Scraping Away The Years – How To Remove Old Paint From A House

by Editor on May 29, 2013

Spray paint

In order to paint the surface of your home, you will need to remove the many layers of old paint that have built up over the years. If you have a house that is 70, 80, 90 or 100 years old you will likely have up to 10 coats of paint or more layered onto the outside surfaces. Over the years, this paint will be chipped, flaked and cracked and when it gets to this point, adding one more layer of paint just wouldn’t work.

Adding a new layer of paint to the old chipped layers will mean that the fresh coat will start to flake and chip within a year. This is why all of the old paint needs to go before you start your painting job. Once you have removed everything, you will have a fresh and clean surface for the paint to adhere to, which will last for a very long time.

Safety Concerns Related to Lead

When you strip paint away from any house that was built before the 1970s, there is a risk of the paint containing lead. If you suspect this is the case with your home, you should consult a licensed contractor who will be able to remove and dispose of the lead paint in the safe and official way. If you determine that there is no lead in your house paint, you will be able to remove it yourself.

Examine the House

Start the process by thoroughly examining the outside of the house and assessing the task you are up against. You should look for split shingles and siding, blistering or peeling paint, rust stains, mildew and popped nails. This will help you to identify the areas that will need more work than others, so that you can plan to tackle the large job of scraping the paint away from your house.

The Scraping Process

Start by using a wire brush and a wide-blade putty knife to scrape away the areas where the paint is starting to peel. You will need to scrub away the paint underneath the downspouts, gutters and all along the clapboard siding.

Scraping away the paint by hand can be challenging, so another easier way to do it is to use an oscillating multi-tool. This is a tool which has a number of different detachable blades which you can use in many different ways depending on your needs. To remove the old peeling paint, attach the steel scraper style blade to your oscillating multi-tool and use it to scrape the paint away with a lot less effort. The oscillating motion of the multi-tool makes the job a lot more effective and will save you from a lot of difficult scraping by hand.

Sanding the Wood

You can then switch your tool to a sanding pad so that you can scrape it down to the bare wood underneath the paint. When you are using the sanding pad, you can start with an abrasive with a coarse grit and then use finer grit sanding pads until you get the surface as smooth as possible.

Make sure that you are using circular motions when sanding and keeping a light and even pressure on the sander. This will prevent your multi-tool from accidently creating nicks and grooves in the surface of the wood.

Cleaning Up

The final step will be to clean the surface once you have removed all the paint. Try using a mixture of water and dishwashing liquid, with one cup of soap to one gallon of water. You can wash the surface with the soap mixture using a sponge, then rinse it with clean water.

Now that all of the old paint has been removed, you are ready to start a fresh coat and make your home look as good as new!

About the Author

Clint Hazard is a freelance writer and blogger who is also restoring an old 1870s farmhouse. Using the right multi-tool blades to remove the paint has been making his job a lot easier.

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