Removing paint from slate

homeownersueDecember 5, 2006

This is cross-posted to the Fireplace forum, since the slate in question is a fireplace surround. I was kind of sloppy (ok, very sloppy) and some paint (interior latex) bled under the tape when I painted the wood trim next to the surround. Any ideas on what would be safe to remove it with? After removal, I am going to use one of those stone color enhancer/washes to "brighten" up the slate, so I think that the finish would blend wherever I need to remove the paint. Someone suggested steel wool but I'm afraid of scratching the surface. I thought of turpentine, but I'm not sure what that would do to slate.

Thanks for any help anyone can give....

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Petroleum based solvents will leave an oily stain on the slate, so avoid them. No turpentine, no paint thinner, no paint strippers. The thinner and turp wouldn't work on latex anyway.

Alcohol will dissolve latex paint and shouldn't leave any stain of its own on the slate, though it might be hard to get the latex off completely with it.

OOPS might work without leaving a stain but I would test it first. Do you have any extra tiles??

If the paint is still pretty fresh, you might be able to get it off with just very hot water and a small, stiff brush (like a firm-bristled toothbrush).

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 6:22PM
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Do you have "Goof Off" where you live. It has saved many messy mistakes for me. I would try it on a spare piece of slate or an area that isn't too noticeabe first to make sure it doesn't leave a grease or residual stain.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 8:00AM
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Thanks for the ideas--these sound good. Unfortunately, no extra slate, but I can try a couple of these solutions in an inconspicuous place. I can see where oily residue would be a problem, especially since I do want to do the "wash" to revive the whole surface when the paint is off.
While this is not recent paint, I may try a little elbow grease and scrubbing--because it is latex-based paint, that might do the trick. And I think a toothbrush would be relatively easy on the surface.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 11:03AM
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I wonder if you could scrape the paint off with a small razor (I'm thinking of the type that come in small plastic holder so that one edge of the blade is exposed). Just a thought; I don't know if it would scratch the slate

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 1:09PM
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Remove as much as you can with mechanical methods (razor blades, scrapers, etc.). You need to be careful with steel tools or you can smear steel o0n the stone and cause rust stains that show up days-weeks-months later. A brass brush works very well.
'Goof Off' is Xylene. Buy a quart can and test it, but it is actually rather pure and normally does not leave any stain. The other solvent that is very effective at removing water based paints is MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone). It also is very pure and will not leave any stain.
You may need to use a solvent and a brass brush to remove paint left in the texture of the stone surface.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 8:04PM
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