Eco-Strip > Method

Infrared Paint Removal Method

No paint holds firmer than the bottom coat.

The top layer of paint is usually held responsible for peeling, when in reality it is the first layer that no longer has sufficient adhesion. Paint ages, and over time a thick layer of additional coats of paint build up on the surface, which reduces adhesion.

By stripping paint to the bare wood, painting can begin again from scratch by using a deep-penetrating primer and undercoating that offers good adhesion. The result is more attractive as wooden details are more clearly visible, and is a higher quality solution.

The Speedheater™ method is based on paint removal using Infrared Technology. Infrared (IR) radiation and minor heat softens the paint quickly and efficiently, making it easy to scrape off. The Speedheater™ Infrared (IR) Paint Remover from Sweden is a silent and labor-saving device for use in removing paint from exterior and interior wooden surfaces. The tool is also ideal for window restoration, as it softens paint and putty simultaneously.

The Speedheater™ method, with unique safety, cost-effective, wood-friendly and environmentally sound paint removal benefits, is designed for use by both professionals and homeowners alike.

Paint removal – Why remove paint?

Over the years the ingredients in paint have varied between countries and paint producers. Many ingredients today are considered toxic and forbidden, like lead, but were frequently used in the past. Lead-based paint was outlawed in the U.S. in 1978. The date of discontinuance of lead in paint also varies between countries. Therefore, the extent of the safety problems with lead-based paint varies. In countries like the U.S. and Australia, all lead-based paint has to be removed by law.

From a maintenance perspective, removing paint is particularly important. If a paint layer is too thick, the paint will crack and repainting will only provide temporary protection before the paint cracks and flakes again.

Removing paint to the bare wood affords the opportunity to repaint from scratch using a deep-penetrating primer and undercoat that provide excellent adhesion for subsequent paint layers.

If the painting work is carried out correctly, you can have a problem-free siding/facade for at least 30-40 years that will require only minor maintenance. It will also be more attractive as the wooden details are more clearly visible without all of the layers of paint.

Safety aspects

Generally speaking, preservation and restoration work is like travelling back in time. Paint removal is no exception. Each individual paint removal project calls for its own unique evaluation as the top coat of paint hides the exploits of previous generations.

Old paint usually contains unhealthy components, some of which are extremely toxic. Therefore the needs analysis should include both the maintenance evaluation and the safety issues that should be considered, especially if you are about to remove lead-based paint. When dealing with lead-based paint you need to take all necessary safety precautions possible to prevent lead exposure (meaning plumbic gas and dust). You can also reduce the risks of exposure by choosing a safer paint removal method.

Needs analysis

Repainting a house takes time and is quite a costly. Therefore, there is not much point in compromising on the initial preparation and primer stages, only to have to redo the whole job a few years later. Experienced painters say that around 80 percent of the effort should be invested in the preparation phase.

However, we are all human and this is usually also the most boring and strenuous aspect of the job, a phase you would probably rather skip altogether. Not only are you keen to get on with the actual painting, but it’s also difficult to make a realistic assessment of the particular needs of a given building. Thinking long-term and assessing what preparation work is required, though, is a good idea that pays off in the long run.

Painting preparation can depend on conditions

If the paint has only faded and is not flaking or peeling, it is enough to simply wash the facade/siding with paint cleaner to remove dirt and spores prior to painting.

If the paint is flaking but is still adhering to the surface, you can usually just scrape the facade to remove any paint that is no longer sticking, while the paint that is sticking can be left alone. However, bear in mind that in most cases this older paint will also start peeling a few years after painting over it.

If your needs analysis reveals that it is no longer worth applying new paint to old layers, it’s better to begin by removing all the old paint and starting again from scratch.

When paint should be removed

Paint should be removed when the bottom paint layers have aged enough that their elastic and adhesive properties have deteriorated. When the facade/siding is painted repeatedly, the bottom layer will eventually be unable to support additional layers. Generally, a house can be painted around five to six times. Therefore, if a house is 50 or 60 years old, it may be time to consider very carefully exactly what needs to be done.

Look for these conditions when considering full paint removal:

  • Incorrect preparation, such as latex or acrylic painted directly on the wood without an oil primer. Alternatively, the facade may have too much oil in it, which, in turn, results in poor adhesion.
  • Paint mixes that are not compatible with one other, e.g., film-forming paints on top of whitewash or vice versa. Similar problems may occur with strong modern paints applied on top of old linseed oil paints.
  • Inadequate preparation of paint surfaces may result in the paint having poor adhesion, resulting in flaking or peeling between the layers that cannot support additional layers of paint.
  • Blister formation on the painted surface, likely a result of moisture or linseed oil blisters.
  • The paint layers have become too thick, too hard or riddled with penetrative cracks.
  • The paint layer shows a hairline crack pattern that may run horizontally, vertically or in a diamond pattern.
  • From a purely cosmetic perspective, detailed trim work and moldings can be painted with so many layers that their forms become unclear or disappear completely.