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How To Remove Paint from Concrete

There are a few methods for removing paint from concrete including a pressure washer, chemical paint stripper, concrete grinder, and sandblaster. The method and material for removing the paint will depend on the size of the paint spill, porosity of the surface, and base type of paint. We will go into more detail with each method below. 

Using a Pressure Washer

Using a pressure washer or power washer is the easiest and most effective method for removing paint from exterior concrete. Simply blast the paint with a high-pressure stream of water, and it should come off relatively easily. We recommend using a pressure washer with a pressure rating of at least 3000 psi. Pressure washers can be quite an investment, but you could always rent one for your paint removal job as well.  Another important thing to note is that when pressure washing paint off concrete, be careful to not use a setting that is too high otherwise it may damage the concrete itself. 

Using a Chemical Paint Stripper 

Paint strippers are typically designed to remove paint from wood, but they also work wonders to loosen and remove paint from concrete surfaces as well. When choosing a paint stripper, be sure to select a paint stripper that will be effective on the type of paint spill you have – oil-based paint vs. water-based paint. 

Typically you will need to let the paint stripper sit up to 24 hours so it can fully saturate the surface. Then once the paint is visibly puckered, use a scraper, putty knife, or wire brush to scrape off the softened paint. If there is any residue left on the surface, you may need to repeat the process. 

Note: Be sure to always carefully follow the instructions on the product label and avoid paint strippers that contain methylene chloride, as these are highly toxic.

Using a Grinder

If the paint is particularly stubborn, you may need to use a concrete grinder to remove it. This method is more labor-intensive and can create a lot of dust and debris, so we recommend using this method as a last resort. They are, however, very effective at cleaning concrete floor surfaces. This equipment and the grinding disks are easy to rent at home improvement stores. If you are inexperienced with this method, you can also hire a professional to help with the job.

Using a Sandblaster

Sandblasting is another option for removing paint from concrete, but it can be quite abrasive and may damage the surface of the concrete if not used carefully.

Whichever method you choose above, be sure to protect yourself by wearing protective eyewear and gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area.

If Paint Will Not Come Off, Consider Concrete Resurfacing 

If your paint spill is so stubborn and will not fully come off, another option to consider is concrete resurfacing. Concrete resurfacing is the process of refinishing old concrete to restore it and make it look new again.

During this process, a coating is applied over the existing concrete to make it appear new. This coating is decorative and offers a wide range of color, texture, and pattern options. A few options of resurfaced concrete could be stamped concrete, decorative aprons, stained concrete, masonry and more. 

Resurfacing concrete is a great option if you are looking to cover up stained / dirty concrete, discolored concrete or other imperfections. However, if larger cracks are present in the concrete, it must be either repaired or replaced fully. 

Consult with concrete professionals in your area to determine which option is best for you.   

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