Paint Stripping

Paint Stripping Tips

paintstripping-2Preparing a previously coated surface for painting often requires paint stripping to ensure a good bond between the new coating and surface. The process of paint stripping can involve hazardous materials and waste generation. Reducing waste and hazardous materials from your paint stripping processes can help improve employee heath, reduce your regulatory compliance burden, and save money.

Minimize Cause of Repainting

Assess what caused the need for repainting. Inadequate initial part preparation, defects in the coating, application equipment problems, and coating damage due to improper handling can all result in the need for repainting. While no process is perfect, reducing the need for repainting directly affects the volume of waste from paint removal.

Consider Alternative Approaches


Once the need for paint stripping is minimized, consider alternative paint-stripping approaches. Outsourcing paint-stripping work may be cost effective. Consider the advantages of reduced environmental liability, avoiding employee exposure to paint-stripping hazards, and eliminating expenses for purchasing, operating and maintaining stripping equipment.

Less-Toxic Alternatives

If you choose to maintain an on-site paint removal operation, key factors to consider are the characteristics of the substrate being stripped, the type of paint being removed and the volume and type of waste produced. Chemical stripping has commonly been used in a number of applications, but less toxic and less costly alternatives are available. For example, chemical stripping can often be replaced with mechanical stripping using metal and nylon brushes.

Alternatives to chemical paint-stripping include:

  • abrasive blasting with a variety of materials
  • mechanical removal using scrapers, wire brushes or sand paper
  • pyrolysis: vaporizing the paint coating in a furnace or molten salt bath
  • cryogenics: freezing the paint off
  • extreme high-pressure water or air

Products and methods should be selected for use based on individual facility needs. Often, removed paint and chemical stripper combinations require disposal as hazardous wastes. MnTAP maintains a list of alternative stripping and cleaning chemicals for coatings and polymers solely as a service to Minnesota companies.

Industry Case Studies

  • K-Bar: Improved inspection of reject parts before stripping, increasing operator awareness and process changes save K-Bar $44,000 annually. And an upgraded paint system reduced reject parts by 50%.