How Do You Remove Paint From a Copper Ceiling?

Copper ceiling tiles are eye-catching additions to a home’s decor. Whether your tiles were painted by accident or on purpose, you may find that you need to remove paint from copper ceiling tiles. You can cut your refinishing time in half with the proper use of chemical paint stripper. Paint stripper does have its downsides. It is noxious and potentially dangerous without the proper precautions. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that you handle these products very carefully, as many are flammable and can be hazardous.

Put on safety goggles, rubber gloves and a mask. These will protect your skin and lungs while working with the chemicals.

Put up scaffolding or a tall ladder to help you reach the tiles. If the tiles can be taken down, move them outside onto a tarp. It will be much easier to work on the tiles if they are removed from the ceiling.

Apply a thick coat of chemical paint stripper on ceiling tiles with an old paintbrush. Choose a non-methylene chloride paint stripper. This type of stripper is less dangerous and is safe to use indoors.

Allow the chemical to penetrate the paint for around 20 minutes. Test to see if the paint is soft by scraping it with a paint scraper. The paint will peel up easily when ready.

Hold a scraper firmly in your hand and push the paint away from you, removing it from the tiles in long strips. Scrape away as much paint as you can with the paint scraper.

Apply a small amount of paint stripper onto a piece of extra fine steel wool. Work the steel wool over the tiles in a circular motion to remove any remaining paint.

Saturate a clean cloth with lacquer thinner. Wipe away all grease and residue from the tiles with the lacquer thinner.


Once the paint is removed from the tiles, evaluate the colour and condition of the copper. Copper polish can bring back the copper’s original lustre. Some homeowners prefer the patina of aged copper.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Mask
  • Tarp
  • Chemical paint stripper
  • Paint scraper
  • Steel wool
  • Towel
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About the Author

Lisa East Hunter is a consultant and freelance writer in Phoenix. Her background in marketing and technology led her to explore all avenues of writing. She is currently dividing her time between freelance writing and her consulting business. Hunter has a Bachelor of Science in management information systems and marketing.