How to Remove Paint From Concrete?

One fine day, as you are busy painting, a catastrophe happens. Somehow paint was spilled on the expensive concrete floor. Like so many others, you think, “Is paint on concrete permanent?” 

Fortunately, no. So, how can you remove paint from concrete? Paint stains can be completely removed from concrete surfaces. But, the process varies depending on many factors like the type of paint and even the amount of time that elapsed since the paint spill.

Keep reading our guides to learn about these factors in-depth. By the end of the article, you can easily remove paint from concrete no matter the situation. As a bonus, we also talk about how to remove paint from concrete without using chemicals. 

Protecting the Concrete While Painting

Before talking about removing paint stains, we want to give a word of caution. Fixing after an accident has happened will always create an extra cost. Even when you are able to fix the situation, you end up wasting a lot of time. In other words, prevention is better than cure.

So be careful when you paint. Keep the paint can in a corner so that you do not accidentally knock it down while you walk. Also, cover the surrounding areas with a cloth or plastic wrap while painting.

Another common accident people face while painting is dripping it from the roller or brush. Cover the floor with plastic wraps so that paint drips from the brush do not destroy the floor. You can also use no drip Roller Cases to reduce paint drips significantly. 

How to Remove Wet Paint From Concrete?

Your paint removal process will significantly differ based on how long ago the accident occurred. If the paint has already dried up, then you will have to follow a different method than the one you need to take if the paint is still wet.

Here’s a quick summary of the method to remove the wet paint from concrete.

Removing wet paint from concrete is relatively easy. In most cases, you can get the job done with only a small amount of warm water, soap, and a sponge.

  • Firstly, if it is still wet, then gently tap the sponge on it to soak up some of the paint. 
  • After that, rub the surface with soapy warm water. This will make your paint free from the concrete surface. 
  • Dab the foam again to soak up the remaining paint.

This should be enough. But if you feel that the paint is still in there, then you can try using mineral spirits. 

How to Remove Dried Paint From Concrete?

The main challenge is removing dried-up paint. Here’s a step-by-step manual on how to do that using paint strippers. 

Step 1: Clean the Surface

Before anything else, clean the surface. Use warm water. We also recommend using soap for a deep clean. Furthermore, scrub the concrete surface with a Rough Bristle Brush. The rough end of the brush is perfect for removing small but stubborn pieces of debris.

A clean and dust-free surface enables the chemicals in the paint strippers to form a bond with concrete. But before applying the paint strippers make sure that the concrete is dry. It will take 3-4 hours for the surface to dry after you have cleaned it with water and soap.

Step 2: Apply Paint Strippers

Now you are one step closer to adding paint strippers. There is one optional task that we strongly recommend – apply Mineral Spirit in the places of the concrete where the paint had been spilled. This will soften up the dried paint to some extent. 

The next step is to select a paint stripper that suits your purpose. You don’t want to use the same paint stripper on concrete that you use on furniture. So, check the label carefully to find a Paint Stripper that is safe to use on concrete.

Apply the paint stripper with a putty knife and spread it somewhat evenly using a cheap brush. Try to lay it out so that it covers the surface in a thickness of a quarter of an inch. Also, if you are applying paint strippers vertically then choose one that is thicker. 

Step 3: Wash Away the Paint Strippers

After you have applied the paint stripper you have to cover it with a plastic sheet for almost an hour. After an hour you can peel off the sheets. Most of the paint strippers will also come out along with the plastic sheet.

To get rid of the chemicals you need to wash the surface again with soapy warm water. If there are still paint spots, then you can either try to scrape them off by using sandpaper or do the whole process again. 

How to Remove Paint from Concrete Without Chemicals

We understand that working with chemicals can be a bit frightening. Although there are some effective ways to protect yourself, using chemicals can cause accidents of their own. 

So many people ask, “Is there any way to remove paint from concrete without using chemicals?” There is no need to worry at all because we have two options ready for you. They can be less effective than using chemicals but they are still valid alternatives.

Use Vinegar

Can vinegar remove paint from concrete? Even if it sounds too good to be true, vinegar can actually reduce some paint from concrete surfaces. It is safe, relatively budget-friendly, and consumes way less time.

  • First off, heat the vinegar. Do not increase the temperature so much that it actually boils.
  • Now take the vinegar and pour it into the cleaned concrete surface.
  • After 15 minutes or so you will see that the dried-up paint will start to boil and become detached from the surface.
  • At this stage, you can simply soak and scrape the paint off.

Consider Floor Grinders

This is a pretty noisy and time-consuming method. I like to think of Floor Grinders as giant sandpaper churning super fast. So fast, in fact, that it removes the upper layer of the concrete surface along with any paint residue.

After you are done removing the paint from the concrete you will most likely find yourself standing in the middle of a giant pile of concrete debris. Carefully get rid of these with a mop and vacuum cleaner.

While it might be a difficult method, it will get rid of the paint. So, if you do not want to use chemicals like acetone and paint strippers, and vinegar is not getting rid of all the paint, then you can try using a floor grinder.

As you are unlikely to use a floor grinder ever again, you can rent it at a low cost from Fat Llama.

Things to Consider While Removing Paint

To finish the work perfectly and avoid any further accidents, here are a few things that you must consider:

  • Gloves, facemasks, and other protective equipment are a must when working with paint removers. Face masks will protect you from the fumes that many chemicals produce. If you are using a floor grinder then you must wear Safety Goggles to protect your eyes from the debris.
  • Do not apply the paint stripper right under the scorching heat or in a windy environment. You can set up a temporary screen to work even on sunny days.
  • Always clean the concrete surface before you apply anything else. This will get rid of dust and other debris which would otherwise hamper the paint removal process
  • If you use acetone, then be very careful not to bring any fire nearby. Acetone will light up as it is extremely flammable. Furthermore, leaving acetone on the surface of the concrete for too long will cause damage. So, wipe it off after every use.


Does Vinegar Remove Paint From Concrete?

Yes, vinegar is a useful tool in removing paint from concrete. This is because vinegar can dissolve almost all sorts of colors. Although you can get rid of oil-based paints, using vinegar to remove water-based colors is much easier – takes only 10 minutes or so.

How Long Does It Take to Remove Paint from Concrete?

Removing wet paint is easy and takes less than 30 minutes. But in case the paint has dried up, you need to spend a lot of time fixing this. You can expect the task to take somewhere around 6 hours to finish. It might take even longer, depending on how big the spill is. 

How Long Does It Take for Paint to Dry on Concrete?

This is a factor in the type of paint that is being used. But in general, it will take around 6-8 hours for the paint to become dry to touch a concrete surface. After this period, you will have a hard time removing the paint. 

Final Words

Congratulations! Now you know how to remove paint from concrete.

That being said, always follow the safety protocol while painting so that you do not have to spend the whole day trying to fix an accident. However, accidents will still happen. In that case, always follow the best practices mentioned in this article. Otherwise, you run the risk of doing more damage to the concrete.

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