Stripping Paint from Concrete

What You'll Need
Power Washer or Abrasive Washer
Soy-based Paint Stripper
Protective Equipment
Paint Scraper

Stripping paint from concrete is not an easy task and can't be accomplished with ordinary paint stripping materials such as paint thinner. Sometimes, the paint gets embedded onto the concrete pores so deep that stripping the paint becomes a burdensome task. Here are some steps to follow when stripping paint from concrete.

Step 1 – Remove the Exterior Surfaces

Before using chemical-based paint strippers, make sure that the exterior surfaces of the paint are loosened and removed first. This can be done by using a power washer. Most paints can be removed from a concrete surface using this tool. It uses highly pressurized water to scrape the paint or loosen it from the surfaces. Apply pressure on the concrete surfaces evenly until the paint loosens up.

For stronger paints, make use of a stronger abrasive washer such as a shotblaster or sandblaster. Shotblasters shoot tiny metal beads onto a surface to remove strong paints. Sandblasters also use the same mechanism, but they shoot sand instead of metal beads. Be careful when working with these power machines. The blast created by these devices can scrape any surface easily so make sure to wear protective eye gear and clothing. Read the device manuals very carefully before starting the engines. Sweep the surfaces evenly and never allow the blasters to stay on one particular surface for too long because it will eat away the concrete.

Since these machines are very expensive to buy or rent, use them only when working with wide surfaces coated with very strong paint.

Step 2 – Apply Chemical Strippers

Chemical strippers will remove any leftover paint that is not removed by the power washer or any other abrasive. Since most of these chemical strippers are toxic, it is best to choose those that are soy-based. They are environment-friendly and produce low odor. If the paint on the concrete is not that strong, apply these strippers without using abrasive washers.

Apply a significant amount of the product on a rag and apply it to the concrete surface. Make sure to apply it to all corners and crevices as well. Wait for a few minutes or a few hours depending on the recommendation of the manufacturer.

Step 3 - Scrape the Paint

Use a paint scraper to check if the paint has softened. If it has, scrape the paint from the concrete as carefully as possible in order not to cause too much damage to the concrete. If the paint is not yet soft, apply more of the chemical stripper and wait for the recommended time before scraping again.

Remember that it takes patience when using chemical paint strippers. The trick is to not allow the gel to work itself onto the paint long enough before starting to scrape.

Step 4 – Clean the Surfaces

After stripping paint on the concrete, clean the area with water. Use a power washer to hasten the cleaning process. Allow the concrete surface to dry.