One of the oldest yet most reliable methods of removing paint is through the use of a paint scraper.
It takes a little elbow grease and some determination, but the paint scraper can get the job done pretty fast in some specific areas.
Unlike electric paint removal machines, manual paint scrapers can work very well in spaces that are very tight (like corners and crevices) and hard to reach.
However, you must choose the right manual paint scraper for the job and use them correctly.
What follows are a few different types of paint scraper tools that are available.
Also, I will discuss how to use them and what to look for when choosing the most suitable one for your project.
Types of Paint Scrapers
There is a wide selection of manual paint scrapers that can handle different tasks. Be sure to choose one that includes the features that you want.
Some of the most common ones include…
a) 2.5-Inch Paint Scraper
This is a double-edge scraper that looks like a facial razor.
A thin handle supports a wide head that often has replaceable scraper blades available.
Once the old blade becomes dull, put in a new one. You use this tool by pulling it towards you when scraping and not pushing it away.
There is also a heavy-duty 3-inch paint scraper designed to be flat, sharp, and easy to use.
This type of paint scraper looks like a large putty knife and operates in roughly the same fashion.
So, if you want to scrape a larger flat area, a 3-inch tool can be more suitable than a 2.5-inch.
b) Blade Type Paint Scraper
This type of scraper uses replaceable carbide blades that can perform different tasks.
For example, razor-blade scrapers are ideal for removing paint and other items stuck on materials.
Some use metal blades, while others use plastic for delicate surfaces.
Plus, the blade scraper is ideal if you want to apply or remove stickers and decals without damaging the wall surface.
c) Hook Type Paint Scraper
If you have some really stubborn paint, the hook scraper is an excellent tool.
The name comes from the appearance of the scraping blade.
They are not very versatile, but they work quite well when facing difficulty removing paint or several layers of paint that require the surface to be broken up.
d) Multi-Use Paint Scraper Tool
You’ll see several different designations for this type of paint scraper as they can perform different tasks.
Most of these are known to be 5-in-1 Paint Scraper tools, 8-in-1 tools, and 14-in-1 tools.
All of them comprise of easy to grip ergonomic handle along with a rigid carbon steel blade.
Some of the most reliable ones (like Bates and Red Devil) also come with a lifetime warranty. So, you can use them for a very long time without any worries.
You can use these painter’s tools to scrape paint from walls, spread wood filler, open paint cans, clean rollers, chisel wood, and more.
e) Putty Knife Manual Scraper
A good putty knife can also be a good paint scraper, particularly the blunt end.
Using the blunt end of the putty knife is important while paint removal as it will reduce the chances of gouging the surface.
The other end is well suited for applying wood filler or joint compound – usually, it’s what the tool is made for.
Putty knife is primarily available in six sizes (3”, 4”, 5”, 6”, 8”, and 10”), so you can choose the one that is most suitable for the level of scraping and area you need to scrape.
How to Use a Paint Scraper Tool for Walls?
The first step is to have both a sharp and dull scraper to remove paint.
Purchase a whetstone to sharpen the blade on your scraper – you will need to sharper the blades if the project you are working on is significantly large.
Once you have done that, you are ready to go.
- Start with the blunt scraper to remove any loose paint from the surface.
- It’s possible to remove all the paint with a blunt scraper which is desirable since it is less likely to damage the underlying surface.
- However, in some cases, you may have to switch to the sharp scraper. If the paint is still sticking, switch to the sharp scraper.
- Place the sharp end under the raised edge of the paint and push forward. Be careful not to gouge the surface when using the sharp scraper.
- Once you are finished, wash both scrapers and dry them to prevent any corrosion from occurring.
Now you are ready for the next step, which may be sanding to roughen the surface for a new layer of paint or more smoothing.
Use sandpaper grits depending on the paint you are using.
If you are planning on using latex-based paint, use finer sandpaper. If you plan to use oil-based paint, use coarser sandpaper.
Rinse the surface with a damp cloth to remove any residue before beginning to apply the new paint or other finish.
How to Find the Best Paint Scraper for Your Project?
Manual paint scrapers can be found on the cheap.
But as the old saying goes, ‘you only get what you pay for’.
What you want is the best paint scraper for the job at a low, affordable price. So, look for the following factors before you pick one…
Believe it or not, paint scrapers can do more than simply remove paint.
Some paint scraping tools can open paint cans, smooth compounds, and do other tasks that make them useful around the home.
If you have labels and stickers that need to be removed, then a razor-scraper is a good tool to have around.
2- Size & Scale:
Smaller projects require small scraping tools with smaller blades to get the job done.
However, let’s say if you are removing the paint from the exterior walls of your multi-story building with an extensively large surface area, you will need a large blade.
The larger the scraper, the more paint it can remove from the surface fast.
So, consider the size of the scraper compared to the surface area that needs to be covered. Plus, the scale of the job that you are doing.
3- Straight or Curved:
In most cases, a straight scraper is excellent for most jobs that require removing paint and other sticky items from the surface.
However, for delicate work on cabinetry, crown molding, and items that are small and have curved features, then you may want to invest in a curved scraper.
Of course, you may want to have both a straight and curved scraper depending on the job requirements.
You should also consider whether to go with an all-metal or all-plastic scraper.
This will depend on the work surface since removing paint from drywall is different compared to lifting paint from a plastic surface or vehicle.
4- Types of Handles & Materials:
The days of the cheap plastic handle for manual paint scrapers are upon us.
This means that you should consider handles made from metal or wood when buying a good paint chipper tool.
In addition, a rubber-coated handle will make scraping easier, especially on jobs that take a considerable amount of time. Like when scraping the paint off brick walls or metal railing
5- Replacement Parts & Ease of Maintenance:
How easy can you get replacement blades for your paint scraping tool?
If it appears difficult, you should look for another brand of a paint scraper.
Look to see if replacement blades are being sold along with the primary tool.
In addition, can you sharpen the blade of the paint scraper?
This is an important question, as being unable to sharpen the blade means having to purchase more blades.
A whetstone should be purchased along with paint scrapers, which tend to be cheap.
In addition, a wire brush is a good compliment to a paint scraper as it can remove paint as well. You can switch between them to get the best results.
Card Scraper vs. Paint Scraper – Are They Same or Different?
No, they are not the same but two different tools for two different purposes.
While a card scraper is a woodworking tool, a paint scraper is a painting and decorating tool.
Unlike paint scrapers, designed to remove the paint from the surfaces, a card scraper’s purpose is to smooth, shape, and finish the surfaces while woodworking.
Like paint scrapers, card scrapers also come in wide varieties. The most common types include standard, beveled, curved, and cabinet scrapers.
Using card scraper
A card scraper generally consists of a thin piece of steel metal with a sharp edge. This should be held at an angle to the surface you will be working on.
As you push the sharp edge of the card scraper along the surface, it removes the material.
Card scrapers should be cautiously used as the sharp edge can cause serious injury.
Paint scrapers, however, have a much thicker and more blunt blade. This is designed to remove paint, varnish, and different finishes from surfaces without causing any damage.
The Bottom Line
Paint scrapers are one of the essential tools for your home improvement projects.
They can help you remove old paint, varnish, and other finishes from surfaces so that you can start with a clean slate.
But with so many different types and sizes of paint scrapers on the market, it can be hard to know which one is right for your project.
Removing paint even with the best manual paint scraper takes time and effort, but it is generally faster and cleaner than most other methods depending on the surface.
So, check the list of manual paint scrapers I have mentioned above to invest in the right tool, and you will never have to worry about scraping that old peeling paint off your walls, doors, and windows again.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.