Fiberglass paint removal can be quite a challenge. This is partly because fiberglass absorbs paint very well. Properly painted fiberglass items always give a smart visual appearance. However, when you decide to strip paint off fiberglass, you may have to work through several layers of paint. The wrong methods can easily damage your items and leave you with more costly repairs to undertake. A few tips are given below to help you remove the paint safely.
1 - Spot Test
For whichever method you choose, it is best to begin in a small, inconspicuous area of the fiberglass. This helps to contain the damage if the results turn out to be unfavorable. You can then switch to an alternative method. However, if the paint comes off without any complications, it is safe to proceed with the same method for the rest of the fiberglass surface.
2 - Scraping
This is a good option especially if the paint has peeled considerably from the fiberglass. It also works well for smaller surfaces. If you have to scrape paint from a large surface, it can be quite laborious. Use a plastic scraper to remove the paint from the fiberglass. Work slowly as it ensures a more thorough job. Upon completion, use a suitable stain remover for fiberglass surfaces to clear the stains. You could also use baking powder to clear the paint stains. Make a paste of medium consistency with baking powder and water. Rub it over the fiberglass surface with a rag. Once you notice the stains disappear, rinse the surface with plain water then wipe dry.
3 - Paint Stripper
Various fiberglass paint strippers are available on the market. They range from mild to highly potent. Be sure to wear a respirator or recommended protection as the vapors can be toxic. You also need to wear gloves and a long sleeved shirt to protect your skin from irritations or burns. Apply a paint stripper over the fiberglass with a roller or paintbrush and allow it to sit for the stipulated time. Use a plastic scraper to remove the paint once it loosens. Dip a rag in denatured alcohol and wipe away the paint and dirt from the fiberglass. Rinse the fiberglass with plain water. If you opt to use paint strippers, it is best to work in a well ventilated area.
4 - Sanding
This is a good approach when you intend to apply a new coat of paint after removal of the old coat. It also works well if you prefer not to deal with chemicals usually present in fiberglass strippers. However, sanding is more effective on older paint or thinly painted fiberglass surfaces. Use fine grit sandpaper to gently sand the paint off the fiberglass. Begin in a small area first. Once the paint turns to powder and rubs off easily, proceed to sand off the rest of the surface. Patience is the key if you hope to strip the paint off effectively. Once you’re done, dampen a rag with denatured alcohol and wipe away the debris. Rinse the surface with plain water and wipe with a rag. Allow the fiberglass to dry well for 2 to 3 hours before you apply a new coat of paint.