Removing Paint From Concrete Floors (5 Easy Methods In 2021)

Concrete is one of the hardiest options for inexpensive flooring, as it doesn’t require much upkeep but can be a tricky surface to maintain. Naturally porous, concrete tends to absorb liquids and paint splatters over time.

It can be difficult, but not impossible, to keep your concrete floor looking clean. Read on for our guide on removing paint from your basement, garage, or workshop's concrete flooring below!

Not all 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 latex paint from concrete floors. Latex, oil, epoxy, and acrylic paints are some of the most commonly found paints on concrete floors.

To determine which kind of paint 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.

Concrete Wall

5 Common Methods of Removing Paints on Concrete Floors

  • Chemical Paint Strippers Method
    Mineral spirits and denatured alcohol are popular chemical paint remover for concrete floors, but such chemicals can be dangerous without proper ventilation. Soy-based gel cleaners are less flammable and low in volatile organic compounds, making them easier to use and more environmentally-friendly. Simply apply the gel to paint, let sit, and wipe away, paint and all.
  • DIY Paint Strippers Method
    DIY paint stripping solutions are a cost-effective paint removal solution, but some home remedies aren’t quite as effective as store-bought strippers. Methods include warm vinegar on a rag, hydrogen peroxide diluted with warm water, and baking soda mixed with boiling water. Latex and acrylic paints are the easiest to remove with home remedies, but we recommend more power for oil or epoxy paint.
  • Soda Blasting Method
    Similar to sandblasters, soda blasting is a rapid paint removal mechanism that will be familiar to most home paint sprayers. Just as sodium bicarbonate is a popular at-home paint remover, using a blaster with a baking soda mix is an effective way of removing paint off concrete floor. We recommend keeping the nozzles close to the ground for the best results.
  • Power Washing Method
    Power washing is one of the most effective ways to remove carpet and paint concrete floor stains. No chemicals or solvents required: Just intense water pressure is all you need with this method, making it fairly environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t work for hardier paints or very old stains. Power washing works best on new acrylic or latex stains.
  • Absorbent Paint Stripper Method
    If you’re looking for the best way to remove old paint from concrete floor rooms, this super-absorbent paint stripper works best on old floors. Simply mix equal parts of finely ground clay with paint stripper into a thick paste, apply to the paint, and let sit for a few hours. Scrub away with a scrub brush and repeat until clean.

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 layer of stained concrete. But if you pursue sanding, be mindful of ventilation and always wear a respirator mask against inhaling concrete dust.

Concrete Garage Floors

How to Remove Paints from Concrete Floors: (Step by Step Guide)

Whether you have a concrete floor in your basement, garage, workshop, or outdoor patio, a little bit of paint can always improve their gray appearance. However, concrete’s porousness and roughshod workspaces can often damage paint-jobs. If you’re wondering how do you remove paint from concrete floor, you’ll need the following:

  • Paint scraper or wire brush
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Respirator mask
  • Oil or water-based paint stripper
  • Old paintbrush

How to Remove Paint from Concrete

  1. 1
    Scrape away loose paint - Start by using a metal paint scraper or wire brush to scrape any peeling or chipping paint.
  2. 2
    Remove 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.
  3. 3
    Put 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.
  4. 4
    Apply 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.
  5. 5
    Scrape away the paint - Once you’ve allowed the stripper to sit for several hours until bubbling, use a scraper or wire brush to remove the resulting sludge in sections. Keep a trash bag or old newspapers on hand to contain the mess.
  6. 6
    Rinse 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 Paint Splatters From Concrete

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 washer.

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 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.


People Also Ask (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?

White vinegar will usually remove paint stains but needs to be diluted. Boil ¼ cup distilled vinegar with 1 cup water, and apply 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 floors, but it’s not how to remove acrylic paint from concrete floors.


Why does paint peel off concrete?

This is a result 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, a substance that then promotes peeling in between the paint and floor.


Should you seal painted concrete?

Given the risks of wet concrete and peeling paint, it’s generally a good idea to seal painted concrete against chipping and peeling. 2-3 coats of a shellac clear coat or polyurethane works well.


Can you paint over old concrete?

Yes, so 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 will need to be de-glossed or removed before being repainted.


How much does it cost to remove paint from concrete?

Professional paint removal costs vary, depending on region and square footage. Professionals can cost anywhere from $400 to $3,000 depending on said factors, whereas DIY removal can regularly cost less than $100 with at-home tools and simple solutions.

Conclusion

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 floors, remember that an oil-based paint stripper and a scraper are all you need.

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