Low pressure steam to soften house paint?

Hi all,
I'm interested in removing fairly thick paint without scattering
debris. There are a few videos on Youtube of folks using low pressure
steam to soften paint so it can be scraped off, does anybody have
personal experience they're willing to share? The job is around
600 square feet (redwood siding on a house).
I'm aware of using low pressure steam to remove wet-glued things
like wallpaper but always thought steam wouldn't be hot enough to
soften paint. If it is, that would be a great help.
Thanks for reading!
bob prohaska
Reply to
bob prohaska
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Protect yourself. (from the Feds, not the simple lead paint) In Oregon (dunno if it's Federal law) you have to test if it's over 60s/f of paint repairs. I chose not to do major paint repairs because of the strict laws and licensing for lead.
Hot air works great. I stripped all my kitchen cabinet doors with a hot air gun and putty knife. Once I got the right pace, it was stripping paint at better than 4 linear feet per minute with a 4" putty knife. It's messy, but it drops straight down to the ground and doesn't go airborne.
Since then, they've invented the paint stripper box, and they can be rented. One example:
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Vids show that they work well, and I saw the guys on This Old House use one. Tom Silva liked it.
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another mfgr.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Where I live homeowners have vastly more latitude than contractors. Thus my interest in doing the removal myself. Once the paint's gone a contractor can do the rest of the work unhampered.
Heat guns make me uneasy: the wind can penetrate into spaces and reach combustibles I can't see or reach. Steam, if it works, avoids this issue.
Radiant heaters seem a better idea than heat guns. No hot air penetration, so no risk of heating stuff I can't see. They are rather expensive: The first one you list goes for ~400$, the second at $125 is better but still a great deal more than $50 for a steamer from Lowes.
Everybody shows Youtube videos of paint removal schemes working like magic. Trouble is, they're apt to be cooked demonstrations ;-) I'm looking for some "uncooked" experiences.
Thanks for replying!
bob prohaska
Reply to
bob prohaska
I haven't used steam to remove paint, but I have used it on wallpaper quite a lot. Projecting from that experience, I would say that steam paint removal, if it worked at all, would be really, really, ... REALLY slow!
Bob
Reply to
Bob Engelhardt
Right since it only injects moisture into areas you don't _ever_ want moisture inside. I wasn't suggesting using an air gun for a whole house, Bob. That's why I suggested the stripper box. The heat gun was for reference, and what I had personal experience with.
You'd spend more on sandpaper, and probably take more time. Anyway, look into renting one, instead. I just checked and HOme Depot doesn't carry them for sale or rent.
See my moisture comment. As a licensed Oregon contractor, I'd never use a steamer like that, period.
Right. I've talked to people who've used stripper boxes and they say it takes longer than the specs, but they do work well. They get hot enough to take all the layers off at once, but temps are lower than 451F. And they're considerably faster, less messy, and much safer than sanding.
Jewelcome.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Same here. You only need to worry about it if you are getting paid to remove it from property you don't own.
Steam doesn't work real well on anything other than wallpaper and latex paint. Tried a LOT of methods to make stripping lead paint faster. If it's more than a couple coats heat works the best. The trick to using a heat gun is simple, keep it moving, and don't heat at 90 degrees to the surface. You want the gun aimed at about 30-45 degrees, With a GOOD stiff scraper running right behind the heated area. There are a couple attachments for better heat guns that help with that. They are scrapers that attach to the barrel and peel the paint clean off.
If you keep the heat moving you have a VERY low chance of igniting anything. The heat just isn't localized that well.
Well my FIL has been a painter for over 30 years, he's the guy who wanted a faster method than hand scraping. He uses heat quite a bit now with no problems.
Reply to
Steve W.
That's the sort of experience I'm looking for. It contrasts sharply with:
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If my paint is like that in the video, steam seems like the way to go. I can't help but wonder how many samples were auditioned before a star was born 8-)
Ok, point taken.....
In my case speed isn't a huge issue; I'm not trying to make a living, just avoid some expense. Being retired, cash out matters much more than time in. Does 10 square feet per hour sound realistic for an amateur?
Thanks for replying!
bob prohaska
Reply to
bob prohaska
It's a nice, clean removal, much like the heat gun, but it'll take you a month of Sundays to get all that footage done.
I think the heat gun is 2-3x faster. Preheat a couple feet, then focus an inch ahead of the scraper and start lifting paint.
Have fun, however you decide to do it.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
I have two heat guns, an old Red Devil radiant-heat paint stripper, and a 92-year-old house sided with western red cedar -- the original siding..
The radiant heater is two to three times as fast as the heat guns. You develop a knack very quickly for not charring the wood, but keep a wet rag handy while you're learning to use it.
Ten square feet per hour is pushing it, but you could do it if you don't stop. Oil-based paint is much easier to strip. My house has oil-based primer and latex paint, and that's also easy to strip.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
If that's pushing it for you, it's probably more than I can expect of myself. I really should take off a sample and experiment.
It looks like I can remove the over-limit woodwork myself. There isn't a great deal of it. I'm exempt, being the homeowner. The contractor can remove the rest and get on with the job. He's exempt, because the lead is below limits (one milligram per square centimeter). Once it's dismounted it'll be a lot easier to work on, but from what I've learned so far the work won't be easy. There's also some uncertainty whether the paint will scrape off clean enough. Much as I dislike throwing away clear redwood, the gamble is looking less and less worthwhile. The house is no histerial landmark and I'm no curator of monuments.
Thanks to everyone, you've given me a stiff dose of pragmatism.....
bob prohaska
Reply to
bob prohaska

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