What are the tools you need to scrape paint?

  1. Wire Brush
  2. Manual Paint Scraper
  3. Heat Gun
  4. Oscillating Paint Scraper

Paint scraping tools are essential for removing old paint. Each one plays a valuable role in your DIY home renovation endeavor. Painting over loose, peeling, and crumbling paint will result in an unstable base. Removing the old layer is critical so that the new one can better adhere to the surface. It’s possible to use one tool but to sufficiently remove an old exterior paint job, it’s better to have multiple ones at hand. The tools listed below can be used together or as needed to have a smoother and cleaner process.

Wire Brush

A wire brush

This tool may be something you already have at home. The wire brush is a tool used at the last stage of paint removal. It’s perfect for brushing away any remaining residue. This includes missed chips of paint, rust, and small stubborn areas. Raised or blistering paint is also no match for the wire brush.

When using this type of brush, remember to be careful as the abrasive bristles can potentially push existing paint layers deeper into the surface. Gently brushing off any remaining residue with a moderately light hand is key to preventing this. Keep a wire brush on hand at all times when you’re removing old paint. It can help immensely for small areas that need extra attention.

To maintain the brush, make sure to keep it dry. Wet wire brushes will rust if you don’t take care of them properly. Another way you can use your wire brush is to clean other tools such as paint scrapers and putty knives.

Manual Paint Scraper

A man resting after removing wall paint using a scraper

Paint scrapers are one of the most important tools to use when you’re preparing your surface for a fresh layer of paint. Combined with the wire brush, you can easily remove loose and peeling paint from your exterior walls. It’s also both reliable and low-cost. There are different kinds of paint scrapers to choose from, but the most common would be the 3-inch flat scraper. This scraper gives you a firm grip to push into the paint and slowly scrape it away. If you only take one tool from this list, it should be a manual paint scraper.

Heat Gun

Heat gun

Using a heat gun can be the easiest way to scrape off exterior paint. Heat guns project high temperatures to remove the paint down to the bare surface. This tool gets very hot, but it doesn’t produce a flame.

To use the heat gun, start with the low setting and increase the power as needed. Make sure the gun is pointed 5-6 inches away from the surface. Hold the tip of the gun on the spot you want to remove and let it heat up for at least 20 seconds. Do a light waving motion while heating up the area. Don’t leave the gun pointed on one area for too long as it can lead to burning. When putting down the gun, make sure that the tip is facing up. Quickly switch to your paint scraper and push under the paint. Use a forward motion to push and lift off the loose parts.

Take note: heat guns need to be used with caution. It’s not like your trusty blow dryer. The heat produced by the tool can easily make the paint gummy and difficult to remove. Practice caution with this tool to get the best results.

Oscillating Paint Scraper

Oscillating paint scraper removing paint from a wooden wall

Not a common tool, an oscillating paint scraper is a corded multi-tool that moves in rapid circles. The head of the multi-tool can be fitted with various implements. To remove the paint layers, use the blade attachment. However, take note that if you’re not careful, you can end up damaging the surface of your wall. Safety may be an issue so leave this tool to professionals. Another issue could be energy efficiency, so if you want to conserve energy, use another tool.

Oscillating scrapers are much better used for paint that’s already coming up at the edges. You can combine this tool with the heat gun and a putty knife to create an open edge. Once the surface is sufficiently heated, use a putty knife to create an opening. Then, carefully use the oscillating blade to remove the layers.

Key Takeaway

Paint scraping tools are needed to prepare exterior walls for the most professional and clean finish. It can be tempting to paint without preparing the surface but you will be compromising your work. Take the extra step and use the tools listed above to get the best surface for your exterior walls.

(Please note that you can also use these tools for your interior walls.)


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