Best Way to Remove Exterior House Paint

Exterior Paint Removal

A fresh coat of paint is a great way to improve curb appeal and maintain your home’s exterior siding. For a long-lasting paint job and a great-looking finish, prep work is the most important part. The best way to remove exterior house paint depends on the condition of the paint, the type of surface and paint, and other variables.

Ready to paint the outside of your house and wondering how to remove the peeling paint? Learn the best way to remove exterior house paint from the professionals at Five Star Painting.

Paint Removal Warning

Scraping lead paint is dangerous! If your house was built before 1978, make sure you don’t have lead paint, which requires a different removal technique. Regardless of the type of paint, homeowners should always wear a respirator, gloves, eye protection, and ear protection (if using power tools) during paint removal.

Assess the Condition of the Paint

A house that hasn’t been painted in 50 years will require a different preparation technique than a house with five-year-old exterior paint. Regardless of the paint’s age, homeowners should always remove loose and flaking paint. In some cases, this is only in a few areas; other times this may be around the entire house.

Even if you don’t have peeling paint, it’s always a good idea to scuff up the surface of the old paint with 180-grit sandpaper to provide a good base for the new paint. You don’t have to remove all the paint, just focus on the areas where it peels off easily and scuff the other areas where it still adheres.

Exterior Paint Removal Tools

If you’re lucky, you can get away with a little elbow grease and a paint scraper. However, this technique will take too long if you need to strip all the paint on the house. For major paint scraping and removal, use the tools and techniques outlined by our experts below:

Hand Tools for Paint Removal

These tools keep things simple and only require some sweat equity and patience. They’re perfect for removing peeling paint in small and easy-to-access areas.

Putty Knife

  • Just like the knife you use to repair drywall. However, putty knives have different blade thicknesses, flexibility, and materials. Look for a metal putty knife with a stout and rigid blade that can handle scraping paint.

Paint Scraper

  • These are perfect for house siding with lots of peeling or flaking paint. With so many different styles, we recommend you visit your local hardware store to find what fits best in your hand and suits your needs.
    • A pull scraper is more ergonomic and comes with replaceable blades.

Wire Brush

  • A wire hand brush is best used in combination with a paint scraper to remove fine bits of paint and woody debris.

Power Tools for Removing Paint

When you need to remove a serious amount of peeling paint or all the paint, nothing gets the job done like a power tool. You can buy attachments for power tools you may already have on hand, such as a power drill. A word of warning: these tools are very effective at removing paint, wood and skin! Always be careful when using these tools to prevent marring your home’s siding or yourself.

Power Tool Attachments

  • Wire wheels, sandpaper, abrasive flap discs, and carbide discs – all of these and more will make quick work of paint removal. These attachments can be purchased for cordless drills and angle grinders.

More Information About Power Tools for Removing Paint

  • Cordless drills will work for smaller projects. However, they were not designed for continuous use and you may burn out the motor. If you’re scraping paint from the entire house, consider a dedicated paint scraper.
  • Angle grinders have plenty of torque and power but can be hard to handle on ladders or in tight areas.
  • Palm sanders are best for smoothing out wood that is marred and scraped from hand scraping or improper power tool use. However, with rough-grit sandpaper, they can also remove peeling and flaking paint.
  • Several companies make dedicated paint-removing power tools. These tools are up for the long run times and provide an ergonomic grip for extended use. Use these tools for big projects or house siding that needs all the paint removed.
  • Infrared ray tools operate at a much lower temperature than a heat gun and are very effective in breaking the bond between the paint and the substrate.

Chemical Paint Removal

Sometimes peeling paint needs a helping hand. Chemical paint strippers used in combination with scraping and sanding will help remove old existing paint and give you a great surface to prep for paint. However, this convenience comes at a cost, and using chemical paint removers on an entire house can get expensive. Paint strippers or removers are typically applied on the surface, allowed to work their magic, and then removed with a paint scraper or power tool.

Removing Paint with Heat

You can also use heat to remove exterior house paint. A heat gun or an infrared paint remover will heat up the paint so it peels effortlessly away from the wood. This is a great technique if you want to avoid sanding after scraping paint or if you don’t want to use chemicals. However, caution should be taken when using a heat gun. Two concerns are heating old lead paint and releasing this into the air. Also, overheating the wood can form embers under the surface and ignite hours later.

Power Washing to Remove Paint

Power washing is a great way to prepare your house for paint, but it should not be the sole means of prepping the siding. It may blast away loose and flaking paint, but many times this comes at the cost of marring the wood. Use a pressure washer before you begin scraping to remove very loose chips and flakes and resist the temptation to inch the nozzle closer to the wood to blast off that stubborn paint. Power washing is best saved for last to wash away dust and debris left from scraping.

In short, there are many ways to remove paint. The technique you use will vary based on your budget, how much paint you need to remove, and how much time you want to spend. Paint isn’t the only thing that needs to be removed. Looking for the best wallpaper removal technique? Five Star Painting has you covered.

Professional Painting Services

Scraping, sanding, prepping, pressure washing, priming, and painting – Five Star Painting will take care of all that and more when you hire us for exterior painting services. With so much experience in the industry, we know the best way to prep your house for paint and adjust our strategy for every home. Our experts will do everything they can to ensure a long-lasting and great-looking paint job. We even offer a two-year warranty on all our residential projects.