Removing Latex Paint Stains From Concrete

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A Painting Project That Went A Little Awry

Last Saturday the weather was much like today only a few degrees warmer.  The real enticing part was that the night was forecast to be rain free and above 50 degrees.  I have been chomping at the bit to get primer and paint on my new bare wood shed doors since January.   The winter and early spring were prohibitively cold and damp.  I remembered that I had nearly a full gallon of Kilz 2 primer I bought in 2009.  I was shocked to realize it was still a usable product after thorough stirring.  I wonder how long these paints and primers stay on store shelves.  Anyways, I progressed to priming  painting the shed doors not giving much thought to covering my concrete patio.  It is old anyways and I just figured I could wash the  paint away with my garden hose and detergent.   Boy, did I ever learn.  After applying a scrub brush and  and soap, I removed only superficial amounts of paints.  You can see in the photo above where a residue had soaked into the concrete.  What was I to do, get on my hands and knees and apply noxious paint removal and scrape for hours on end?  No, not hardly.  I was looking into my cleaning bucket/tool caddy and noticed I have 3 old wire brushes that wont remove welding fluxes anymore.  They will remove paint and rust from hard surfaces though.  I was suddenly struck by an idea and dashed indoors to fetch my trusty angle grinder.  I exictingly attached one of my defunct wheels and plugged that mug in!  I got a container of some xylene, a paint scraper, and a face shield.

 

DISCLAIMER—-PLEASE READ—DANGER!

THE PROCEDURE DISCLOSED IN THIS POST MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH IF PROPER SAFETY MEASURES ARE NOT TAKEN.   IF YOU CHOOSE TO READ ON THEN I CANNOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE OR INJURY THAT MAY OCCUR AFTER USING THE INFORMATION IN THIS POST.

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Use Proper Safety Gear

The xylene is available at most home improvement stores unless the state or country you reside in is excessively liberal.  In that case it should be found online.  It is moderately flammable and fairly toxic by inhalation or skin contact.   It is applied to the paint stains to assist the wire brush in removal.  Only use small amounts at a time and keep the can away from work area.  The wire wheel will generate sparks.  It likely will not ignite the solvent but take care with the liquid around the electric motor.  If  you get light headed or dazed by the vapors it is best to leave the area and resume work after vapors dissipate a little.   Also, don’t use the solvent in an enclosed area without ventilation.

You will be operating a high speed power tool with a wire brush on concrete.  Little bits of dirt, wire from brush, and gravel will be flying everywhere.  Wearing a face sheild is an ABSOLUTE MUST to prevent eye injury.

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OK Now That You Have Your Face Shield You Are Ready

I was quite amazed what this old brush did to remove the paint stains.  It did leave somewhat of a gray residue which is likely caused by the metal in the wire wheel.  Nothing a concrete etching wont take care of.   In the second photo, you can see what A difference the grinder has made.  It is astonishing the many uses I have found and continue to find for this most versatile tool.

 

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