The concrete surface is one of the hardiest options for inexpensive flooring, as it doesn’t require much upkeep but can be a tricky surface or rust stains to maintain.
The naturally porous, cleaned concrete surface tends to absorb paint stain, and liquids splatter over time. It can be difficult, but not impossible, to keep your concrete surface looking clean.
Read on for our guide on removing chipped paint from your basement, garage, or workshop's concrete flooring below!
Supplies Needed for The Job
Whether you have a concrete surface in your basement, garage, workshop, or outdoor patio, a little bit of paint can always improve its gray appearance if you choose the right color.
However, concrete’s porousness and roughshod workspaces can often damage paint jobs. If you’re wondering how do you remove stubborn paint residue from your indoor and outdoor concrete floor, you’ll need the following:
How to Remove Paint from Concrete
- 1Scrape away loose paint - Start by using a metal paint scraper or wire scrub brush to scrape any peeling or chipping loosened paint.
- 2Remove loose debris - To get a clean finish, you’ll need a clean surface. Sweep or vacuum any particulates. For stubborn dirt, use a garden hose or power washer to clean the floor: Let dry completely before the next step.
- 3Put on protective gear - Set yourself up for success with gloves and protective eye-gear. If you’ll be using harsher chemicals, consider a respiratory mask and coveralls as well.
- 4Apply a paint stripper - Oil-based paint stripper works best for oil-based paints, and we recommend it if you’re uncertain which is on your floor. For latex or acrylic paint, use a water-based stripper. Apply with an old paintbrush and let sit, according to instructions.
- 5Scrape away the paint - Once you’ve allowed the stripper to sit for several hours until bubbling, use a wire scrub brush or wire brush to remove the resulting sludge in sections. Keep a trash bag or old newspapers on hand to contain the mess.
- 6Rinse the concrete - Using the hose or pressure washer once again, give your floor a generous spray. If stains persist, let the floor dry and repeat from Step 3 until satisfied.
Removing Paints Without Using Chemicals
If you’re wondering how to remove paint from concrete floor without chemicals, never fear. There are quite a few methods that don’t require harsh chemicals, just a little elbow grease.
A sharp paint scraping blade usually works well on smooth concrete floors, but its porous nature can retain stains even post-removal.
Sanding can also work, and even remove the top thick layer of stained concrete. But if you pursue sanding, be mindful of ventilation and always wear a respirator mask against inhaling concrete dust.
How to Remove Dried Splatters on Concrete
For dried paint splatters, start by clearing the surrounding area of debris or dirt and attempting to remove old paint with a scraper.
Remove any resulting flakes. If the splatter persists, use an old paintbrush to spread oil or water-based paint stripper on the stained areas.
Let sit according to instructions, and use a scraper or metal brush on the newly-softened splatters.
Rinse the area clean. Alternatively, combine the last two steps by spraying the splatters with a pressure power washer.
Also, remember to wear protective clothing during this task.
How to Remove Wet Splatter on Concrete
Speed is of the essence: Grab a rag immediately and, starting at the edges of the splatter, wipe towards the center and try "scooping" the paint into the rag to prevent spreading the stain further.
Next, mix one tbsp dishwashing liquid with 1-gallon of warm water. Dip a wire or scrub brush into the solution, and scrub at the stain until fully removed.
If the stain has slightly dried before you could remove it: Soak a rag in commercial paint thinner and place over the splatter for at least 30 minutes.
Next, use a paint scraper or wire brush to scrub the softened paint away, and clean the area with cold water.
How to Figure Out What Type of Paint is on the Concrete
Not all the paints are created equal, and some paint formulas can be more easily removed from concrete than others.
Learning how to remove acrylic paints from concrete floors, for instance, can be rather different than learning how to remove water based latex paint from concrete floors.
Latex, oil, epoxy, and acrylic all the paints are some of the most commonly found paints on concrete floors and they all have different drying times.
To determine which kind of paint spills is on yours, we recommend the touch test. Oil paints are smooth, while latex and acrylic paint often feel rubbery.
If you are removing paint from a concrete floor, try applying a small amount of paint de-glosser. Latex paint will either be removed or become tacky to the touch, while oil paints will do neither.
Removing Paint From Concrete FAQs
Can I use a floor grinder to remove paint from concrete?
Yes! You can rent a floor grinder from most home-improvement stores, but inexperienced DIYers may prefer to hire a professional. However, grinders create airborne dust particles, so be sure to wear proper protective gear.
Does vinegar remove paint from concrete?
Yes, white vinegar will usually remove paint stains or grease stains but needs to be diluted. Boil ¼ cup distilled vinegar with 1 cup water, and apply paint stripper to paint with a brush. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, and scrape to remove.
Does acetone remove paint from concrete?
Technically yes, but some paints are more affected by acetone than others. Acetone is a great way to remove latex paint from concrete flooring, but it’s not how you should remove acrylic paint from concrete.
Why does paint peel off concrete?
Paint peels off concrete because of concrete's alkali content, which can be drawn to the surface by water exposure. Without a proper moisture barrier, water will crystallize concrete's alkali into efflorescence, which promotes peeling between the paint and the floor.
Should you seal painted concrete?
Yes, you must seal painted concrete, as it is a good idea. It works against chipping and peeling paint.
Can you paint over old concrete?
Yes, You can paint over old concrete. As long as the paint job is even, smooth, and will adhere well to new coatings. Concrete with sealants or glossy paints may lack sufficient grip and must be de-glossed or removed before being repainted.
How much does it cost to remove paint from concrete?
To remove paint from concrete professionals can cost anywhere from $400 to $3000, whereas DIY removal can regularly cost less than $100 with at-home tools and simple solutions. Depending on the region and square footage, professional paint removal costs vary.
Concrete may make for hardy flooring, but every paint job needs to be maintained.
Don’t let professional estimates and supplies bog you down: if you’re looking for the best way to remove paint from concrete, remember that an oil-based paint stripper and a scraper are all you need.