John Leeke V-log: Steam Paint Removal

In this installment of his Voices of the Past Video-log, John Leeke demonstrates using steam to remove heavy paint build up from wood surfaces. Steam paint removal softens the paint film so it can be more easily scraped away. It works well with the heavy paint buildup commonly found on the exterior of older buildings during house restoration and historic preservation projects.

This method has significant advantages over mechanical scraping and shaving, chemical stripping and the dry-heat of torch, hot-air gun and infra-red lamp methods:

  • Significantly reduces the risk of starting a building fire compared to dry heat methods.
  • Helps control the lead-health risk issue because it is an inherently damp process and eliminates the lead-fume risk.
  • No fumes from heat decomposition of binders in the old paint as with dry heat methods.
  • Relatively low setup cost compared to dry heat and shaver methods.
  • Lower operating and supply costs than chemical paint removal.
  • Lower residue disposal costs than chemical paint removal.


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