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Methods of removing paint

From the putting your safety first section

Learn about the various methods of removing paint and how to do so using the appropriate safety measures.

Abrasive blasting

Safety measures:

  • NOT recommended for properties and structures built or painted before 1970 or for boats because of the lead content of the paint and the large amounts of uncontrolled dust generated.


An electric paint stripper, hot air blower or blow torch will heat the paint and blister it, so that it can be scraped off. Note that the use of a blow torch will produce lead fumes. Beware also of fire risk.

Safety measures:

  • Wear a toxic-dust respirator if using a hot air blower, blow torch or electric paint stripper.
  • Have a fire extinguisher or water handy in case of fire.
  • If using a blowtorch indoors, make sure that windows are open and advise local fire authorities.


Usually used for small surfaces such as window frames.

Safety measures:

  • Wear safety glasses, overalls and gloves to avoid contact with the skin.
  • Keep the room well ventilated.
  • Follow any instructions on the label.

Dry power sanding

Dry power sanding with a HEPA Vacuum Attachment.

Safety measures:

  • This method is not recommended for a DIYer. It requires skill and can only be done safely by contractors with the appropriate training and experience.


Can be used on all timber surfaces.

Safety measures:

  • This method is recommended where lead-based paint is present because of the low operating temperature.
  • Ensure work area is well ventilated if working in a confined space. No dust is created.
  • Sweep up paint debris and dispose of.


Safety measures:

  • Ensure any debris is collected and the area cleaned up.


For outside surfaces.

Safety measures:

  • Clean up paint flakes. Use water to flush debris to a collection point for disposal.
  • Prevent debris spreading to other properties.

Wet sanding

This is preferred to dry sanding to reduce dust.

Safety measures:

  • Reduce dust by wetting paint before rubbing down with wet and dry sandpaper.
  • Do not rub down with dry sandpaper and especially not with an ordinary power sander. This will release lead-rich dust into the air and the rest of the house.
  • Ensure that any residue is cleaned up.

Putting your safety first!
Understanding paint hazards and essential precautions

Safety topics   Problem solver topics   Ask a Paint Expert


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