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  1. #1

    Question Non Toxic Concrete Paint Removal?

    Hi,

    I made an ooops. I painted my concrete steps with regular exterior paint. Plus, the color turned out different than I expected. I've reselected a color,and am going to have them repainted with concrete paint, but I have to remove the old paint. It's not blistering or anything, but my handyman says it needs to be removed. He said painting over it would be a disaster. The steps are in the hot sun 65% of the day, and I mean hot. I have 2 dogs that use the steps to go into the yard, and I'm nervous to use a toxic paint remover because A) I don't know when my handyman will be able to repaint with concrete paint, and I don't want my dogs to get something on their paws, even though I intend to clean those steps repeatedly after the paint removal.The grass will absorb a lot of the paint remover, and they are already having problems with foot allergies to grass. And B)I intend to do this myself, and I have asthma, and my lungs are super sensitive to chemicals.

    Does anyone know a non toxic environmentally friendly way to remove this paint without hurting the dogs, the grass, and myself? And...do I really need to strip the 3 coats of paint off? My brother said to just sand it the best I can, and paint over it. I'm perplexed.

    Thankyou in advance for any advice you can give me. have a wonderful evening!

    JM

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Non Toxic Concrete Paint Removal?

    Juliana: You said:
    I painted my concrete steps with regular exterior paint.
    Was this a regular exterior oil based paint or a regular exterior latex paint that you used?

    am going to have them repainted with concrete paint, but I have to remove the old paint.
    Can you tell us how old these concrete steps are? Were they just poured recently, or is the house relatively new? About how old would you say the concrete steps are?

    It's not blistering or anything, but my handyman says it needs to be removed. He said painting over it would be a disaster.
    Did your handyman explain why painting over the existing paint would create a disaster?

    You should be aware that the active ingredient in most paint strippers is methylene chloride. Methylene chloride evaporates completely without leaving a residue. However it's gelled, and the gelling agent will leave a residue that can be removed with mineral spirits. Gelled methylene chloride will stick to your dogs paws and attack their feet just like it attacks people's skin.

    The paint stripper that's least harmful to your skin that is still effective in removing oil based paint is probably "Safety Stripper" made by the 3M Company.

    Regardless of which paint stripper you opt for, apply the paint stripper to an area of your steps and cover it with wax paper to prevent it from drying out. That'll ensure that it remains effective and cuts through your paint in the shortest time.

    But, maybe don't do anything until you answer the questions above and I get back to you.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Non Toxic Concrete Paint Removal?

    Jaliana,

    If it were mine, I would leave the paint until it shows signs of failing. If you are bugged by the wrong color choice, simply paint over it with a porch and deck paint. The worst that can happen is that it would fail. If it does, you are no worse off than you are now. It is not much more difficult to remove two coats of paint than one.

    Should you deide to strip, there are strippers made specifically for concrete floors. Behrs sells one such. It is also water soluble for easier clean up.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Non Toxic Concrete Paint Removal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nestor View Post
    Juliana: You said:


    Was this a regular exterior oil based paint or a regular exterior latex paint that you used?

    Hi. It was exterior latex paint.


    Can you tell us how old these concrete steps are? Were they just poured recently, or is the house relatively new? About how old would you say the concrete steps are?

    I'm guessing maybe 25 years old.



    Did your handyman explain why painting over the existing paint would create a disaster?

    No, he doesn't.

    You should be aware that the active ingredient in most paint strippers is methylene chloride. Methylene chloride evaporates completely without leaving a residue. However it's gelled, and the gelling agent will leave a residue that can be removed with mineral spirits. Gelled methylene chloride will stick to your dogs paws and attack their feet just like it attacks people's skin.

    The paint stripper that's least harmful to your skin that is still effective in removing oil based paint is probably "Safety Stripper" made by the 3M Company.

    Regardless of which paint stripper you opt for, apply the paint stripper to an area of your steps and cover it with wax paper to prevent it from drying out. That'll ensure that it remains effective and cuts through your paint in the shortest time.

    But, maybe don't do anything until you answer the questions above and I get back to you.

    OK...Thanks!!!!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Non Toxic Concrete Paint Removal?

    Ordjen,

    Thankyou very much. He put 3 coats of paint on the steps. Turned out to be purple, not dark plum. Looks really tacky. I appreciate your reply.

    JM

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Non Toxic Concrete Paint Removal?

    Juliana:

    OK, here's my assessment of the situation:

    The only reason you'd need to remove your existing purple paint is because latex paints are soft and simply don't stand up well on working surfaces (like floors or stairs). Dirt gets embedded in the paint underfoot, and the paint starts to look dirty and continually has to be cleaned.

    If it were me, I would probably use Safest Stripper to remove it.

    HOWEVER, the only reason to remove the exterior latex paint is so that you don't have a soft film under an oil based paint which you should have painted these steps with. Whenever you have a hard film over top of a softer film, the harder film is subject to "chipping" because the softer paint under it breaks when it gets an impact.

    But, there's no such thing as a "concrete paint".

    1. There are "concrete primers" made especially for fresh concrete that's less than 2 years old, and still highly alkaline. Fresh concrete is so highly alkaline that it'll turn any oil based paint you put on it into soap. However, after about 2 years, the alkalinity in the concrete subsides, and you can paint over the concrete with any paint, without even priming first.

    2. And there are "masonary paints". But, masonary paints are made for masonary walls which have problems with excessive moisture. Masonary paints are a special kind of latex paint that allows H2O molecules to pass through the masonary paint film very easily, so that any moisture trapped inside the wall can evaporate easily to keep the wall as dry as possible.

    Concrete that's more than 5 years old (such as what you have) is no longer highly alkaline, and you can paint it with any paint. There is no such thing as a paint made specifically for painting old concrete, just as there's no such thing as a paint made specifically for painting wooden garage doors. Any paint will stick well to old concrete, just as any paint will stick to a wooden garage door.

    If it wuz me, I would strip the purple latex paint off only on the flat horizontal sections of the steps where you'll need a harder paint to stand up better to foot traffic. So far as the risers between treads and sides of the steps go, I'd just paint over what you have.

    So far as I can see, the only "disaster" that could have happened here is that the latex paint you used on your steps would show traffic patterns because dirt would get embedded in the latex paint a lot faster than in a much harder alkyd paint.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Nestor; 08-05-2011 at 12:28 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Non Toxic Concrete Paint Removal?

    ***!! That is such a informative answer. Thankyou so much!!!I will absolutely follow your advice. Thankyou so much.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Non Toxic Concrete Paint Removal?

    The first word was supposed to be ***!! Don't know why it showed up as asterisks. And I also meant "an informative" not "a informative". Have to fix my blunders!!

    Thanks again!!!

    It did it again! Well, it starts with a "w" and rhymes with cow.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Non Toxic Concrete Paint Removal?

    Just use anyone's exterior alkyd paint on your steps.

    But, also be aware that painted floors and steps can be extremely slippery when they're wet or covered with frost. You should use a traction grit (available at any paint store) with your paint to prevent that. Alternatively, you can also use traction grit tape on your steps once the paint is completely dry.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Non Toxic Concrete Paint Removal?

    Ordjen, the lazy laut, would not go through the effort of removing the existing finish. For the cost of materials and effort, I could paint those steps a half dozen times over!

    Secondly, Nestor is right, oil floor paints are extremely slippery when wet or even dusty. I would not consider such a paint outside without traction sand mixed in.

    Most latex based floor finishes have a satin finish , which is inherently less slippery. Most oil floor paints, for whatever reason, come with a high gloss finish. I had put a high gloss urethane concrete paint on my former garage floor. I used my garage as my woodworking shop. After once having done quite a bit of sawing, I steppped into the garage and promptly fell square on my back, hitting my head on the floor. I lay there for a few moments wondering if I were hurt! All this because of slick oil paint and a fine layer of sawdust! Water has the same affect on slick oil paint, not to mention snow and slush if you are in a cold climate.

    Even with the satin latex floor paint, I would consider a little traction sand. Any paint store sells a very fine silica sand to mix in the paint exactly for this purpose.

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