Paint Removal And Repainting Sheet Iron, Steel And Tin-Plate Ceilings
PAINT REMOVAL AND REPAINTING SHEET IRON, STEEL AND TIN-PLATED
THE CLEANING OR STRIPPING OF METALS MAY INVOLVE THE USE OF
ABRASIVES, LIQUIDS OR SOLVENTS WHICH MAY SPLASH OR RUN OFF INTO
ADJACENT MATERIALS. TAKE SPECIAL CARE TO PROTECT ALL ADJACENT
MATERIALS AND DO NOT USE THIS PROCEDURE ON METALS OTHER THAN THOSE
SPECIFIED IN THE SUMMARY.
A. This procedure includes guidance on chemically removing
paint from and painting sheet iron, steel and tin-plated
B. Metal ceilings can be made from either sheet iron or
steel, or tinned steel. Older ceilings are most likely
sheet iron or steel, while modern ceilings are made from
C. Copper is, and was, also used to make metal ceilings but
they are usually left unpainted and as a result will not
be discussed here.
D. Many of the white metals popular in the 1920s and 30s
were also sometimes used to create highly decorative
ceilings. Like copper, these were left unpainted and so
shall not be included here such as nickel silver and monel.
E. One of the main reasons for the paint failure is
moisture. Before work is begun on removing the existing
paint film or otherwise preparing the surface all sources
of excess moisture shall be determined and repairs
completed as required.
F. An archives of the paint history of the building is to be
maintained. This is to include any paint samples taken
during research, samples of the new paint colors and the
manufacturer's technical information.
G. Safety Precautions:
1. Paint being removed most likely will contain lead.
All workers must wear protective clothing
(including hair), goggles and respirators with
2. No food or drink shall be allowed near any work
station so as to prevent contamination from paint,
paint chips, dust or chemical removers which
contain lead and other toxic substances.
3. Protective clothing shall be removed at the end of
each day and kept at the site to prevent workers
from tracking dust and paint chips to other parts
of the site or to their homes.
4. Wash hands and face often, especially before eating
and at the end of the day.
5. All waste material shall be collected at the end of
each work day and disposed of in a manner
consistent with local environmental regulations.
It is considered Hazardous Waste.
H. See 01100-07-S for general project guidelines to be
reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines
cover the following sections:
1. Safety Precautions
2. Historic Structures Precautions
4. Quality Assurance
5. Delivery, Storage and Handling
6. Project/Site Conditions
7. Sequencing and Scheduling
8. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)
These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing
this procedure and should be followed, when applicable,
along with recommendations from the Regional Historic
Preservation Officer (RHPO).
1.02 SYSTEM DESCRIPTION
A. The primary purpose of paint is to protect the metal from
deterioration. To do so, paint manufacturers have
developed paint systems which are made to work together
to protect the metal substrate. These systems include
primers and appropriate, compatible top coats which can
vary depending on the substrate and can vary between
manufacturers. As a result appropriate primers and
compatible top coats, both from the same manufacturer
should be used.
B. A paint film is in good condition when it is clean and
free of any peeling, cracking or rusted areas. It also
retains its color and gloss.
A. For Chemical Paint Removers:
1. Savogran Company
2. Zip-Strip Products
B. For Fumed Silica:
1. Evonik (Aerosil)
2. Cabot,Corporation (Cab-o-sil)
3. Wacker Chemie-Dow Corning
4. OCI (Konasil)
NOTE: Chemical products are sometimes sold under a common
name. This usually means that the substance is not as pure as
the same chemical sold under its chemical name. The grade of
purity of common name substances, however, is usually adequate
for stain removal work, and these products should be purchased
when available, as they tend to be less expensive. Common
names are indicated below by an asterisk (*).
A. Semi-paste, water rinsing, nonbenzol chemical paint
remover such as "Strypeeze Semi-paste" (Savogran Co.), or
1. Available from hardware store and paint store.
2. Characteristic orange color.
3. Will work on both latex and oil-based paints,
lacquers and varnishes.
4. Cling well to round or vertical surfaces.
5. Form an anti-evaporative film as they dry.
6. Clean-up by either washing or scraping off.
7. All traces must be removed and a neutral pH
achieved before repainting.
Non-flammable, heavy bodied, methylene-chloride based
paint removers such as "Zip-Strip" (LastnLast), or methylene chloride-free
product such as "Zip-Strip Premium Green", or approved equal:
1. Available from hardware store or paint store.
2. Good for interior use because they are non-flammable.
3. Will soften oil-based paints, lacquers, varnish and
synthetic baked finishes.
4. Will cling well to vertical and irregular surfaces.
B. Cornstarch or fumed silica to thicken chemicals so they
will adhere to ceilings.
1. Fumed silica such as "Cab-o-sil" (Cabot Corp. or from other
manufacturers noted above) is also used as a filler in epoxy repairs.
2. Available from grocery store.
C. Mineral Spirits:
1. A petroleum distillate that is used especially as a
paint or varnish thinner.
2. Other chemical or common names include Benzine*
(not Benzene); Naphtha*; Petroleum spirits*;
3. Potential Hazards: TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.
4. Safety Precautions:
a. AVOID REPEATED OR PROLONGED SKIN CONTACT.
b. ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when handling
c. If any chemical is splashed onto the skin,
wash immediately with soap and water.
5. Available from construction specialties
distributor, hardware store, paint store, or
printer's supply distributor.
D. Denatured Alcohol:
1. Other chemical or common names include Methylated
2. Potential hazards: TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.
3. Available from hardware store, paint store or
printer's supply distributor.
4. Denatured alcohol should be a satisfactory
substitute for ethyl alcohol for stain removing
1. Used to test pH of a surface after stripping with
chemicals or any alkaline product.
2. Available from chemical supply house or drug store.
F. Chemical rust remover such as "Naval Jelly", or approved
CAUTION: DO NOT USE HYDROCHLORIC ACID BASED PRODUCTS.
G. Zinc-rich oil-based primer such as zinc chromate or red
iron oxide-linseed oil paint:
1. Good for use on partially deteriorated surfaces
such as old ceilings.
2. Provides protection where moderately corrosive
Modern alkyd paint:
1. Should only be applied to clean, non-corroded
2. Provides protection where there are only mildly
corrosive conditions, and where normal humidity and
condensation ranges exist, i.e. a residential or
NOTE: Consult the paint manufacturer for appropriate
choice for use on metal.
H. Oil-based Top Coats:
1. Any oil-based top coat, made to be used with the
primer, may be applied as the top coats.
2. Use paint from the same manufacturer for both prime
and top coats, and make sure they are made to work
I. Latex caulk
J. Plastic sheeting
K. Clean, potable water
A. Wire brushes (various sizes and shapes)
B. Duct tape
C. Steel wool, scrapers and small picks to remove sludge
D. Metal containers such as old coffee cans to dispose of
E. Natural bristle paint brushes
NOTE: Condition new brushes by soaking in raw linseed
oil for 24 hours before using.
1. Work area shall be sealed to prevent the spread of
paint dust and debris beyond the work site.
2. After paint removal is complete, all areas around
the site shall be cleaned of all paint dust and
debris, and such debris shall be properly disposed
of in a manner consistent with local environmental
3. Protect adjacent surfaces with paper, drop cloths
and other means. Items not to be painted which are
in contact with or adjacent to painted surfaces
shall be removed or protected prior to surface
preparation and painting operations.
3.02 ERECTION, INSTALLATION AND APPLICATION
A. Remove all loose paint and rust with wire brushes.
B. Remove remaining paint using the thickest chemical paint
remover available. Add cornstarch to thicken it further
so that it will cling to the ceiling surface. Work in
small areas at a time to provide maximum control over
dwell time and removal.
C. Cover with plastic and allow to remain on the ceiling as
per manufacturer's instructions. Remove sludge with
D. Rinse thoroughly with mineral spirits and fine steel
E. If areas of rust still remain, use a chemical rust
remover to remove the last traces, or as much of the rust
as is possible.
F. After removal has been completed, rub all surfaces down
with mineral spirits to remove all traces of dust and
1. To test whether all chemicals have been removed
dissolve a 2" piece of phenolphthalein in denatured
2. Brush the solution onto the surface. If it turns a
shade from pink to magenta there is still chemical
3. Treat the surface with additional mineral spirits
and continue testing until there is no color change
in the phenolphthalein solution.
G. Prime immediately to prevent rust and paint. Use a brush
for complete, even coverage.
H. Fill any open joints with a paintable latex caulk.
I. Brush apply two top coats of the selected paints to
insure adequate protection of the metal.
NOTE: DO NOT USE LATEX-BASED PAINTS AS THE WATER VEHICLE
WILL CAUSE THE METAL TO RUST.
END OF SECTION