A good layer of paint can revitalize any space or object – but it can also ruin it. This is especially true for metal components, like outdoor furniture, hardware, and accessories.
Paint bonds well with metal surfaces, which can make removal a bit difficult. That being said, with the right tools and a lot of patience, you can return any object to its shiny glory.
Here are 5 techniques to remove paint from metal.
Regardless of the surface material, the most common method for removing paint involves paint strippers. However, this product includes harsh chemicals that can be dangerous.
If you use a paint stripper, make sure to protect yourself with gloves, long sleeves, a respirator mask, and effective ventilation. It is safest when used outdoors. It is ideal for surfaces with little nooks and crannies, such as fences or railings.
The paint stripper can be applied in thick coats with a disposable chip brush. Let is set according to the instructions, typically 30 minutes to a couple of hours. It will bubble when it’s ready.
Then, use a rag to wipe away the stripper, and the paint should come off too. Repeated applications might be necessary.
DIY Paint Stripper
Looking for a way to avoid harsh chemicals? No worries, we’ve got a DIY method that is much more gentle. This option is best for metal pieces that can fit into a bowl, such as handles, knobs, and hinges.
In a disposable aluminum tray, submerge the hardware in boiling water. For every quart of water, add 1/4th cup of baking soda. Vinegar will also work. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes to an hour, or until you notice the paint begin to peel away from the metal.
Remove the pieces and use a soft washcloth to remove the paint. Polishing or tarnish removal will likely be necessary.
For stronger metal pieces, such as steel, beams, pipes, flat surfaces, and metal furniture, use an angle grinder.
Strip disks are available in many different abrasive materials, but not all of them are tough enough for paint on metal. Fit the grinder with a strip disk that is specifically designed for this.
When you run the grinder against the surface, you sand away the top layer of paint. Go over the same section as many times as necessary until the metal is exposed.
While this method uses a machine to do the dirty work, note that it is extremely loud and creates a lot of dust. A respirator mask and ear protection are recommended.
>> If you are planning to repaint the area read our tips for prepping a steel surface.
With directly applied heat, the bond between the pain and the metal can be melted. A heat gun is used to achieve this.
Start on the lowest setting and hold the heat gun a few inches away from the surface, slowly moving it back and forth. Once the paint begins to bubble or pull up, scrape it off using a putty knife.
Do not focus on one spot too closely or for too long. Remember that metal conducts heat, which means it can get very hot and warp. Use heat-resistant gloved and avoid touching the metal.
Finally, you can forgo the chemicals and machines by doing it the old-fashioned way, with a paint scraper. Obviously, this won’t be the most efficient method for large projects, but it works well for small areas with weak or already flaking paint.
Paint scrapers come in a variety of sizes and materials. You will need to choose the best for your specific project. For example, a plastic blade is ideal for softer metals such as brass.
Furthermore, a wide blade is best suited for flatter, wider surfaces, while a narrower blade can be used for tighter, harder-to-reach areas. With a little elbow grease, the metal surface can be restored!
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