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How to remove paint from plaster walls

Updated February 21, 2017

Plaster is a common wall covering composed of lime or gypsum mixed with sand and water. The compound hardens into a smooth, heavy coating when applied to household surfaces. Once solidified, plaster is typically painted to achieve a desired finish. Removing paint from plaster walls requires the use of a solvent-based solution combined with the proper supplies. Applying the correct method will safely and effectively restore the walls to their original condition.

Choose a commercial paint stripper suited for the task at hand. Liquid applications are effective against one to two layers of paint, while dissolving several coats of paint requires a thicker paste formula capable of removing each layer in a single application.

Ventilate the workspace and wear a respirator to avoid the harmful chemical fumes from the paint stripper. Put on solvent-resistant gloves to protect your skin against alkaline burns.

Carefully apply the stripper onto the painted wall with a brush, using long and even strokes to ensure full coverage. Allow the solvent to remain on the plaster for the length of time indicated on the product label.

Scrape the paint with a putty knife once it has emulsified. Take care not to apply excessive pressure, using a second application of the chemical stripper if necessary.

Repeat the process until the paint has been cleanly lifted from the plaster surface. Soak a fresh cloth in clean water and thoroughly wipe the treated surface to neutralise the chemicals.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint stripper
  • Respirator
  • Rubber gloves
  • Brush
  • Putty knife
  • Cloth
  • Water
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