Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023
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Getting paint off uPVC can be a slightly tricky process. This is primarily because it's not intended to be painted - you can order doors and windows in a wide variety of colours, theoretically cutting paint out of the equation. If you've recently moved into a home with painted uPVC doors or window, you likely want it off. So the question for the day is how to get paint off uPVC without damageing it. Luckily, we're here with the answer and a foolproof guide. Keep reading to learn more.
How to get paint off uPVC - use a combination of warm water, a paint scraper, and paint stripper (if absolutely necessary).
There's a bit to know here, so let's dive right in, yeah? It'll be a short one today, so stay tuned.
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Now, there are a few methods to use here. Obviously, the whole process will be easier if the paint is still wet, but we're going to assume that it's not. If you didn't want paint on the door or window, you simply wouldn't have put it on in the first place. Let's start with the most gentle form of paint removal - warm water and a scraper.
Keep in mind, however, that all of the below methods are likely to damage the uPVC in some way, shape, or form. Now that you've been warned, let's get right into it.
These are the two most common paint types. Gloss paint is the easiest to remove, though emulsion is also usually pretty quick to remove. One way or another, you're going to need a bowl of warm water, a paint scraper, and a damp sponge. Oh! You'll also need some spare time, as this won't be a quick process.
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First things first - get a bowl of warm water. We don't need scalding water - just warm. Now, dip a sacrificial sponge in the water and gently wipe. You're not trying to scrub the paint off, so don't use a coarse scrubby sponge.
Gently wet the whole surface, loosening the paint. It won't likely come right off, but it will make the next bit easier. Keep in mind that if it's gloss paint, this step may not even be necessary.
Now comes the scraper. You're going to gently run your paint scraper at a nearly parallel angle to the surface. You're trying to gently coax the paint off, not scratch the surface. Give a few tests on discreet corners of the surface to ensure you won't scratch it up.
Once you're sure it'll come up, give several firm (but not hard ) strokes to remove the paint. If it doesn't come off easily, you'll want to move to step three. Otherwise, you risk damageing the surface in the process of removal.
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Now is where chemical treatment comes into play. We're going to cover a few alternatives you can use down below, but I recommend you try this first. Go to your local hardware or paint store. Ask around about paint strippers that are safe on uPVC. Not all paint strippers will work on uPVC, and some can even damage the plastic.
Once you've found a good paint stripper, start on a discreet corner of your surface. Make absolutely sure that it won't damage the plastic, then start the application. Let the paint stripper sit for a few minutes (following its instructions carefully) and try to scrape the paint again. It should lift off relatively easily once the paint stripper has done its thing.
If you're looking for a more DIY solution to this, keep reading for some homemade solutions to strip paint.
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Now there are some other substances you can use to remove paint from uPVC, but keep in mind one thing. If it's not designed to do a specific job, you run the risk of damageing the surface. Now, with that out of the way, here's what you can use as a DIY paint stripper.
A generous layer of nail polish remover can act as a DIY paint stripper when things are tight. While I don't recommend using this on something you want to continue to use (a door or window, for example), it can work.
If the paint is extremely pesky and refusing to come off, try multiple treatments. Allow them to sit for ~10 minutes before trying to remove the paint again. This process works best when paired with a paint scraper.
This works best on dried acrylic paint. Of particular note, however, is the fact that ammonia released intense fumes, similar to bleach. That means that using ammonia (of any amount or dilution) is generally best done in a well-ventilated area.
Wear a respirator (not a paper mask, a respirator, with a filter) and gloves when doing this. Let it sit for ~10 minutes and then try to scrape the paint off once it's loosened.
This isn't exactly something that most people have sitting around the house. If you do, then give it a try - but if not, just stick to actual paint remover.
Denatured alcohol is pretty much guaranteed to remove paint from plastic and uPVC. However , it requires a bit of aftercare to prevent it from damageing the plastic or uPVC. Begin with the same preparations as above - respirator, gloves, and a well-ventilated workspace.
Once you've gotten safety preparations out of the way, it's time to actually remove the paint. Begin by applying a liberal amount to the paint with a sponge. Wait a bit, and the paint should wrinkle and bunch up. This is the "go-sign." Once it's wrinkled, you can scrape it rather easily off the surface in question. Be sure to rub down the area with a soft cloth once you're done to remove any remaining bits of paint. Once that's done, wash the surface with hot, soapy water and a non-abrasive cloth or sponge. This will remove any residues and prevent further damage to the surface.
READ NEXT: Can you paint emulsion over gloss?
Removing paint from uPVC can be a stressful process. If done properly, you can prevent any damage to the plastic, but it's not guaranteed. UPVC doors and windows aren't intended to be painted, as they can be died before purchasing to match the colour you want. If you've just painted the surface, acting quickly with warm water and a sponge can get it off rather easily. If, however, the paint has dried, your job becomes harder.
Begin by treating the surface with warm water and a sponge to loosen the paint. Once the paint has loosened, gently scrape it off the surface. If it refuses to come off, use a paint stripper that's safe on uPVC and repeat the scraping process. Beyond paint stripper, you can also use nail polish remover, denatured alcohol, or ammonia. But keep in mind that these chemicals aren't intended for this use, and can damage the surface in the process of removal. Always work in a well-ventilated area with proper protection (respirator and gloves), and you'll be set in no time!
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