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Remove paint from concrete wall

Hello all,

I am remodeling my garage and could use some direction on how to deal with a concrete block wall inside my garage. 

I would like to apply a concrete sealer/primer and then paint the wall but am having trouble figuring out how to deal with the old paint and primer that are on the wall.

The wall is about 500 sq ft, was formally an exterior wall, built in 1948 so likely has a lead based paint on it. The other interior walls of the garage are sheetrocked, so I am hesitant to use a pressure washer for anything.

Do I wet the wall and scrub? Do I dry scrub and apply a paint removing solvent? I have tried to clean off some of the loose dirt and paint with a stripping sponge and brush but it creates a large green cloud that sticks to the other white walls of the garage.

What is a recommended way to clean the wall to be able to prime/seal it? How much of the paint should actually be removed for a concrete sealer to adhere properly?

Thank you!
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Posted 2016-04-26T21:14:37+0000  by safetybeltz safetybeltz
The presence of lead paint is definitely something to be concern with.  If you want to do the work yourself, I would definitely do some reading on how to safely remove the lead paint.  Your state's department of public health may have some information how to do it safely and any requirements for proper disposal of the debris.

Beyond that I would treat the wall like any other surface might want to paint.  Make sure it's clean and remove any loose paint, if the existing paint is well adhered there's no reason to remove it.  Then a good quality primer and couple of top coats of whatever paint you'd like to use.

Posted 2016-04-27T00:07:11+0000  by Adam444

I would concur with Adam44. If the old paint is still sound, there is no reason to remove it. Merely clean it , prime it and paint it. There are heavy bodied "block filler" paints that will help fill the texture of concrete block.

Even if you test for lead and find it positive, loose paint can still first be wire brushed away while wearing a lead rated face mask and protective clothing. The area should be isolated as best a possible and children should be kept away until any dust is vacumned or mopped away.

After any loose paint is removed, seal in the remaining paint with primer or a paint and primer paint. Garage interiors  are normally treated as if they are interior surfaces, since they are not subject to rain, sun and extreme sudden temperature changes, as are exterior walls.

Another alternative would be to fur out the wall and drywall over it. As you state  it was formerly an exterior wall, the possibility exists that the wall, which is now a partition wall to the house, is not well insulated, especially in a 1948 house. This would be a great opportunity to upgrade your insulation. You could seal in any lead and insulate at the same time! 
Posted 2016-04-27T06:54:12+0000  by ordjen
Lead abatement is a significant health concern.

Before washing or scouring that wall, I would conduct a lead test.

If the results are positive for lead, I would have a qualified inspector establish a plan for removing and/or covering that surface.

If you find no lead, you're ready to proceed and you've eliminated the concern.

Hope this helps,

Pat InPaint

Posted 2016-04-27T15:51:22+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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