How to use Methylene Chloride Strippers to remove Epoxy and Urethane Coatings

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How to use Methylene Chloride Strippers to remove Epoxy and Urethane Coatings

April 18, 2023 Fred Hueston Comments Off

How to use Methylene Chloride Strippers to Remove Epoxy and Urethane Coatings

By Frederick M. Hueston


Methylene chloride strippers are a powerful solvent-based stripper that is commonly used to remove epoxy and urethane coatings from stone surfaces. They are effective but can be hazardous if not handled correctly. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use methylene chloride strippers safely and effectively.

Step 1: Preparation Before starting, ensure that you have all the necessary tools and equipment, including protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a respirator. Also, make sure the work area is well-ventilated, and there are no open flames or sparks. Cover all surrounding surfaces that you don’t want to be stripped with plastic or drop cloths.

Step 2: Application Apply the stripper to the surface that needs to be stripped, using a brush or roller. It’s important to work in small sections to avoid letting the stripper dry before it can work its magic. Apply enough stripper to cover the entire surface but not too much that it drips or runs.

Step 3: Wait Allow the stripper to work according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, the stripper will need to remain on the surface for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the thickness and type of coating you’re removing. During this time, the stripper will begin to soften and dissolve the coating.

Step 4: Remove Using a scraper or steel wool, begin removing the coating. Work in small sections, starting at one end and working your way across the surface. It may be helpful to have a bucket of water nearby to rinse the scraper or steel wool periodically. If there are stubborn areas, reapply the stripper and wait a little longer before scraping.

Step 5: Clean After removing the coating, use a clean cloth or rag to wipe away any remaining residue. If necessary, you can use a solvent such as acetone or denatured alcohol to clean up any stubborn areas. Be sure to follow proper disposal procedures for any solvent-soaked rags or cloths.

Step 6: Rinse Once you’ve removed all the stripper and residue, rinse the surface thoroughly with water to remove any remaining traces of the stripper. Allow the surface to dry completely before applying any new coatings.

Methylene chloride strippers can be very effective at removing coatings, but they can also be dangerous if not used correctly. Always wear protective gear, work in a well-ventilated area, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. If you’re unsure or have any questions, consult with a professional before proceeding.


Methylene Chloride Alternative (Safe) Strippers

Methylene Chloride, also known as Dichloromethane (DCM), is a chemical solvent commonly used in paint strippers, degreasers, and epoxy and urethane removers. However, the use of this chemical has been linked to various health hazards, including cancer, liver damage, and respiratory problems. Due to these risks, many individuals and organizations are calling for alternative strippers that are safer for both workers and the environment.

Fortunately, there are several alternatives to methylene chloride-based strippers. These alternatives range from chemical strippers to mechanical and thermal options, and each has its unique advantages and disadvantages.

Chemical Alternatives

Chemical strippers work by dissolving the resin, allowing it to be removed easily. However, not all chemical strippers are created equal, and some may be just as harmful as methylene chloride.

One alternative is N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), which has been shown to be effective in removing epoxy and urethane but is less harmful than methylene chloride. NMP is also biodegradable and has a lower toxicity profile.

Another alternative is soy-based strippers. Soy-based strippers are made from renewable resources and are biodegradable. They are also effective in removing various resins, although they may take longer to work than traditional chemical strippers.

Mechanical Alternatives

Mechanical alternatives involve using physical force to remove resins, such as scraping or sanding. These methods are generally safer than chemical alternatives, as they do not involve any harmful chemicals. However, they can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

One mechanical alternative is the use of high-pressure water jets. Water jets are effective in removing epoxy and urethane coatings from stone and concrete surfaces, and they do not create any dust or fumes. However, they may not be suitable for all surfaces, and they can be expensive to operate.

Thermal Alternatives

Thermal alternatives involve using heat to remove resin.

One thermal alternative is infrared heating. Infrared heating works by heating the surface of the resin, causing it to expand and break away from the underlying surface. This method is effective in removing resins from stone and masonry surfaces, although it may not be suitable for all types of stone.

Methylene chloride-based strippers have been linked to numerous health hazards, and their use is increasingly being regulated or banned in many countries. Fortunately, there are several alternatives to methylene chloride-based strippers, including chemical, mechanical, and thermal options. When selecting an alternative stripper, it is important to consider factors such as effectiveness, cost, and safety. By choosing a safer alternative, we can protect the health of workers and the environment while still achieving the desired results.