A paint striper, as the name implies, is used to remove paint from surfaces. In simplest terms, paint stripers work by penetrating the paint, which will then lead to the swelling of the paint. Once the paint swells, the paint’s adhesion to the surface will be reduced and weakened, and it will then be easier for the paint to be separated from the surface. With that being said, here are some guidelines for using a paint striper, particularly on concrete flooring:
- Know how to choose a paint striper. There are many different types and brands of paint striper. The first factor you would want to determine is whether you would want a paint striper that comes in paste, liquid, gel or spray form. You should also choose a paint striper that doesn’t contain VOCs (or volatile organic compounds) or HAPs (or hazardous air pollutants), as they are not only environmental hazards, but prolonged exposure to them could even cause respiratory ailments. It’s best that you choose a heavy-duty striper, so you could ensure that any type of paint will effectively be removed at the soonest possible time. Finally, ensure that you purchase paint striper that is specially formulated for concrete, and that it can remove the type of paint that was used on the concrete.
- Clear out all materials from the floor. It’s easier to do this task if you don’t have to move objects around while using the paint striper. You should also prepare the area to make it well-ventilated. You might need to put in fans for this purpose.
- Clean the concrete floor. This is especially true if the floor is severely dirty, greasy or grimy. The best heavy-duty concrete floor cleaner you could use is a tri-sodium phosphate cleaner (TSP). Do know that TSP is very strong, so make sure that you protect your hands with gloves and your eyes with goggles when using it. Do not use TSP for wooden surfaces, as TSP is strong enough to potentially damage it.
- Apply the paint striper on your concrete floor. Use a roller or caustic-resistant brush for this purpose.
- Wait for the paint striper to adhere to the paint in the concrete floor. You should watch out for signs that the paint has swelled; this should take anywhere between 1 to 12 hours. If after 12 hours and the paint still doesn’t seem to be swelling, you might need to reapply the paint striper to the surface once again. Before doing this, though, you might want to try scraping off a small spot on the floor to see if the paint can be lifted; if the paint can indeed be lifted, you wouldn’t have to repeat the process anymore.
- Scrape off the paint. You could do this by using a large putty knife. Have a trash bag at hand so you could immediately dispose of the paint residue. This will take a lot of time so you might want to have several people along to help you with this step.
If the concrete flooring is outdoors, a simpler way is to power wash the floor to get rid of the paint. However, you might still need to use the putty knife to remove the stubborn spots of paint.
- Wash the floor using TSP. This will remove all the remaining traces of paint.
There you have it! These are some of the guidelines for using a paint striper on concrete floors. Depending on the surface are of the floor that you are working with, you should give yourself about half a day to accomplish this task.