you are working in a large area, you may need a commercial paint scraper to save time. Once you are done with paint scraping, it's time to wash off the residue. It's recommended to pressure wash the surface.
It will save you time and also result in 100% removal of paint and residue. In general, a water pressure of 3000 psi is enough to do the job. In the case of large spills and oil-based paints on porous surfaces, you may not get 100% results in the first attempt. Therefore you may need to repeat the same process two to three times to get 100% results.
Step 3: Seal the Concrete Surface
When the concrete surface is completely dry, it is recommended to seal the concrete surface. Sealing the concrete floor makes them more durable and long-lasting. It protects them from damage, decolorization, UV, stains, and chemicals.
A sealed concrete floor is easier to maintain and clean than a non-sealed floor. Apply the best concrete sealer evenly on the concrete surface with a paint roller or quality paintbrush.
2. DIY Paint Strippers
The good news is that you can slightly modify the commercial paint stripper to make your DIY paint stripper. For example, you can add fine clay powder to the paint stripper to enhance its thickness and consistency. Clay also enhances its absorbing properties.
This paint stripper will be more effective against old paint patches than the regular paint stripper. You can also add a paint thinner to the paint stripper to make a modified paint stripper. A paint thinner would help the paint stripper to peel off paint quickly and more efficiently.
Soda blasting is another environmentally friendly method of removing paint from concrete. This is a gentle and eco-friendly way of blasting off paint from the concrete. Soda blasting for concrete is different from traditional soda blasting or sandblasting. For concrete surfaces, sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is used. Traditional soda blasting can damage the concrete surfaces also.
Baking soda used in this process is relatively coarse than its food-grade counterparts. You will require professional soda blasting machinery for this purpose. You can rent a soda blasting unit from a nearby hardware store if you know how to operate it. However, it is recommended to hire a professional soda blasting service if you don't have the skill to operate the unit.
The working principle is that sodium bicarbonate explodes when it comes in contact with the paint coating. An exothermic reaction takes place, and all the heat energy is consumed to remove and peel off the paint patches from the concrete.
If you want to do it yourself, follow these steps
- Buy the commercial-grade sodium bicarbonate.
- Get a professional soda blasting unit.
- Wear all the safety gear like rubber gloves, plastic shoes, respirator, and safety goggles.
- Make sure that any part of your body doesn't come in direct contact with the solution. The higher pH of the solution can severely damage sensitive body parts like the eyes.
- Fill in the blasting unit’s reservoir with commercial-grade sodium bicarbonate.
- Make sure your electricity connection is safe and reliable.
- Check all the valves and seal them properly before starting the process
- The worker should take a position a few feet away from the affected area.
- Bring the blasting unit’s nozzles close to the ground and slowly spray the soda on the affected area.
Although soda blasting is an eco-friendly technique and most of the spent media is converted into a harmless powder. Still, you need to clean the working area thoroughly after the process. Baking soda can damage plants, grasses, and trees. It is advised to properly dispose of the spent media and peeled off paint patches to avoid environmental damage.
To get 100% results, repeat the process two to three times.
Ammonia is a common and effective household cleaning agent and can also remove paint from concrete floors and walls. Ammonia softens the paint patches, and they start to bubble off.
Alcohol and paint thinners can also be applied to remove mall paint spills from concrete floors. These chemicals will make the paint patches soft and less stubborn. Then you can easily remove the paint with a scrubber or paint scraper.
1. Floor Grinders
A floor grinder is an amazing piece of equipment used to level, smooth, and clean the concrete and other floors. These machines are available in both walk-behind or hand-held designs. A floor grinder with the specialized disc can scrape off large stubborn patches of paints from the concrete.
It is an expensive piece of equipment, so there is no need to buy a new one. Many rental companies and hardware stores provide floor grinders on rent. If you are not sure how to operate the floor grinder, do not take this risk because an unskilled person can damage both the floor and equipment.
It is recommended to hire a professional floor grinding service to remove paint from concrete. Moreover, it is strictly advised to wear safety gear like goggles, gloves, and respirators during the process.
2. Power Washing
If you want to opt for an eco-friendly and non-chemical solution to remove paint from concrete, power washing is the best option. It is more effective for freshly spilled paints and water-based paints. This method is more suitable for open areas like outdoor concrete surfaces. You will need a power washer, with a pressure of 3000 psi. In closed spaces like garages, you cannot handle such large pressures. Remember, this is a labor-intensive and time taking process.
If you are working in a large area with a heavy spill, it is recommended to use a commercial-grade power wash, with a minimum pressure of 3000 psi and a flow rate of 5 gallons per minute. If you don't have a commercial power washer, you can rent it from a local store. However, if you are not good at these tasks, it is recommended to hire a professional power wash service near you.
Heat is another non-chemical solution to remove paint from concrete. Thoroughly clean the surface and apply heat with a heat gun. As the surface heats up, the paint patches will start to peel off. You can scrape off the softened layer of paint using a paint scraper, scrubber, or putty knife.
Concrete floors and driveways are often prone to paint spills and other stubborn stains and patches. All the methods discussed above are highly effective. Always remember to seal the concrete surfaces after removing paint. It will increase its strength and durability and will make it easy to clean later on. Plus, it is strictly advised to follow the safety guidelines and wear safety gear.
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