How to Use Propane Torch to Remove Paint?

using propane torch to remove paint

There are a lot of ways that you can remove paint. Some ways are better than others.

One extreme way to remove paint is by using a propane torch.

As the flame comes out of the torch, the intense heat causes the paint to soften.

Then you can easily scrape away the paint.

However, an important thing to note here is that the heat also softens the surface underneath the paint as well.

And if the surface is made from flammable material, such as wood, then a fire could easily break out.

That is why it is better only to use a torch for paint removal if the material underneath the surface is nonflammable.

Painted metal (that you intend to remove paint from) is the best material to have underneath your paint because it can withstand intense flames.

How to Use A Torch for Removing Old Paint Off?

If you’re ready to get started, then gather the necessary tools and materials.

They include the torch, wire brush, paint scraper, medium-grit sandpaper, and lacquer thinner.

Below are the six steps for using a propane torch to remove paint from a nonflammable surface safely.

Step # 1

Light the torch. Maintain a distance of at least six inches from the metal plate or pipe surface.

Gently move the flame around the pipe area or along the surface continuously.

Do not keep the flame in one area because it could cause overheating.

Step # 2

Once you see the paint blister, turn off the flame.

Take the scraper tool and scrape away the paint that has now softened. You must be quick because the paint will turn hard fast.

Step # 3

Heat a different area of the surface once you’ve scraped off the paint from the first area.

Keep repeating this pattern until you get to the other end of the surface.

Step # 4

If you’ve scraped away all the paint possible, then go back to the beginning again.

If any area of the surface has paint remaining, then apply the torch to heat it again.

Repeat the process by softening the paint and scraping it away until there is no paint left anywhere.

Use a wire brush if some of the paint does not scrape off with the other tool.

Step # 5

Wait a couple of minutes for the surface to cool down.

Take the wire brush and soak its bristles into the lacquer thinner solvent. Use the bristles to brush off the residue that remains.

Be careful of the solvents because they are flammable.

That is why the surface must be cool before you start applying the brush and lacquer.

Step # 6

Grab your medium-grit sandpaper and sand the surface manually. Any residue that still remains should get taken off easily by the sandpaper.

If the paint gets removed completely, then you can start painting the surface.


Whenever you’re using a torch with wood or other flammable materials, it is best to do the work outside with a hose nearby.

That way, if anything catches on fire, you can run to the hose and extinguish the fire by spraying it with water. 

Check with your local fire authorities to see if you need a permit to do this kind of work in your area.

There might be laws against civilians using torches to remove paint from flammable material, especially if it might have lead in it.

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