The best chemical paint strippers – Stripping paint off metal at home
Whether you want to respray or repaint your metal furniture, renew defective coating from motorcycle and bike parts, recoat a tank, or remove graffiti stains, the first step to a successful project is to strip the paint off the metal surfaces. For that you need the best paint remover for metal – mostly that’s chemical paint removers for metal, or chemical paint strippers. Proper adhesion of any new paint and coating is only achieved if the painted metal surface is completely stripped and then carefully pretreated.
If you don’t feel confident with handling chemicals, we recommend you go to your local metal stripping service. There professionals will use professional chemical paint remover for metal parts and ensure a job well done. If you are comfortable with chemicals, you can try and save money and remove paint from metal at home with chemical paint removers for metal. Keep in mind that even the strongest paint stripper is only effective when the instructions are followed correctly.
In this article you learn the safest and best way of using paint remover for metal. We list some of the paint strippers products you can buy in South Africa, and describe the dangers of chemically stripping paint by yourself.
Paint removal from metal surfaces – safety precautions
Before you buy the best paint stripper to strip paint from metal parts at home, it is paramount 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
- Has 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 South Africa who strip even powder coating from metal for you at a reasonable price. Stripping paint off larger parts of metal is always best left to professionals.
Chemicals that remove paint from metal and their dangers
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 better 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
- Methylene chloride (MC/DCM)
Even without the mentioned ingredients, paint strippers are composed of hazardous ingredients; so 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 paint 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.
Buy chemical paint remover for metal
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 find a suggestion of paint removers suitable for metal surfaces. We mentioned the paint stripper’s price and chemical basis. The list helps you in making the best choice in buying the best paint remover metal needs:
|Paint stripper metal||Type/application||Removes||Based on||Average Price|
|Alcolin Heavy Duty Paint Stripper||paste/brush||coatings, enamel paints, acrylic paints, bitumen, old glue, varnishes||Methylene Chloride (Dichloromethane); non-alkali||R140 for 500ml|
|Duram Durastripp||liquid/brush||enamels, varnishes, automotive paints, some epoxies, polyurethane based paints and acrylic paints||Dichloromethan (Methylene chloride), Xylene, Phenol||R120 for 550ml|
|Clarke Colours RB10 Aerosol Paint Stripper||aerosol spray/spray||enamel, acrylic, epoxy paint||Methylene Chloride, Ethyl Acetat||R130 for 400ml|
Test first, then strip metal on whole surface
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 at home – DIY Guide
A lot of chemical paint strippers 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. If you want to remove paint from metal door a liquid paint stripper will do fine.
Before you start, follow the safety steps previously described → ventilation, solid floor, safety clothes, air-purifying respirator, prepared surface.
This is the best way to strip paint from metal:
- Apply the paint stripper to the painted metal surface with a brush or roller. Work in manageable sections, i.e. 1m x 1m
- Leave the paint stripper for the time recommended in the instructions.
- Cover the treated section with plastic film or sheet to keep the paint stripper from drying too quickly.
- After some hours, remove the plastic and try to scrape the paint with a bladed paint scraper.
- If the paint is still stuck fast, allow more time for it to work.
- If you are able to lift the paint off, move ahead and begin applying paint remover on the next section.
- Collect the scraped paint material in a bucket and make sure to dispose as hazardous waste.
- Use a scrubbing pad for places that are hard to reach.
- 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.