So you’ve got some paint on your concrete floor or concrete driveway that you need to remove? Well, I’ve been there before so I know exactly what it is your trying to tackle.
But you should know that removing paint from concrete can be a time-consuming process and require a whole lot of elbow grease. But take heart, because removing paint from concrete is definitely something a determined DIYer is more than capable of handling.
Doing a quick search online and you’ll find that almost everyone’s first recommendation is to go straight to the chemicals to remove the paint from the cement.
But the fact is, for one reason or another, not everyone is able to use chemicals to remove the paint. So that’s the purpose of this post. I’ll go over several different methods of how to remove paint from concrete without using chemicals. But for those of you that can use chemicals, I’ll also touch on how to do it that way too.
Here's how to remove paint from concrete...with and without chemicals.
How to Remove Paint From Concrete Without Chemicals
1. Use A Pressure Washer
Whenever I’m trying to remove paint from a concrete floor, or any other structure that’s made out of concrete, I almost always go to my pressure washer first.
Of course, you’re limited to paint removal applications that are outside, or at least in areas that are ok getting wet. Because if you’ve never used a pressure washer, then you should know that you’re going to get wet, and everything around the area you’re pressure washing is going to get wet!
Unfortunately, not all paint types are going to come up with just a pressure washer. For example, the easiest type of paint to remove with a pressure washer is latex paint. And the most difficult type of paint to remove with a pressure washer are epoxy type paints.
To remove paint from concrete with a pressure washer, simply tackle it straight on with the narrowest tip that your pressure washer has. Be careful however, because that pressure washer jet can really cause damage to softer materials. So just be sure to maintain control of the pressure washer wand.
If the paint doesn’t come up, try scoring it with a very hard bristle brush. And I mean really get after it. After brushing the paint, try spraying it once again with the pressure washer.
If you don’t have a pressure washer, I highly recommend this pressure washer from WEN.
2. Floor Grinder
If the pressure washer method of removing paint from concrete doesn’t work, or the paint is located somewhere you can’t get wet, then using a floor grinder is going to be your next best bet.
Using a floor grinder with a diamond grinding wheel can be another effective method for removing paint from concrete. But you really, really need to be careful using one of these, because during the process of removing the paint, the grinder will almost always leave marks on the concrete. So this method should really only be used if you’re planning on covering up those marks somehow.
You can always try to use a softer wire brush wheel on the grinder and see if that will get the paint off of the concrete without leaving marks behind.
Just be sure to try it out in an inconspicuous area first, just in case it does mark up the cement.
3. Non-Toxic Cleaners
Ok, I know I said the purpose of this post was to give you ways of removing paint from concrete without chemicals, but technically speaking, this method is not utilizing the help of a chemical.
There are non-toxic soy-based gel cleaners that are available that can help lift that paint stain up off the cement. Being non-toxic, they are much easier on the environment than many of the traditional harsh paint strippers out there.
To use these types of cleaners, you for sure want to read through the instructions first. But generally speaking, the gel is spread onto the paint stain and allowed to set for a set amount of time. After allowing the cleaner to do it’s thing on the paint, you can wipe it off and with a little luck, the paint also comes right off.
The other benefit of these types of cleaners is that they are a gel, and can be contained to the specific area that has paint. Whereas liquid cleaners will run everywhere and ultimately force you to use more product than you need.
If you want to give this method a shot, here’s a great earth friendly paint remover that I recommend.
4. Traditional Paint Remover (last resort)
Alright, so you’ve tried everything on this list and that stubborn paint stain still won’t come off the concrete. There’s still one last thing you can try before calling in the professionals; Traditional paint stripper.
Leaving this as a last option isn’t an accident. I believe it’s a good idea to use these kinds of chemicals sparingly, and it’s typically the last thing I’ll try when removing paint from concrete.
So, if you’re up to it, here’s how to remove paint from concrete the most traditional way:
First, select which paint stripper you’re going to use. Paint manufacturers will often times tell you on the side of the can of paint what kind of paint stripper to use. If you don’t know what kind of paint it is, or don’t have the can with you, then simply use a general all purpose paint stripper, like this earth friendly water based paint stripper.
Next, the paint stripper will need to be applied to the concrete. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Another thing I always do when applying a chemical to my concrete, is to first do a test run in an inconspicuous part of the concrete. In most cases, the stripper is applied to the surface and allowed to set for a predetermined amount of time.
After the stripper has set, the paint will likely need to be either scraped off or scrubbed off.
Once the paint is removed, the entire will need to be cleaned and washed in order to remove any remaining residue.
Removing paint from concrete can be a real chore. But it’s definitely doable, especially if you give these four methods of removing the paint a chance.
Just know that of the four methods, my go to, all time favorite method is to use the power washer. Give it a shot. I really hope it works for you.
Any questions about taking paint off of cement? Shoot me a message or leave a comment.