How to Use a Paint Scraper

When it comes to painting, prep work is essential. If you want your paint job to last, you must thoroughly prepare the surface before you even think about applying any primer or paint. While you can usually remove bits of old loose and peeling paint with a simple metal putty knife, sometimes more is required. A paint scraper is far superior at stripping away bits of old paint. If you've never used one, however, you can do serious damage to the surface you're working on.

  1. Use a pressure washer to clean the surface and wash away a portion of the old, loose paint. Set the pressure washer on a low setting, and stand several feet away from the surface to prevent damage. Allow the surface to dry completely before proceeding.

  2. Use a metal putty knife to scrape away as much loose paint as possible. Concentrate on areas that have larger peeling sheets of paint rather than areas where old paint is merely chipping away in tiny bits.

  3. Apply the paint scraper to the surface. Apply a good amount of pressure, and pull the scraper down vertically, not horizontally. Be very careful not to damage the wood below the paint. Reduce pressure if you notice splintering. Continue removing loose paint with the paint scraper until you cannot remove anymore. Use 80- to 120-grit sandpaper to smooth any loose or jagged bits of old paint chips that remain.


  • While paint scrapers are efficient at removing old loose and peeling paint, they also tend to send a lot of debris in different directions. You can inhale some of this debris, or it can end up in your eyes. So you may want to wear a mask and protective eye wear.
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