If you’re stuck with the difficult task of removing paint from concrete, it may seem like there’s nothing that will work but a jackhammer. Not to worry, there are at least three reliable, simple ways to get that paint off your concrete. It all depends on the size and difficulty of the stain, but all you’ll need is some easily obtained materials and a little elbow grease.
For Small Stains
1. Prepare the Surface: Use a shop vac or a broom to clear the area of all dust and dirt. Use a scraping edge (like a drywall knife or a flathead screwdriver) to remove any loose paint that may be on the concrete.
2. Apply a chemical paint stripper. The right chemical stripper is based on the substance of the paint, there are different strippers for oil and water-based paints. If you’re not sure which to use, go for an oil-based paint stripper just in case. You can find this at your local hardware store. Follow the directions on the container.
3. Let the stripper do its thing: Depending on the type of paint stripper you’re using, you may have to let the stripper sit on the paint for 1 to 8 hours. Some brands take only minutes. Please read instructions carefully.
4. Scrub: Use a wire brush, or a power washer if the concrete area is outdoors, to remove the paint.
5. Repeat if necessary: If some paint still remains, start back at the beginning of this list.
6. Clean the surface: If all the paint has been removed, use pressurized water or other means to clear the paint stripper from the surface. This can often even out unsightly “clean spots” left behind by the chemical stripper.
For Big Stains
1. Consider Soda Blasting: If you’re paint stain covers a large area, using a chemical stripper to remove it may be a daunting task. Consider renting a blaster using baking soda as a scouring agent. This is a good strategy because it is effective, environmentally friendly, and will not damage the concrete underneath.
2. Obtaining a blaster: In order to effectively perform soda blasting, you will need a tool called a “pot blaster.” Your local hardware store should be able to rent a blasting unit to you, and may also carry the specialized baking soda needed for the job (standard kitchen baking soda is too fine).
3. Blast the painted area: Take your time when using a blaster to remove paint. Work the nozzle slowly over the painted surface, keeping it about a foot and a half off the ground. Move in a even pattern across the surface making sure that all paint is removed. This is a MUST: wear a respirator so you do not inhale particles of paint or baking soda.