How to Safely Remove Old Paint from a Wall Before Painting

If you're planning to repaint a wall, it's important to remove the old paint first. Doing so will ensure that the new paint adheres properly and looks its best. There are several ways to remove old paint, but it's important to choose the right method for the job. For hand removal, start by washing the wall with soap and water.

Then, use a sanding block, electric sander, or wire brush to weaken the paint. Once it's weakened, apply a scraper to remove any scaly or bubbling parts. Place a protective cloth on the floor to catch any debris. If you're using a chemical paint stripper, opt for a gel-based one instead of liquid. Gel won't drip on the floor and is suitable for acrylic or latex paint.

If you suspect that the paint is lead-based (used before 1978), don't try to sand it off. Instead, use a scraper to gently remove any bubbling paint. When you're done, clean off any remaining stripper with a damp cloth. If you're still concerned about lead-based paint, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends testing your home if it was built before 1978. For an eco-friendly option, try a water-based stripper that's 100 percent biodegradable and contains no volatile organic compounds. It should be powerful enough to remove eight to 10 coats of paint. Once you've removed the peeling paint, clean the area thoroughly and remove any remaining paint from the room.

Wear protective equipment and make sure the room is well ventilated when using chemical strippers. If you're painting over existing layers of paint, use light or medium pressure with a scraper to remove any chipped or peeling parts in all four directions. For wooden or masonry surfaces, use a chemical stripper for best results. Finally, if you're not comfortable doing this project yourself or if you suspect there may be an underlying issue causing the peeling paint (such as an unidentified leak), hire a professional. Removing old paint from walls is an important step in any painting project. With the right tools and techniques, you can safely and effectively remove peeling paint and prepare your walls for a fresh coat of paint.