Quick Tip: Removing Chipping or Peeling Paint

We have had a lot of chipping and peeling paint to deal with in our new house, and as a result I have had many opportunities to experiment with the different ways to remove it.  My new favorite way to remove chipping or peeling paint is a real blast – of heat.  Ha, ha, ha!  (I know, I’m a dork).

What do you need?

  • A heat gun if you have one, or a blow dryer with a high heat setting
  • A scraper – Either stiff plastic or metal.  If you use metal remember that it can easily gouge soft wood.  I like to use a painter’s 5 in 1 tool.

How do you do it?

Heat Guns Soften the Paint

Heat Guns Soften the Paint

Using the heat gun or blow dryer warm up the paint until it is slightly soft.  It might take a little trial and error to figure out exactly how warm you need your paint to be.  Too little heat and it won’t be any easier to scrape, too much heat and the paint will get gummy and smear.  Make sure to keep the heat guns moving to spread out the heat (and prevent scorch marks).

The softened paint scrapes of easily.

The softened paint scrapes of easily.

Then scrape your paint – it should come off with significantly less effort than when the paint was cold.

We sand anything that we can’t scrape off, and then if possible scrub the crap out of the painted object with an abrasive pad and a vinegar and water solution.  Anything that is left after that just gets painted over (if it hasn’t come off after all of that it is probably going to stay attached).

So far this method has yielded the best results in the least time for us, which is important for a person with high standards and limited time. 

Do you know a better way?  Let me know about it in the comments.