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Stripping Paint: Heat Gun,SPR or Chemicals?

Stripping Paint: Heat Gun,SPR or Chemicals? published on 3 Comments on Stripping Paint: Heat Gun,SPR or Chemicals?


Answer: Paint stripping usually requires all of the above. The Silent Paint Remover to finish large areas, the heat gun for detail the and chemicals to clean it up.

But let’s take a closer look. Shall we?

See my original Silent Paint Remover (aka Infrared Paint Remover) post here. I’ve only used it on wood, but the company says it can be used on metal, marble, plaster and concrete. BUT, you should do a test on the area first. The SPR cuts the stripping time in half. Maybe even more. It goes through all of the layers in one shot and doesn’t take too much time before the paint starts to bubble. The tool is a bit cumbersome and too large for corners or small areas.

Which is why you’ll need a heat gun. Same process. You’re heating the paint until it bubbles and lifts off the surface. Scrape away and viola! So why can’t you do the entire job with a heat gun? It is SLOW! Takes much longer to heat than the SPR and covers a smaller area.

It’s possible to get away without using chemicals, but there’s nothing like that toxic stuff to clean it up. Rock Miracle is my harsh chemical of choice. Nothing green about this! On the other hand, since it works best, you’ll be using alot less of it than gentle strippers. Tip for stripping a flat surface such as a door: If you don’t own a heating tool, put a very thick coat of Rock Miracle on the horizontal surface and let sit for about 4 hours. Must be horizontal and must be thick or it will dry out. This will take off all layers. Ordinarily, you apply a thinner coat and let it sit for about 20 minutes and that only gets off a layer at a time.

Peel Away comes in several “flavors”. I use this for plaster as it’s gentle enough. I find it best to cover overnight. It will take off several layers at a time.

You must always neutralize after using chemicals or the paint/poly will peel. What you use will depend on the surface you’re working on. Chemicals are much messier than heating tools. And no matter what, don’t forget to clean up well and dispose of the lead paint properly.

The tools are a great expense up front. The SPR is about $400. However, it’s worth it if you’re going to be doing alot of stripping. I can’t tell you how much I spent on chemicals before discovering the SPR.

And don’t forget….SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY!


I have the SPR and it has really not worked so well for me. Can you post tips for stripping old doors and window moldings? I find that it only heats up the middle section sufficiently for scraping and you can’t really go back over the area becuse it will scorch the wood. Are you using the pull scrapers they sell as well? Thanks!

I never did buy the “special” scrapers they sell. I switch off between the pull scraper (the ones you can buy anywhere) and a push scraper. I prefer to push when there are many coats. If it’s only heating in the middle, you might want to consider something is wrong with the unit. Also, the SPR draws alot of amps. It’s possible your power source isn’t strong enough. Make sure you’re using a 20 amp circuit and a heavy gauge extension cord.

I find the SPR is quicker than anything else, but it’s not perfect. You need lots of patience and you’ll still have to clean up with the heat gun and/or chemicals.

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