How to remove paint from walls and ceilings

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When repairing an apartment, one often has to face the task of removing old paint from the surfaces of walls and ceilings. The solution to this problem in most cases is not an easy task. We invite you to familiarize yourself with the different ways to remove paint.

When to remove paint from walls and ceilings

It is necessary to remove paint from the walls when you plan to decorate the walls with tiles or wallpaper. Or before leveling the walls with plaster. The painted surface does not have sufficient adhesion.

It is not necessary to remove the paint if you intend to coat surfaces with a similar compound. For the reliable application of a new paintwork, in most cases it is enough to choose the right primer, which will act as an adhesion layer.

There are a number of methods that can be used alone or in combination with each other to get rid of old paint. These include mechanical, chemical and thermal disposal methods. The use of a particular technique depends on several factors:

  1. Paint type:
    • oil
    • water-based
    • acrylic
    • nitroenamel
  2. Surface type:
    • concrete
    • brick
    • plaster
    • wood
  3. Planned wall and ceiling decoration. For example, if the task is to lay tiles, then high-quality cleaning of the walls from paint will be required, but if we are talking about wall panels, then it is enough to remove the paint only in places where it lags behind.

Unfortunately, the most difficult thing to remove paint, as a rule, from a concrete unplastered surface, but this is the most common case. In this regard, let’s look at the main methods of removing paint from concrete surfaces – walls and ceilings..

Purely mechanical work

The most common, effective and safe, but also the most time consuming method of removing paint is mechanical. Its implementation can be different – both with the use of hand tools (ax, spatula, chisel) and power tools (grinder, perforator or drill), including those with special attachments. Since such work is associated with a large amount of dust and particles flying off the walls, it is imperative to wear goggles and a respirator to protect the face and respiratory system..

“Grandfather’s” methods. Ax, chisel and trowel

One of the oldest methods of removing paint is using a small ax, which is used to make frequent scars to break the paint layer. After that, warm water is sprayed onto the surface with a spray gun, the paint and the base under it will get wet and then it will be much easier to remove it using the same ax.

If working with an ax quickly leads to physical fatigue, and the layers of paint are weak and peel off the surface, then you can use a chisel with a hammer. If the paint practically does not hold, feel free to take a spatula instead of a chisel and clean off the layer without a hammer. It is even easier to scrape off the paint by applying liquid glass to the wall or ceiling, which, when dry, breaks its layer.

Grinder, drill and hammer drill

If you are not afraid of the colossal amount of dust, and the neighbors are tolerant of noise, work will be significantly accelerated when using a grinder equipped with a wide circle. The process will be long – on average, for every minute of such work, there is a wait of twenty minutes until the dust settles. On the other hand, the dust problem has now been partially solved – the equipment is sometimes equipped with dust suction units. As for drills and perforators, for such work they can be equipped with special nozzles – paint removers. You can use brushes and crown nozzles for working on bricks – all these tools will be effective in removing paint from concrete.

Pros and cons of chemistry

Another group of methods includes chemical methods, which are based on weakening the paint layer using aggressive substances. It is certainly easier than scraping walls and ceilings with an ax. However, the softened paint must also be scraped off after chemical surface treatment. There are certain limitations to using these methods. In particular, old and strong paint coatings are weakly destroyed when exposed to solvents or special washes.

In addition, working with aggressive components can lead to poisoning, burns or allergic reactions, therefore, increased safety requirements are put forward for the implementation of these measures – the use of protective suits, glasses and respirators. After finishing work, an unpleasant smell will be felt in the room for a long time. Also, chemicals are often expensive and require special disposal..

If, nevertheless, you have chosen the chemical “path” of cleaning the walls and ceiling from paint, then in this case, regardless of the chemicals chosen, you need to perform the following actions:

  1. Apply the product to the surface with a paint roller or brush.
  2. Wait until the paint layer softens.
  3. Remove paint with a spatula or scraper, metal brush.

The procedure for softening the paint may have to be repeated several times. What chemicals can you use? For the most part, three types of compositions are used:

  1. Ready-made brand washes that are on sale.
  2. Organic solvents, including acetone and white spirit.
  3. A mixture of quicklime and potassium carbonate or sodium carbonate (soda) in a 3: 1 ratio. Such a composition is used only in cases where the paint does not adhere well to the surface..

High temperature exposure method

No less dangerous than the chemical one, but still not as energy-consuming in execution as the mechanical one, is the thermal method, which consists in exposing the paint layer to high temperatures. This process uses a blowtorch or a hair dryer..

The use of thermal ink removal technology consists in heating the layer until it is covered with bubbles. A burner or hair dryer, if they are not available, can be replaced with an iron with a layer of paint heated through the foil. After swelling, such a coating is removed with a spatula, any scraper or wire brush..

However, the efficiency of work is often low – the paint will peel off only if the walls or ceiling are heated to a high temperature, which is difficult to achieve with a hair dryer in the case of a concrete surface.

You should be aware that when using the thermal method of paint stripping, the result can be exactly the opposite – some paints can adhere even more to the surface when the temperature rises. Therefore, the heated layer of paint should be removed immediately, otherwise it can bake and stick to the surface even more..

The disadvantages of the thermal method are obvious – apart from the fact that its effectiveness is not guaranteed, an open flame or a stream of hot air is dangerous – the paint can catch fire. When heated, it releases toxic components, which again makes it necessary to use serious methods of protecting the respiratory system and skin. Do not warm up wall sections near outlets and the wiring zone in general.

On the other hand, the positive thing about heating paint is that this method allows you to do without loud noise and dust formation, and financially it is much more profitable, since you do not need to buy expensive washes.

To remove any paint from walls or ceilings, you can use each of these methods or use them in combination. At the same time, you should be aware that the methods have different effectiveness depending on the specific type of paintwork to be removed..

So, for oil paints, the most effective are:

  • the use of paint pickers, brushes or crown nozzles during machining;
  • exposure to high temperatures;
  • use of factory washes.

Removal of “water emulsion” is most effective:

  • using a spatula or scrapers with repeated wetting of the layer with warm water;
  • with preliminary treatment of the paint with an aqueous solution of iodine, soap or alcohol solution, with gluing to a layer of newspapers and its further scraping;
  • using branded washes based on dimethyl chloride or formic acid.

Acrylic paints can be removed well:

  • dry with a metal brush or sandpaper;
  • with preliminary softening with hot soapy or alcohol solution;
  • solvents or factory washes.

And the last thing: it is quite possible to remove a layer of nitro enamel using any of the indicated methods (mechanical, chemical, heat treatment), and in difficult cases – by using them in a complex.

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