How to Remove Paint From Concrete

Concrete accent kitchen

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Overview
  • Working Time: 4 hrs
  • Total Time: 8 hrs
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Paint is often used to change the usually gray color of concrete. We see concrete block walls painted as a solid backdrop or a colorful mural. Concrete patios, basement floors, and garage floors are transformed by paint.

But whether the paint was intentionally applied or accidentally splattered during another painting project, there will come a time when it needs to be removed from concrete. Learn how to tackle everything small drips to large removals.

Before You Begin

When you discover some paint splatters on untreated or sealed concrete floors, removal is necessary to maintain a clean look. But when you have an area of concrete that has been intentionally painted and you plan to repaint, you should decide whether the paint needs to be stripped completely away.

A painted concrete floor can be easily repainted without having to strip the old paint away if you use the same type of paint (oil-based or water-based) or use a primer. If you plan to repaint, simply scrape away any peeling or flaking paint, sand lightly, vacuum well to remove debris, and you are ready to paint the surface again.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Bucket
  • Paint scraper
  • Shop vacuum or broom and dustpan
  • Wire scrub brush
  • Garden hose
  • Power washer
  • Protective clothing including ventilator mask
  • Old paintbrush

Materials

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Old cloths
  • Paint thinner
  • Water-based paint stripper
  • Oil-based paint stripper

Instructions

How to Remove Paint Splatters From Concrete

  1. Removing Wet Paint Splatters

    • For small splatters, react quickly and use an old cloth to wipe up the paint. Start at the edges and wipe toward the center to prevent smearing and spreading the paint.
    • Mix a solution of one tablespoon dishwashing liquid and one-half gallon of warm water in a bucket. Use a wire or heavy-duty scrub brush dipped in the solution to scrub away any traces of the paint.
    • If the paint has dried slightly, soak an old cloth with paint thinner. Place it on the splatter and let it sit for 30 minutes. Use a paint scraper or wire brush to remove the paint from the concrete. Rinse the area with water.
  2. Removing Dried Paint Splatters

    • For older, dried paint splatters, begin by sweeping the concrete or using a shop vac to remove dust and loose debris.
    • Use a metal paint scraper to remove any flaking or peeling splatters. Sweep or vacuum again.
    • Use an old paintbrush to spread water or oil-based paint stripper on the splatters. Spread it on thickly and leave it to work for as long as directed by the product label (this can be 15 minutes to several hours).
    • Use a metal paint scraper, wire brush, or a pressure washer to remove the paint. If using a scraper or brush, finish by rinsing the area well with a hose.
    • Repeat the steps if needed.

How to Remove Paint From Concrete

  1. Scrape Away Loose Paint

    After you have removed any furniture or accessories from the concrete area, use a metal paint scraper or wire brush to remove any peeling, chipped, or loose paint.

  2. Remove Loose Debris

    Sweep the area or use a shop vac to remove dust and loose debris. If the concrete surface is muddy or coated with dirt, use a hose or power washer to clean the surface. After wetting, you will need to let the concrete dry completely (several hours) before moving to the next step.

  3. Put on Protective Gear

    To protect yourself, put on gloves and eye protection. While some paint strippers are more gentle than others, if you have any concerns, wear protective coveralls and a respirator mask.

  4. Apply a Paint Stripper

    For oil-based paint, use an oil-based paint stripper. For latex acrylic paint, use a water-based or plant-based stripper. If you don't know what type of paint was used on the concrete, opt for the oil-based stripper for the best results.

    Following the directions on the stripper label, apply a thick coat with an old paintbrush. Allow it to work for the recommended time, usually for several hours. You should begin to see the paint bubble away from the surface of the concrete.

  5. Scrape Away the Paint

    Working in sections and wearing protective gear, use a metal scraper or wire brush to remove the paint and paint stripper. It is helpful to have old newspapers or a bucket to hold the gooey mess.

  6. Rinse the Concrete

    Finish by rinsing the area with a garden hose or pressure washer. After this step, you will be able to determine if you need to repeat the steps with another coating of paint stripper.