Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

March, 2007

Removing Paint from Concrete

Q: I own a guest house in the Dominican Republic,where humidity is high and rain storms are torrential.After originally being badly painted,the paint is now blistering and flaking in certain areas and very tight in other parts,making it very difficult to remove.I've tried scraping the loose paint off and repainting,but looks unsightly again very quickly.The whole house including the roof is built of concrete. Are there any product ie; sealers and paints or tools or machinery, that you could recommend I use.ANY advice would be very welcome indeed.

A: The most effective methods for removing the paint probably require that you hire a professional contractor who has the ability to abrasive blast the paint from the concrete surfaces.  I mention "professional contractor" since abrasive blasting usually incurs large volumes of dust and fine particles that need to be contained so that they don't pollute the air or cause damage to your or third party property.

Several types of abrasives are available, but because of their expense most contractors will not want to use them.  The least expensive abrasive is sand or something similar.  When contractors sand blast a surface outdoors they usually only recover the spent larger particles and dispose of the fine dusts. Moreover, the contractor must take steps to cover all surfaces, such as windows, doors, etc., from potential damage.  Plastic cloths or masking paper are taped to the surfaces to prevent damage.

Chemical paint removers are available, but you need to be careful to select one that does not contain hazardous ingredients.  Recently, I used a paint remover "PeelAway #7" by Dumont Chemicals, Inc., that was able to quickly remove a polyester powder coating from aluminum.  I have never used this product on painted concrete surfaces, but you might be interested in experimenting with this product or another one listed on the company's web site. By searching Google for "chemical paint removers" or “chemical paint strippers” you will find a whole host of products that might do the job just as well.

Removing the loose paint is very messy and time-consuming, and again you will need to protect the soil or ground from contamination, especially when the sludge-like loose paint falls to the ground.

You might need to thoroughly washed down the concrete surfaces and allow them to thoroughly dry before applying your new coating system.

Since I have not seen your particular painted surfaces, I strongly suggest that you experiment with a variety of products to determine which one will be the most appropriate for your application.  Furthermore, I cannot adequately stress the need for you to follow all instructions provided by the vendors, and especially pay attention to their health and safety warnings.


Ron Joseph

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