How to Use Heat Guns

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Heat guns, high-powered electric tools that create a super-heated blast of air, are useful in many home decor and remodeling projects. Learn how to use a heat gun safely and effectively to remove wallpaper, adhesives and even old paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Heat gun Scraper tool Gloves Safety goggles Air mask
  • Wear safety goggles and thick gloves whenever you use a heat gun for home repair or remodeling. Electric heat guns get very hot and noxious fumes can be released from the plastic, paint, adhesive or other materials you use the heat gun on. Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth will help reduce the inhalation of fumes.

  • Set the heat gun on a solid surface and plug it in. Heat guns are usually sold in a kit that includes some type of stand. Use the stand rather than laying the gun on a surface that could be damaged by the high temperature. The gun will get hot quickly.

  • Hold the gun and depress the trigger mechanism to release a super-heated blast of air from the end. Point this heat at the material you wish to remove from a surface while moving the heat gun back and forth slowly to prevent burning the surface. Use a plastic or metal scraper in your other hand to remove the material and discard it.

  • Use heat guns to remove old paint from doors, woodwork or furniture. Heat guns are not suitable for removing flat paint from plaster or drywall. Move the heat gun over the painted surface slowly. The paint will bubble as it melts and can be easily scraped off with a wide-bladed tool.

  • Remove old wallpaper by using a heat gun to melt the adhesive underneath the paper or vinyl sheets. Pull the wallpaper out of the way of the heat as you move. Take care not to burn the paper itself. This project can be more easily accomplished with a partner.

  • Use a heat gun for other home-maintenance tasks as well. Dry out wood with a low setting on the heat gun. Shrink plastic tubing around bundled wires or pipes. Apply plastic shrink wrap over stored items or even windows to keep out drafts. A heat gun can also melt adhesive holding down vinyl or ceramic tile, bend plastic pipes for plumbing jobs and even loosen bolts or nuts that are corroded or rusted slightly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid being burned. Keep heat guns away from soldered pipes as they can melt solder and cause leaks. Paint that contains lead should be handled by an environmental removal team as it can be injurious.

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  • Photo Credit Saaven at SXC.hu
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