Paint Removal from Glazed Surfaces

Practical guidance on simple conservation issues.

The  information on these pages is for guidance only  we do not accept responsibility as a result of  any person carrying out  any  works  according to the advice contained in this web site. Always follow Health and Safety measured described on products, tools and materials. Jackfield Conservation Studio and TACS are not responsible for the work which you do, the responsibility is yours and yours alone!

Paint removal from glazed surfaces

Paint removal from tile or glazed surfaces is a relatively straight forward process.

‘Nitromors’  green label, water soluble paint stripper is recognised as  reliable for conservation use.   However it does have Health and Safety implications for its use in confined areas.   Adequate ventilation or air extraction  should be provided, or the correct breather masks should always be used.

‘Safe Paint and Varnish Remover’ is a non chlorinated paint stripper which is now available from conservation suppliers.

Once the paint coating has softened after the application of paint stripper, plastic spatula  tools only should  be used to scrape away the paint.

Under no circumstances should wire wool, wire brushes or metal scrapers be used as they will inevitably scratch or scour the glazed surface of the tile and permanently damage the glaze.

Paint may be left behind in the grout lines.  Further applications of  paint stripper should be applied, then the  grout lines may be brushed out with a nylon or bristle scrubbing brush.

The tiles should be thoroughly washed down with clean water after all of the paint has been removed.

If adequate ventilation is unavailable, or the paint stripping is to take  place in a confined or public area,  ‘Langlow’s Peel Away’ is an effective and safe substitute for ‘Nitromors’.  It is also water based and gives off no toxic fumes.   However it is an alkaline substance based on Sodium Hydroxide.  Therefore careful and thorough neutralisation, using acetic acid, of the tile work must take place after paint removal to prevent an alkaline residue forming on the surface of the tiles when dry.

Copyright: Lesley Durbin Jackfield Conservation Studio Nov 2014.