Proper preparation is the most essential aspect of the painting process. If you are undertaking a painting project, you should know that the surface underneath the coat of would determine how good of a result you would get. Thus, if the surface is cracking, chalking, flaking, or peeling from its previous coat of paint, it will reflect on the new coat that you will apply. To prevent this from happening, you should strip the existing paint before you apply a new coat
The goal in determining the best paint stripper for the job is identifying the right method based on the characteristics of the surface and the type of paint used on it
- 1 How to Choose the Right Paint Stripper
- 2 Top 5 Best Paint Strippers
- 2.1 1. Rust-Oleum Automotive 255448 32-Ounce AircrAft Remover Quart
- 2.2 2. Goof Off FG651 Professional Strength Remover, 4.5-Ounce
- 2.3 3. SOY Gel Professional Paint Stripper Gallon
- 2.4 4. Goof Off FG672 Graffiti Remover, Aerosol 18-Ounce
- 2.5 5. VHT SP575 Strip Fast Aggressive Paint Remover - 11 oz
- 3 Conclusion
How to Choose the Right Paint Stripper
There are three categories at which paint strippers fall into namely, solvent, caustic, and biochemical
Caustic paint strippers
Caustic paint strippers, which are water-based, have a pH of 13 to 14. These contain lye as an active ingredient, which could be caustic potash (potassium hydroxide) or caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). The paint coat is loosened from the surface as the lye reacts with the oil component of the paint, turning it into soap. This type of stripper can cause lung irritation as well as skin burns.
Solvent strippers work on removing paint by either softening or dissolving the bond existing between the substrate and the paint film. This leads the paint coat to bubble up. Methylene chloride is a prevalent solvent used as a paint stripper but there are others used such as toluene, acetone, and ketone. Methylene chloride strippers are effective but the health hazards they pose are more extreme than caustic strippers are.
Biochemical strippers contain plant-derived solvents. These may contain terpenes, which are derived from pine or citrus; dimethylsulfoxide derived from wood pulp; lactic acid derived from corn sugar; soy oil; and citric acid. Some of these solvents have the capacity to induce skin irritation.
Aside from chemical paint strippers, there are other options for you to remove the current coat on the surface that you will be painting anew.
Heat can also be used to remove paint. You can use a torch, heat gun, or a low-intensity infrared heating system. The use of open flame such as with a torch is hazardous, which means that this stripper should be avoided. Using a heat gun, on the other hand, also has its risks. The fumes that it produces is toxic and it can also cause a fire. The safest option among these is the low-intensity infrared heater since it produces low heat only. When planning to use heat as a means to strip paint, consider the EPA standards since certain paint formulas, when heated, give off toxic fumes.
Sanding is also another option for paint stripping. This can be done by hand or with a power sander. This technique quickly removes the old coating through grinding the surface and its finish. When working with wood, sanding can remove some of it such as its intricate carved designs. For some surfaces, especially those with engraved details, sanding can be done as a preliminary method of removing paint, which is completed using paint strippers.
Power washing is another option for removing paint, especially for the exteriors of a building. Spraying at high-pressure rates is effective in stripping paint from stone, wood, bricks, and concrete. However, for those who are not familiar with the strength of using a power washer, damage to the surface being stripped, most commonly wood, comes as a result.
Tips in Stripping Paint
- When using ready-made paint strippers, the first thing to do is read the label. The label will contain all the vital information such as the precautions you should take, preparation requirements such as shaking or stirring the stripper before use, length of time to let the stripper on the surface and many others.
- Whichever stripper you plan to use, it is important to safeguard your health by wearing protective wear. Cover your skin, wear respirators that will shield you from solvent fumes, wear safety glasses, and gloves.
- It is also important to keep the area well-ventilated so that the fumes from the process can escape. If you will be stripping removable accessories such as cabinet doors, it is best to take them outside from stripping. If the stripping cannot be brought outside, comply with the OSHA standard exposure limit. The air in the room must change from 7 up to 10 times every hour by using a fan that will carry the vapors outside the window.
- The application of strippers can be done with the use of a brush, spray bottle, roller, or sprayer. The appropriate applicator will depend on the stripper’s consistency and the size of the surface to be stripped.
- Leave enough time for the paint stripper to do its work. The length of time that you have to let is stay is indicated in the label. Once the time is up, start scraping the goo into a container. You can use a drywall knife to do this. Toothpicks can be used to remove those in areas that cannot be scraped by a knife.
- The last step is to neutralize and wash the surface after all the old paint coat is removed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for this procedure. After which, give sufficient time for the surface to air and heat dry prior to executing further surface preparations and painting a new coat.
Top 5 Best Paint Strippers
The Goof Off FG651 produces an elegant and smooth finish after removing the paint
This is a versatile stripper since it can remove a wide variety of applications both intended and accidental ones.
- Has a wide array of applications
- Leaves a smooth finish
- Professional-strength/tough acting
- More Cost-effective than using traditional cleaning agents
- Guaranteed to work the first time you use it
- Effective in removing residues on different surfaces
- More applicable in removing paint stains and coats on small surfaces rather than on stripping huge surfaces
- Contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are toxic components
- Extremely flammable
- Produces discoloration and damage on some surfaces such as plastic
- Does not smell good
- Takes more effort for it to work, especially on paint and other substances that have already set and stuck on the surface
The SOY Gel Professional Paint Stripper is both an effective and economical solution for removing paint coats. An admirable feature of this product is that the solvent is derived from soybeans and other natural substances. This does not contain methylene chloride, which is a highly toxic agent commonly found in paint strippers. This is entirely biodegradable, which makes it good for the environment.
When it comes to safety, this paint stripper does not have any recorded health hazard and is also odorless, meaning no problems with fumes and allergic reactions that may come about because of it. Through this, the need for a respirator is eliminated.
This paint is great for those who want a safer alternative to toxic paint strippers.
- Not a health hazard
- No fumes-no need for a respirator
- Naturally derived from soybeans
- 100% biodegradable
- Safe to use but still requires wearing protective clothing
- Great alternative to using caustic strippers
- Applicable on a variety of surfaces
- Not tough acting-cannot strip paint that has set on the surface for years
- Requires a lot of product to remove several coats of paint
- Tends to leave the top paint coat soft and gummy for thick and old coats
- Not completely toxic-free
- Slow action
The Goof Off FG672 is intended for the removal of graffiti since its formulation is specifically made for cutting through spray paints. A good features of this product is that it can also strip ink and crayon marks on the surface without causing any damage such as discoloration.
It can be used on different surfaces such as wood, metal, brick, concrete, glass, and even on auto-finishes. The formulation of this paint stripper is another great feature because it is VOC compliant and does not contain any methylene chloride. Application is easy since it is sprayed and wiped off.
- Stays true to promise of removing graffiti
- Applicable on building surfaces as well as clothing
- Perfect for cleaning marks and stains
- The amount in the can could clean quite a lot
- Still requires some scrubbing for stubborn paints and stains
- Can dissolve some plastic types
- Effectiveness varies depending on the type of paint removed
- Not as effective with masonry as with other surfaces
The VHT SP575 is great for removing different paint and finish types such as lacquer, varnish, acrylic, enamel, and oil-based paints. This can be used on wood or metal surfaces to produce bubbling of the paint coat. The paint can then be scraped from the surface.
One great feature of this paint stripper is that it is aggressive in removing paint coats in just 15 minutes of leaving it untouched. You would not need any other tool to apply it since it comes in a spray can.
- Fast acting-strips paint in just a few minutes
- Ready to rinse and wipe off after letting it sit on the surface for 15 minutes
- Strong formulation that cuts through layers of paint
- Easier than power sanding smaller and hard to reach areas
- Easy application through spraying
- Not ideal for use on other surfaces other than wood and metal
- Extremely flammable
- Poses different health hazards such as skin absorption and eye damage
The ultimate goal in choosing the right paint stripper is to find the one most suitable for the existing paint coat on the surface and the one that fits your preferences when it comes to its formulation.
Comparing the top 5 paint strippers in this guide, the Rust-Oleum Automotive 255448 proves to be the safest, most effective and offers the best value for your money. Its powerful formulation is unlike the other products reviewed. It works within just a few minutes. But its strength does not have extreme setbacks such as high toxicity. In fact, it is a safer technique than sanding. It also does not produce too much fumes, which is something you should keep in high regard if you have severe allergies.
This paint stripper is applicable for both small and huge stripping applications on any surface, no matter what paint type was used, and how many years it has been on the surface. For your paint stripping needs, this product is a good place to start.
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