How To Remove Oil-Based Paint From Concrete

Oil-based paint is beautiful and durable-—and very hard to remove. Whether you want to fix a stain or strip painted cement back to bare concrete to repaint or stain it, you'll need to put in some hard work to remove oil-based paint. Most importantly, you must wear full protective gear—especially a respirator, goggles and gloves.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint stripper

  • Paint stripper containing methylene chloride (for larger areas)

  • Sawdust or other absorbent material

  • Old towels

  • Nylon scrub brush

  • Scraper

  • Pressure washer

  • Respirator with fresh organic filter

  • Gloves

  • Goggles

Removing Wet Oil-Based Paint

Step 1

Blot as much of the wet paint with the towels as you can without spreading it or rubbing it in.

Step 2

Apply absorbent material to the remaining wet paint—use sawdust, crushed-clay kitty litter or a commercial product bought from a home improvement store. Leave it overnight, then sweep it up.

Step 3

Allow any remaining paint to dry for at least 3 days, then follow the steps below for dry paint.

Removing Dry Oil-Based Paint

Step 1

Remove a stain by mixing paint stripper with your absorbent material to make a creamy paste. Apply it to the stain and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Scrape it up with the scraper.

Step 2

Sprinkle an abrasive cleanser over the stain, and scrub it thoroughly with a nylon brush.

Step 3

Rinse the stain well with a pressure washer.

Removing Oil-Based Paint From a Large Area

Step 1

Put on all of your protective gear. Mix paint stripper containing methylene chloride with absorbent material, and spread over a small area at a time. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 2

Scrape up the paste and dried paint. Move on to the next area and repeat until the entire cement area is paint-free.

Step 3

Go back to where you started, apply an abrasive cleanser and scrub it with the nylon brush. Do not rinse until you have scrubbed the entire area.

Step 4

Use the pressure washer to rinse the entire area at once. If this does not remove the paint, call a professional and have it sand-blasted.

Tip

Always do a spot test before committing to a difficult or toxic method.

Warning

Methylene chloride is highly toxic, so use the proper respirator, goggles, gloves and protective clothing. Never use methylene chloride–based strippers indoors.

References & Resources