paint stripper for metal

The best way to remove paint from metal

Whether you want to respray or repaint your metal furniture, renew defective coatings from motorcycle and bike parts, recoat a tank, or remove graffiti stains, the first step to strip paint from metal at home is to use a paint remover for metal. Proper adhesion of a new paint or coating is only achieved if the coated substrate is completely stripped and after that carefully pretreated. The process of removing paint from metal at home is not recommended for everyone, especially when you have no experienced in safely handling chemicals. The best option for newbies is to bring the metal parts to professionals and cut any risk of mishap. If you feel confident, you can try and save money and remove paint from metal at home with special paint removers for metal.

In this article you learn the safest and best ways to remove paint from metal with a paint remover for metal, and which paint strippers you can buy. You will also learn about the dangers of chemically stripping paint by yourself.


How paint removal from metal surfaces is done safely

Before you buy the best paint stripper for the DIYer, it is essential to create a safe working space that protects not only personal health but also the environment. Also: don’t rush, paint stripping takes time and attention.

Before removing paint at home you should follow these safety steps:

  • Make sure your work space is well-ventilated
  • Use a space with a solid floor (a garage is a good option)
  • Wear safety clothing (long sleeves and pants), including gloves, goggles and a mask with an air-purifying respirator
  • Have a surface prepared to place the item on during the stripping process, such as a drop cloth or cardboard

If you decide to not strip the paint from metal yourself, there are professionals in practically every part of Canada who strip even powder coating from metal for you at a reasonable price. Stripping paint off larger metal parts is always best left to professionals.

Chemical ingredients in paint stripper for metal

Paint removers for metal at hardware stores are available for everyone. That doesn’t mean those paint removers aren’t dangerous for health and environment. Therefore, you should try to stay away from paint removers for metal that contain carcinogens. Most paint strippers for metal contain the following toxic, polluting solvents:

  • N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidon (NMP)
  • Methyl ethyl ketone
  • Perchloroethylene
  • Methylene chloride (MC/DCM)
  • Toluene

Even without the mentioned ingredients, paint strippers are composed of hazardous ingredients. The best advice is to always read and carefully follow what’s on the safety data sheet and technical data sheet that comes with the paint remover for metal. It is also vitally important to be aware of the possible health and environmental damage that pain strippers can cause. For example, never allow them to reach groundwater.

In order to work as a potent paint remover, the paint remover for metal consists of solvents that are able to penetrate a coating so that it loosens and detaches from the surface.


Products to remove paint from metal in Canadian shops

If you are confident that you are able to use paint stripper at home, you will find the best paint removers for metal at your local specialist paint shop or even online. Below, you will find a suggestion of paint removers suitable for metal surfaces. We mentioned the paint stripper’s price and active components. The list helps you in making the best choice in buying the best paint remover metal:

Paint stripper for metalType/applicationRemovesBased onAverage Price
Super Decapant Eco Paint removerClear gel liquid/brushOil and latex paints and varnishesN,N-Dimethylmethanamide; water-soluble, biodegradable$48 for 3.8L
EZ Strip Paint & Varnish StripperWhite liquid/brushInterior and exterior paints and varnishesDimethyl glutarate; water-soluble; biodegradable; free of methylene chlorid$15 for 0.95L
Dumond SmartStripPaste/brush, roller or airless sprayPaints, urethanes, varnishes, acrylics, lacquers, enamels and many other finishesWater-based; without methylene chloride, caustics; biodegradable$28 for 0.95L

Spot test paint stripper for metal first

After having bought the paint stripper of your choice, you can apply it on the coated metal part as described in the data sheet. However, to avoid incompatibility with the substrate or paint you should first:

  • Spot test the metal item with the paint remover.

By testing the paint stripper you will be able to see after several minutes to hours if it works for the type of coating on the metal part. If you see bubbles and loose chips, you have green light for the next step: applying paint stripper on the whole metal part.


Best way to strip paint from metal

Best paint stripper for metal

Paint removal from metal is needed when it becomes defective.

A lot of paint removers for metal are either liquid or have a gel-like and creamy consistency. The advantage of a rather viscous paint stripper is that you can apply it on angled surfaces where liquid paint strippers for metal would run off.

Before you start, follow the safety steps previously described. → ventilation, solid floor, safety clothes, air-purifying respirator, prepared surface.

Here is the best way to strip paint from metal:

  1. Apply the paint stripper to the painted metal surface with a brush or roller. Work in manageable sections, i.e. 1m x 1m
  2. Leave the paint stripper for the time recommended in the instructions.
  3. Cover the treated section with plastic film or sheet to keep the paint stripper from drying too quickly.
  4. After several minutes to a few hours, remove the plastic and try to scrape the paint with a bladed paint scraper.
    1. If the paint is still stuck fast, allow more time for it to work.
    2. If you are able to lift the paint off, move ahead and begin applying paint remover on the next section.
  5. Collect the scraped paint material in a bucket and make sure to dispose as hazardous waste.
  6. Use a scrubbing pad for places that are hard to reach.
  7. Repeat the procedure if needed.

After successfully stripping the paint you can:

  • Wash residue off carefully, wash it down with detergent, and dry the surface.

To prepare it for following steps, ensure it will not corrode, and completely remove all the paint and solvent:

  • Go over the part with an abrasive pad/ steel wool or electric sander.

Depending on the type of metal and the intended follow-up coating, abrasive sandblasting is the next step of treatment to ensure ideal adhesion before applying paint or powder coating in the colour and finish of your choice.

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