Skip to content
removing paint from interior wall

How to remove paint

When it’s time to redecorate, you may need to remove paint from the walls before applying a fresh coat or hanging wallpaper.  Prior warning; it will be a time consuming and physical task!

Do I need to remove the paint?

You can paint over smooth walls that are not peeling, bubbling or cracking without any problems. Just make sure to clean them thoroughly and use a high-quality primer or a 2-in-1 paint and primer. Remember, if you are painting over a darker color, you may need to apply several coats of paint.

If you do find bubbles and/or cracks, you will need to remove the paint first so you get the best finish for the new coat.  Painting over old paint like this will lead to the new coat of paint flaking.

If you have any concerns about lead paint (this can be common in houses was built before 1978, bear in mind it may be beneath a few layers), then you must get an expert in to deal with it.

If you are going to be hanging wallpaper, you will need to remove any glossy paint by sanding (see below) but with flat or matte paint you can just wash the walls then use a good primer.

See original image here…

How to remove paint from walls

Preparationprotect furniture before you remove paint

Firstly, protect the room by taking everything off the walls and removing furniture where possible, or moving it into the middle of the room.  Cover the furniture and the floors with plastic sheeting.  If you will be using paint stripper, tape up skirting boards as well in case of any drips.  This is a messy job and be warned, it will take a while!  Make sure you have goggles and a dust mask for protection.

See original image here…

What is the best paint remover

The best way to remove paint all depends on the type of paint you have, the condition it is in and the size of the area.  It also depends on whether you are happy to use chemicals or not.  Some people use heat on the walls but we do not advise this as it can be very dangerous. Below are the most commonly used methods.

Paint stripper

goggles needed to remove paintThis can be a quicker option to remove paint, especially when you have a large area to deal with or emulsion paint to remove.  It is a chemical solution which breaks down the paint, so must be used carefully and the room must be properly ventilated. Goggles, gloves and a dust mask or respirator are absolutely essential for your safety.

Make sure you choose the right paint stripper for the type of paint that is on your walls and consider a gel one as they drip less.  It is best to apply the paint stripper on the walls with an old paintbrush, working from the top of the wall downwards in sections.  Leave it to soak into the paint according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Then use a scraper to remove the paint.

If the paint stripper you have needs to be followed by a liquid neutralizer, again follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

See original image here…

Remove paint without paint stripper

If you do not wish to use chemicals in your house, you can sand, scrape or a mix of both.


If you have drywall or wood, you can use a sandpaper block, which will remove enough of the paint to give a good finish on the new coat.  You need to apply lots of pressure to get the paint off, until it has a dull look.  If it’s too big a job, you can buy or rent a sander.  This will create a lot of dust and mess, so you need to be prepared for the clean up and to ventilate the area during the job and afterwards.

Scrapinghow to remove paint from interior walls

This is a tough job that takes some time.  Go over the walls first with a wire brush to remove paint that is loose or flaking.  Then using a paint scraper, get underneath the paint and ease it off the wall.

Be careful not to press too hard or you may damage the wall underneath.  An oscillating tool can be handy when you have large walls.  Any remaining stubborn paint can be sanded off.

See original image here…

Clean up

After the paint has been removed, the walls will need to be washed so you have a clean, smooth surface.  This is necessary so that fresh paint or wallpaper paste will adhere to them.  Use detergent like washing up liquid with water and wash the walls with a sponge.  Then use an old rag and some clean water to rinse them.  Allow them to dry thoroughly.

Finally you are ready to paint your walls or apply wallpaper to them.

If this all sounds like a big task, why not just get the experts in to do the job for you! Herts Decorators provide high quality and professional decorating services to our clients across Hertfordshire, book a free estimate with our team today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


George Ryland

Book a free estimate with our team today!