What if your simple renovation ended up destroying the look of a room?
For most of us, the go-to renovation move is to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. This is the standard process when painting drywall. With different wall materials however, sometimes you must first remove the old paint before you get started.
Unfortunately, removing paint from walls is harder than you might think. And a simple mistake or two can completely sabotage your new paint job before you even get started.
Here’s the good news: you can avoid these issues entirely by following a few simple rules. Keep reading to discover our guide to removing paint from walls!
1. The Patient Painter
We’re going to cover a wide variety of issues that you’ll encounter when removing paint from walls. However, the most persistent issue is also the simplest: the urge to rush through the process.
Your most basic tool for removing paint is the humble scraper. However, you must not attempt to scrape an entire area all at once. Instead, you need to bring a drop cloth and break your paint scraping into different areas.
Focusing on one area at a time helps you to clean the mess you are making as you go along. The alternative is to turn the very room you are trying to paint into a dirty mess. This is not good for your productivity!
If the prospect of scraping entire walls does not appeal to you, there is always the alternative: paint stripper. This can speed the entire process along, but don’t forget to bring the safety goggles and a respirator to protect yourself from chemicals.
2. Paint: “Leaded” or Unleaded?
The “flipping” spirit is in the air. And that means more and more buyers are scooping up cheap homes in order to make a profit or simply create their own dream home without breaking the bank.
“Cheap” houses usually mean “old” houses. But if the house was built before 1978, you have a special threat to consider: lead paint. If your house is that old or older, you should bust out the lead testing kit before you start removing any paint.
So, what happens if you find lead? The good news is that you don’t have to hire any kind of specialist to deal with the problem. The bad news is that if you don’t take certain precautions, lead can endanger both you and your family.
Lead is dangerous to you both in the form of paint chips and dust. So if you wish to protect yourself while removing paint, you’ll need special gear.
Equipment such as HEPA vacuums, a half-mask respirator, and a dustpan can all help you to safely remove lead paint from a room without breathing in the fumes. However, safety should be your highest priority: if you’re not up to the challenge of lead paint, you need to hire some professionals who are ready for the task.
Check with the EPA to make sure the painting contractor you choose is a Certified Lead-Safe contractor. You can search for a certified contractor here.
3. Bursting the “Bubbles”
When it comes to scraping the wall, you need to focus on more than simply removing paint. You should also be on the lookout for any “bubbling” on the walls.
Over the years, factors like water can cause unsightly bubbling of the walls. And there is no use putting a new coat of paint on the walls if you don’t take care of the bubbles first.
Taking care of bubbles is a 2-part process. First, thoroughly inspect the walls before you begin removing paint. With a little luck (and some good eyesight), you may be able to detect all of the annoying bubbling.
However, you need to check again after you have removed the paint. This removal tends to make the bubbles more visible, giving you a better chance to remove these uneven areas before you begin painting.
4. Exterior Walls: The Right Tools for the Job
So far, we have focused primarily on tools like the scraper. However, it’s important to be aware of other tools and techniques that can help with the job. Keep in mind that each method has its own unique benefits and drawbacks.
For exterior walls, you will want to break out the heavy equipment. Something like a power sanding disc can help you to strip paint very quickly and at little cost. However, because this only works on non-patterned siding, it is a very specific tool that you cannot take inside the house.
A heat plate or a heating gun is another good choice for removing paint quickly and without breaking the bank. However, you must be intensely careful because you are dealing with fire: if a stray ember meets a dry clapboard and you don’t notice, you could literally burn the entire house down!
Despite the scary reputation, a chemical stripper is one of the safest ways to remove paint from the exterior of a home. This is doubly true if you use a non-toxic chemical, reducing the need to use things like safety goggles or a respirator.
5. Painted Wood: A New Challenge Begins
As a homeowner, you know that not all rooms are created equal. If you are stripping the paint from wooden walls, you’ll need to master some alternative techniques.
The traditional method for removing paint from wood is sanding. All you need is sandpaper and a sanding block (along with a bit of elbow grease) and you can begin sanding the paint away.
The major downside to sanding is also its major upside: it doesn’t remove all of the paint. Instead, it removes enough for the new paint to stick to the walls and look good.
If you want to remove all of the paint (perhaps to show off the natural wood finish), you’ll need to strip the paint instead. This is similar to stripping paint from a non-wooden room: you use a liquid, gel, or paste-based stripper, along with a scraper, to remove all of the paint from the wood.
Removing Paint From Walls: The Art of Renovation
Now you know what to watch for when removing paint from walls. However, do you know the pros who can help you with both adding and removing paint?
We specialize in every aspect of residential and commercial painting services. To see how we can bring your renovation to life, contact us today!