How to Get Paint Off Concrete: 5 Quick Steps

If you’ve spilled some paint on your garage floor or outside surfaces, it’s not the end of the world. With a little know-how, you’ll get the paint off your concrete in no time!

Below you’ll find various methods to remove small and large spills on any concrete surface.

If you’re reading to get the paint off your concrete, let’s get started.

Tools You’ll Need to Get Paint off Concrete

  • Paint Stripper
  • Scrub Brush
  • Safety Gear
  • Pressure Washer or Garden Hose (For outside surfaces)
  • Floor Grinder (Optional, for removing large paint spills)
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Broom and Dustpan

How to Remove Small Paint Spills from Concrete in 5 Steps

If you need to remove a large area of paint, skip to the next section.

1. Apply the Paint Stripper

Before you begin, put on the proper safety gear to protect your skin. If you’re working inside of your garage, then open the window or the garage door to let the potential fumes ventilate.

Apply a heavy coating of the paint stripper to the paint spill you’d like to remove from your concrete. If you’re covering a large area, you can spread it around with your scrub brush.

Make sure that the stripper you purchase is the right one for the type of paint you’ve spilled. If it’s oil-based, water based or latex based paint then you’re going to want to purchase the right stripper for the job.

2. Let the Paint Stripper Set

Depending on the paint stripper you’ve purchased, you’ll have to wait anywhere between half an hour to a few hours. Double check the instructions and let the paint stripper do its job. If it’s a small spill, you shouldn’t have to wait too long. If you’re stripping paint outside, then ensure it stays wet and doesn’t dry up from the heat.

3. Scrub the Concrete Surface

Once you notice the paint has started to change in appearance, it’s time to start scrubbing the affected area. You can use your scrub brush for this job.

4. Hose Down the Area

Once you’ve fully removed the paint, you can start cleaning up. Hose down the concrete surface you’re working on and mop up the floor if you’re working inside to clean up any potential left over chemicals.

5. Repeat the process as necessary

If you aren’t satisfied with the amount of paint you’ve removed, you can reapply the paint stripper and repeat the process. If the paint is stubborn and won’t come off, then you can try the next step to fully remove paint from concrete.

How to Fully Remove Paint from Concrete

If you have a large paint spill or want to fully remove the paint from your garage floor, then your best bet is going to use a floor grinder. If you don’t have one, you can rent one at your local hardware store.

Unless you feel confident in this job, you may be better off hiring a professional. You might damage the concrete if you’re not careful, so take the proper precautions beforehand.

1. Put on your safety gear

Before you get started, it’s best to wear a mask so you don’t inhale any concrete dust.

2. Grind the paint away

Start by grinding away the paint with your floor grinder. You’ll want to implement a method called “cross-hatching” which is when you run the machine in a perpendicular pattern so you get an even grind.

Don’t stay in one spot too long or you might damage the concrete itself.

If you have some paint spots left on your concrete surface, that’s ok. You’re not looking to remove the paint 100% in this step, you’re getting ready for the next step.

3. Clean Floor

Use a garden hose or a power washer to clean the surface as best as you can.

4. Apply paint stripper

Now that you’ve removed most of the paint, you’re going to apply a heavy coat of the paint stripper on the remaining areas with paint. You can use your broom here to spread it around as best as you can.

Check the instructions to see how long you need to let the paint stripper sit. Once the time has elapsed, move on to the next step.

5. Power Wash

Now you’re going to power wash the floor down to remove any left over paint.

The paint should be 100% removed by this point and you should be able to see your natural concrete surface again. If not, repeat the process again until the paint has been removed.

How to Remove Paint from Concrete without Chemicals

If you don’t want to use a paint stripper to remove the paint, you can utilize soda blasting. Soda blasting uses baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and a high pressured air compressor to remove thin layers of paint. Not only does soda blasting remove paint quickly, it also won’t expose you to any caustic chemicals from paint strippers.

Soda blasting might not be your best option considering you will have to pick up an air compressor or a special soda blasting unit from a rental service. You’ll also need to pick up industrial-grade sodium bicarbonate, not the kind you have sitting under the sink. It’s also best to do soda blasting on outdoor surfaces.

Make sure you wear a mask or respirator so you don’t breathe in any paint or baking soda. If you have the proper tools, all you need to do is spray the area where you have paint and the high pressured air/baking soda will do the job for you.

Afterwards, clean up any leftover mess and you should be good to go.

Preventing Paint Spills on Concrete

To prevent any future paint spills on your concrete, you can seal your concrete. It’ll not only prevent any spills or stains, you’ll be protected from any damage from freeze/thaw cycles that your concrete may endure.

You can also enhance the look of your concrete with topical sealers. It’s going to turn your dingy concrete floor into an aesthetic part of your garage or home.

Final Thoughts

Once you’re doing removing the paint from your concrete, you can now repaint your garage floor or look into other garage floor coatings that you may be interested in. My favorite coating is polyurea, but you have plenty of options to choose from.

You may also be interested in how to remove concrete sealers.

About Roy Cohen

I'm Roy, founder of Hack My Garage. I started out like most not knowing how to hammer a nail, but now I know more than most people about home improvement and DIY. I want to spread my wealth of knowledge with the world and hope to make it a better place.