How to Remove Exterior Paint from Concrete

Concrete is the most basic flooring material. Many people prefer concrete to other flooring options because it is cheap, requires low maintenance, and is durable. However removing paint from concrete, especially if it is dried paint, will be a tough job because of concrete’s paint absorbing nature. 

Though removing paint from concrete is a tiresome and tough job, it is not impossible. With the right tools that are easily available in your home or nearby hardware store, you can remove the paint effectively. In this guide, we will teach you the step-by-step process of how to remove exterior paint from concrete.

Removing fresh paint from the surface of the concrete is easy. This is because the paint is usually not dried here and the concrete is still in the process of absorbing the paint. In such cases, here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Cover the surface with a wet cloth. Make sure the surface gets an ample amount of water.

Step 2: Apply detergent over the surface.

Step 3: Clean and scrub the surface with a hard-bristled brush. 

Step 4: Wash the surface again with water.

Step 5: Allow the surface to fully dry.

If you’re not working with freshly painted concrete, then you’ll have to tackle dried paint. In this case, the process becomes more time-consuming. In this guide on how to remove exterior paint from concrete, we will share the points that should be kept in mind while removing dried paint. 

Here are the steps that you should follow to remove dried paint from concrete:

Step 1: Clean the surface
First using a broom or hard-bristled brush clean the surface thoroughly. This is done to remove the dust and other particles from the surface. Then using water and soap, clean the surface. Make sure to use an ample amount of soap and water on the surface. It is recommended to use warm water. Now scrub the surface with a hard-bristled brush. You can expect some of the paint to get chipped off in this process. Repeat this process with soap solution until no more paint is left to get chipped off. 

Step 2: Apply the paint stripper
Once the surface is properly cleaned and you’ve chipped off as much paint as possible, you need to apply the paint stripper. 

As you all know, there are two kinds of paints available in the market. They are oil-based paints and water-based paints. Water-based paints are relatively easy to remove. Meanwhile, oil-based paints require more effort and time. To remove dried paint from concrete we need paint strippers. Paint strippers are materials that are used to remove paint from surfaces. There are paint strippers specifically made for both types of paints. 

If you know what kind of paint it is that you need to remove, then go for a paint stripper specifically made for that type. In case you don’t know the type of paint, then it is better to use an oil-based paint stripper. 

Once you have applied the paint stripper, allow time for drying. The time you should give for drying depends upon the quantity of paint you want to remove. It is recommended that you leave the surface to dry for at least four to five hours. 

Step 3: Scrub the Surface
Once the paint stripper is dry, you should scrub the surface using a wired brush to remove the loosened paint. Try to remove as much of the loosened paint as possible during scrubbing. You can also use warm water with soap solution while scrubbing the surface. 

Step 4: Power Washing
Once all the loosened paint is removed, subject the surface to power washing. Power washing is the process where warm water under pressure is applied to a surface and removes the dirt and dust particles from the surface. By subjecting the concrete surface to power washing, we can be sure that all the residual paints are removed. 

Power Washing is done using a machine called a Power Washer. It is easily available in all hardware stores. In case you don’t have a power washer at hand, then you can also use a high-powered garden hose as a substitute, although it won’t be as effective.

Step 5: Rinsing
Once all the paint is removed, rinse the surface with water and leave it to dry. 
In case you still see residual paint left, then it is recommended that you start the whole process from the beginning again. Yes, this can be tedious, but if you want to do a truly good job, then you need to put in the effort.

Do keep in mind that, it is better to avoid removing paint from concrete during windy or hot weather conditions because chances are high that the paint stripper will dry prematurely. This will not fully loosen the paint, and you may have to reapply the paint stripper multiple times just to get all the paint off.

Removing paint from concrete is rather easy and doesn’t need much technical expertise. All you need is our guide on how to remove exterior paint from concrete -- And of course, a can-do attitude to take the time and effort to do a thorough job. 

Happy DIY! 

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