Bob Vila Radio: Removing Paint From Concrete

Getting paint off concrete or other masonry is tough, but can be done. Here's how to do the job.

By Roseann Foley Henry | Updated Sep 10, 2014 1:11 PM

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If you’ve ever dripped paint on your sidewalk or changed your mind about that coat of paint you put on a concrete planter, you know how tough it can be to remove paint from concrete. Here’s what you need to know about getting paint off concrete or other masonry.


Listen to BOB VILA ON REMOVING PAINT FROM CONCRETE or read the text below:

Paint Removal


Start by sweeping or vacuuming thoroughly to remove any loose particles. Then clean the surface with soapy water or a solution of TSP, scrubbing with a long-handled brush. Be sure to wear gloves. Allow the surface to dry completely.

Next, if the painted area is small, you may be able to get it off with an orbital sander. For bigger surfaces, you’re probably going to have to resort to a chemical paint remover. Wear heavy-duty gloves for this, and be sure the area is very well ventilated. Apply the chemical and allow it to do its work—this stage could take several hours, so follow the instructions on the can. If you’re working outdoors near plants, be sure to cover them to protect them from the chemical.

When the chemical has done its job, scrape the area clean with a wire brush or a paint scraper and wrap up the residue for disposal. Rinse the area thoroughly. Very large painted surfaces or stubborn stains may need to be blasted with a pressure washer.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.