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August 27, 2017

How to Strip Paint & Rust Using A Pressure Washer

Pressure washers are powerful cleaning machines that can blast away layers of rust and paint from any surfaces. Before you begin, it is essential to prep the surface before adding a fresh coat of paint. You’ll need to remove peeling paint to provide a solid base for the new layer of paint. Not only will pressure washing remove loose paint and built-up grime, but this method will also improve paint adhesion, saving you time and money.

Why use a pressure washer to remove rust or paint?

Time-consuming and outdated cleaning methods such as manually scrubbing and scraping only add unwanted labour costs and are ineffective in removing rust and peeling paint. Using a pressure washer will cut the time usually required in removing paint, rust, and corrosion from metal surfaces and with any other exterior surface as well.

However, careful consideration should be given to any surface and material before using a pressure washer. For example, surfaces such as old bricks, fibreglass, plastics, aluminum, and wood can be damaged by applying high-pressure. As such, the best method to remove peeling paint or rust is first to determine the surface material and the type of paint used before starting the job.

You may want to consider hiring a professional cleaning company to remove paint and other coatings from sheet steel, aluminum siding, plastics and fibreglass to ensure these materials won’t pit or warp after pressure washing.

What PSI pressure do you need to strip paint?

Pressure washing can remove paint from wood, metal, concrete, and other exterior surfaces. The ideal unit to strip paint and rust is a hot water pressure washer with 2000 PSI to 4000 PSI. For suborn stains, you may need to use 3000 PSI to break paint off the surface of the wood.

What type of pressure washer should I use to remove rust or paint?

There are many options available. To remove rust or paint, pressure washers either electric and gas-powered models are good choices. Based on the jobs you have, the electrically powered pressure washer requires less maintenance but not the mobility you may need.
Gas powered pressure washers are powerful and are ideal for big cleaning jobs since these machines will clean faster. However, a gas powered pressure washer can be too strong for other cleaning applications.
Additional accessories needed are rotary nozzles and a wet vacuum. It would help if you also had a high-pressure nozzle for a fine, strong spray, a wide-angle nozzle that sweeps for rinsing and a low-pressure nozzle to apply detergent.

How to remove paint using a pressure washer:

Here are the steps to help you remove paint and rust from wood, metal, concrete, and other exterior surfaces.
  • Before you begin, consider the time of year. The work of stripping paint can be easier when the temperature is warmer.
  • Conduct a patch test first before you begin the job. Spray on a small surface area and then adjust the pressure level as you see fit.
  • Wear safety glasses and closed toe shoes.
  • Prep the area, including closing all windows and doors.
  • When applying detergent to the pressure washer, you have to lower the pressure and use the right nozzle—a low-pressure tip. Ideally, the 25-degree green tip and 15-degree yellow tip nozzles are usually the best choices to remove paint.
  • A good rinsing is critical. If the job requires repainting, any cleaner residue will cause poor paint adhesion.
  • Narrow-angle cleaning is necessary to remove paint or rust from metal surfaces so as not to damage the surface. Remember to work in sections and to keep the nozzle moving at all times.
  • Depending on the surface type, you may need to wait for several days before you can begin to repaint.

How to remove peeling paint from concrete using a pressure washer:

Liquids, like paint, will easily penetrate the porous material, seeping deep into the concrete surface. Because of concrete’s surface, removing paint is a time-consuming endeavour. How long it will take depends on the size of the area you need to clean.
In addition to following the steps noted above this post, here are additional steps to remove paint from concrete:

  • Follow the safety and preparation steps highlighted above in “How to remove paint using a pressure washer.”
  • Clean the concrete surface thoroughly and let dry.
  • You may need to scrape off peeling paint and apply paint stripper manually. Follow instructions carefully and wear appropriate protective gear.
  • Spray in a downward and sweeping motion will move the paint chips away from the surface.
  • Set the pressure washer at 3,000 psi and blast away the paint stripper residue. Based on the job, you may need to wash multiple applications of paint stripper.
  • You will need to contain and collect your wash water.

How to remove paint from wood using a pressure washer:

  • Follow the safety and preparation steps highlighted above in “How to remove paint using a pressure washer.”
  • Make sure you keep the pressure washer in a continuous motion and the same direction of the wood grain.
  • Once the wood surface has dried completely, check if surface if it needs a light sanding to remove any loose paint that was not removed with the pressure washer. 

Using Chemical Strippers
Time is money, and the use of chemical strippers can speed up the job. However, these chemicals also increase the risk to workers and the environment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions with knowledge and care. Understanding dwell time is crucial for good results, and dwell time may be long — an important factor to add to your time management and labour costs.

Environmental Regulations
Pressure washing does – in fact - helps keep pollution out of our local waterways. It needs to be done correctly. Clean surfaces will release fewer contaminants into our waterways as long as the waste and wash water is collected and disposed of appropriately. Ensure you follow local environmental relations concerning disposal and exceptions for filtering or recycling.

Safety First
Whether you are removing rust or peeling paint and on any surface, this type of job will create dust and fine particles in the air. You’ll need to wear a dust mask or a respirator especially if you’re working indoors.


Unimanix Industries

Choose the best - choose a Unimanix pressure washer or power washer for commercial or industrial applications! Unimanix has been manufacturing durability since 1993, with features that can handle the challenges of heavy-duty trucks, trailers, buses, and trains. Whether it is to design, install, build a complete washing facility or customise a trailer for mobile pressure washing services, Unimanix is committed to meeting your exact needs. We serve Ontario and Quebec! Proudly Made In Canada.

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