How to remove flaking paint from exterior walls (2022)

We use affiliate links. If you purchase something using one of these links, we may receive compensation or commission.

If you’re thinking about painting the exterior of your house, it’s important to know that with the right equipment and techniques, no paint job is permanent, and removal is a process you can most often do yourself with ease. If you have come to regret a color choice or made a mistake, using specialized tools, the paint may be stripped off anytime you want. So, the question is how to remove flaking paint from exterior walls.

Well, there are a few ways you can achieve that. The technique you use will be dependent on your budget, the type of the wall, the paint itself, and your confidence in the handling of the instruments. Once that’s taken care of and you amass your tools, you’ll be on your way to getting that paint off your wall and making it look as fine as you imagined.


If a painted surface is clean and in good condition, you can usually paint over it without cleaning the old paint. However, if the old paint is cracked, peeling, blistered, or otherwise loose and you paint over it directly, you’ll find yourself in great trouble. Although the imperfections will initially be covered by fresh paint, the underlying layer will bubble up soon enough and put it in jeopardy.

Painting on dirty walls, excess moisture, insufficient preparation, and using latex paint on top of oil paint can affect the adhesion of the paint and ultimately cause it to start flaking off. So, you’ll first have to invest some time in paint removal to provide a solid foundation for your next paint color.

However, scraping paint can be a monotonous process. So, it’s better to limit your efforts to the areas with imperfections only and then sand to even out the surface if you don’t want to devote too much time to it. But for the best results, you should remove all the old paint for a flawless finish before starting with the new coat.

You also need to pay special attention to when your building was painted as very old structures are often brushed with lead-based paintings. Working with these may result in distressing consequences as lead is very poisonous when inhaled.

The chips and the dust can pose a considerable health risk, especially to children around, if they’re puffed or ingested. So, if you think you might be onto something like that, please refrain from the job and ask for professional help. You can investigate if the area has other structures that had lead paints or just buy yourself a test kit to save the trouble.

Why Paint Flakes

Whenever you put your efforts to solve a problem, it’s always important to know the underlying reasons what cause the issue beforehand. Otherwise, the same complication will return and the cycle will continue. Here are some common reasons for peeling paints.

  • In most cases paints peel due to not being adequately prepared for the surface. It needs to stick well to the surface, or else the paint will come off very easily, or at least start to break.
  • Damp and moisture also contribute to paint-flaking significantly. Little to no paint will stick to a damp wall and it’s not an easy feat to dry these walls up.
  • Another recipe for catastrophe is to use the wrong type of paint for the area you are painting. You should, for example, use masonry paint for bricks, wood paint for wood, down-pipe metal paint, etc. using poor quality paints may also contribute greatly in that aspect. If the paint is old or not well-preserved, chances are it might be past its best. Moreover, thicker paints lose their resilience and crack more easily, eventually leading to alligatoring.
  • If the paint wasn’t mixed up correctly, it can separate, crack, or peel faster than expected. You should, hence, always read and follow the instruction properly before commencing your painting jobs. Painting in lower temperatures can also give raise complexities as painting jobs require sufficient heat to dry up properly on time.
  • Lack of proper sustenance will come hard on you when it comes to painting works. Annual maintenance confines the peeling and keeps it from spreading.
  • Natural hazards, insects, UV rays, automatic lawn water sprinklers, rotating wind, and other local weather conditions can cause harm to your exterior wall paint.

The Operations

🗸 Take proper protection before starting the process. Wear a safety mask, glasses, gloves, and place a large piece of plastic or a tarp near the area to catch any stray pieces of paint. Don’t forget to tape off or cover the furniture around too. Furthermore, getting rid of the fungus or algae on the wall by applying a cleaning solution could also come in handy.

🗸 Use a scraper with rounded corners to scrape the entire surface removing all the peeling paint. You may want to apply extra pressure to get rid of the stubborn paints although not too much pressure. Use a small scraper for the doors, windows, and trim while using a slightly wider one for sliding. You can use a putty knife for flexibility, a wire brush to remove the fine bits of paint and woody debris, or a biodegradable paint stripper to aid your scraping process. If your wall has very loose paint, scraping might just be the best option.

🗸 If you need to perform heavy-duty on peeling paint, you could consider utilizing a power tool. Wire wheels, 80-100 grit sandpaper, abrasive flap discs, carbide discs, etc. can do the job quite faster and with a lot less physical effort. Cordless drills are used for smaller projects while angle grinders have more power to work in bigger ones. Palm sanders are the best for smoothing out the area that is damaged or scraped from hand scraping. Orbital electric sanders can speed up the rip-off procedure. Additionally, infrared ray tools can operate at a much lower temperature than a heat gun which makes them very effective in breaking the bond between the paint and the substrate.

🗸 Despite the toxicity and expense, chemical strippers do have their place in the paint removal process (especially for plaster walls). These strippers are used in combination with scraping and sanding which take off the old existing paint and leave you with a great surface. On application, the paint first bubbles up and then softens which makes them easy to scrape off.

🗸 If you want to avoid sanding or applying chemicals, using a handgun or an infrared paint remover can be a great option. These also heat up the paint so it peels effortlessly away from the wood.

🗸 Power washing is another excellent alternative to blast away loose and flaking paints. Use a pressure washer before you begin scraping to remove the loose chips.

There are some more ways you can remove the flaking paint from your exterior wall, but we’ve only mentioned the safest and effective methods. If you stick to them and pay apt attention to the causes paints may peel, there is no reason you can’t accomplish the task with satisfaction at your own time.

2 thoughts on “How to remove flaking paint from exterior walls (2022)”

Leave a Comment