Remove Paint from Block Wall


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Old 04-24-07, 07:35 PM
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Remove Paint from Block Wall

I just bought an apartment building where the ground level floor is about 4 feet in the ground and 4 feet out. The common area stairs/hallways are block and the white-ish paint has getting spots of brown, spots of black, and the paint is crumbling off. It looks hideous.

I'm fairly sure it's because water vapor and such is getting thru.

I want to remove the old paint to drylock it, so what do I use to get the old paint off. This is going to be a big job.

Also, does anyone recommend something different to get this block looking good?

Thanks in advance! -Tony
 
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Old 04-24-07, 07:56 PM
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Peeling paint on interior of block wall is usually an indication of moisture through the wall from outside. Addressing interior surfaces without addressing the exterior moisture issues, will prove to be a waste of time. Address exterior issues first before tackling interior walls, as moisture will continue to pass through walls and spall paint off interior surfaces.

Masonry sealers like Dryloc can not be applied over painted masonry.
Scraping, sanding, sandblasting to remove paint from block walls is a lot of work and very time consuming. Pressure washer and chemical stripping are other options, but they are also messy and time consuming. Latex paint can usually be removed more successfully than oil-based paint. If oil-based paint was used, it may not be possible to restore block to original condition for sealing.

In such instances, repainting is recommended. You can prime with an alkali-resistant primer to create good adhesion and then an acrylic topcoat/masonry coating can be used.
 
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Old 04-24-07, 09:19 PM
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Thanks ...at the store, how would I identify an "alkali-resistant primer?"

Also, it never gets damp in there; I'm assuming it's water vapor working on the paint over time. I don't know what one could do more than make sure the gutters are working correctly (the grading is good there). There is no obvious problem.

I was thinking of stripper but I've never done it before and I imagine getting paint out of porous block is going to be impossible outside of blasting. But this is indoors with carpeting.

I plan on owning the apartent for about 6 years, so maybe I'll just paint once per year if I don't figure out a way to get the paint off. -Tony
 
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Old 04-25-07, 04:56 AM
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If air in area is not conditioned, high humidity can cause problems with paint. Most often on masonry walls moisture and vapor emissions through masonry cause paint to peel. What is on the exterior of the walls?

Check at your local paint store for alkali reistant primers for interior masonry walls. Sherwin Williams has one called PrepRite Interior Masonry Primer. Your local paint store can advise you on this project. Read and follow all label directions for surface prep and application.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 06:16 AM
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Thank you Twelve!

Here's a photo of the exterior.

http://www.tonytonini.com/ext.jpg

The green area on the brick was created from the gutter leaking during rains. I bought the building in December and had corrected that problem within the first month.

But what baffles me is that in the hallway area on the ground floor, the worst part of the wall is adjacent to the steps! I whould think that the wall ajdacent to the steps would be protected the MOST since the concrete steps are protecting it from any water when it rains.

Thanks for your help. I am fairly confident that if I just paint, it'll be good for a long time.

Do you think chemical stripper would be my best bet? I am dreading the time needing to be spent on this project, so I'm also thinking of just scraping and painting.

-Tony
 
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Old 04-25-07, 06:24 AM
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Do you have a pic of the interior block wall?

Unless you have an ongoing moisture problem, cleaning, priming and painting should be sufficent. I second going to a real paint store [not big box dept] Not only do they have better coatings, they are also aware of local bldg practices. They can best advise you as to which of their products [and needed prep] is best for your job.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 06:35 AM
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You need to seal the gap between the concrete steps and the building to prevent water penetration. Also seal around the concrete threshold. Use an exterior flexible silicone caulk.

That short run of gutter on the side of the entry looks too small to carry the run off from the roof. During heavy rain, the short gutter will likely overflow and send water shooting down over gutter, down the wall, and to the foundation. Thus, the staining in the area of the meters. The gutter extension lying on top the ground not only looks unsightly but will not carry water far enough away from structure. If in a cold climate, the water will freeze on the sidewalk in front of the steps and create a safety hazard. Downspouts should be tied into drains that take water to the storm sewer or a french well. I'd explore different gutter and downspout options with a gutter pro in order to prevent directing so much water into the area of the entry. Too, you might want to consider an awning over the entry to provide protection from rain. Also make sure that soil in area around the entry and along foundation slopes away from the structure.

I'd go with scraping and sanding peeling paint to prep for the primer and then paint. Do the same for the entry steps, but use exterior grade products. Your local paint store can be of great assistance.

Stains on brick will likely come off with TSP (trisodium phosphate) or oxygenating cleaner. Wet brick, spray on with garden sprayer, let set, scrub with brush, hose off to rinse. Repeat if necessary. Pressure washer can also be used and also might be good for removing peeling paint on steps.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 01:00 PM
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Thanks again Guys,

I painted the front steps in December ...this is an old photo.

I think I do want to inspect the steps for cracks and such for water infultration.

As I mentioned, I fixed the gutter problem that has caused the current stains on the interior wall, I'm just looking for the best way to do it so if more moisture somehow gets in in the future, It'll have a fighting chance.

I will be purchasing a power washer. I cleaned brick once before with a power washer and it did a really great job. I've always thought of using deck cleaner on brick with the power washer since there are light chemicals in it to kill the green mildew/mold, or whatever it is.

Thanks for the great advice ...this forum really is high quality.

-Tony

P.S. I do not have an interior photo, but can have one by tomorrow if you think it would help.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 06:37 PM
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It would be a little easier to give advice about painting the interior block wall if we could see it but I think you will be ok.
 
 

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