Review: the Silent Paint Remover

Category: Vendors

"Except for our cries of "ooh" and "ahh", it WAS silent!" - J

Yesterday, AJ and L came over to grill and help with the house. And we tried out...


I know this is a moment that many have been waiting for. "Will it work?" "Will it cause their house to explode into flame??"

We found out about it on the "This Old House" website. And wanted to try it because we have to strip the ENTIRE exterior of our house and garage, as well as floor tile glue from wood floors, paint from trim and wallpaper from walls.


We immediately broke some cardinal renovation, LEARN FROM THIS:

1) Read the packet of instructions that come with new equipment (we just read the ones on the side of the box.)

2) Use a face mask whenever using chemicals or things that mess with chemicals indoors.

3) Ventilate workspace properly.

4) Use a VERY GOOD, professional paint scraper...the kind that pulls towards you and that you can get at a quality paint store.

We used an old, small, dull scraper that we found on the workbench at the new house and a thin, wide spatula best used for applying spackle.

But...having set up these adverse conditions...(click on a picture = LARGER)

We started out with two pieces of wood found in the house. One seemed to be a piece of painted trim that had been removed. We don't know what the other one was was a painted board with stain underneath.

AJ did try the "just small old paint scraper" technique on the big board. He actually got some off. It was brittle paint. This didn't work at ALL on the small trim board.

What to do, L? What to do?

Would the Silent Paint Remover do a better job?

A fires up the Silent Paint Remover. After a few different ways to hold it against the board, we decided that with the length going WITH the grain of the wood and for no more than 9-12 seconds was best for this paint on this wood. (It will vary with types of materials and thicknesses of go slow at first.)

Whoo hoo! Look at AJ go! And this is with the THIN SPATULA THINGY. We also found that getting the most paint off WHILE it was still warm was best. And the spatula had the wider blade even though it was as dull as a blade of grass. Don't allow the paint to heat and cool many times.

It comes off dripping. No noxious liquid stripping fumes. No incredibly unbearable heat. Just a slow, steady heat...nothing you'd want to get too close to your arm, but it isn't going to start a brush fire either.

"My hero," AJ is thinking as A tries the trim board with the obnoxiously hard paint.

Wow! Look at 'er go! And if you are careful, the paint comes off but the original stain can stay intact! Or, you can keep going to pull out the stain but it takes some more time. The Silent Paint Remover website recommends a special technique for removing stain that involves linseed oil...check it out if that is what you want to do.

That was lovely stain before they painted over it.

TWENTY MINUTES later, we are ready for the second challenge....

Previous owners had laid 12 inch tile over the hardwood floors with some terrible black glue. YUCK! They tried pulling some of it up and then just abandoned the project.

Will the tile come up pretty easily with the Silent Paint Remover?

Voila! J shows us the newly pulled tile...BUT WAIT!

Using the spatula thingy, it pulled up pretty easily without the Silent Paint Remover too.

How about the glue left on the floor though?

Argh. "Glue = 10" "J with spatula = 0" No luck.

NOW! With the Silent Paint Remover...

Ahh! MUCH better.

Ummmmm. MUCH MUCH better! Zoooooommmmmmm.....

Make sure you get those shavings out of the way as you work though. Leave them around and they may burn and harden. Try not to touch these, as I am doing here. This is a DON'T picture. After all, it might be toxic. Nice, eh?

So, the Silent Paint Remover gets the THUMBS UP from us. We don't have any curved or decorative moldings to strip...can't speak to those. We DO have wallpaper and paint over plaster...we can post the results of that experiment when we carry it out.

And now...a note from our lawyers:

The folks running this site are not affiliated with any company which makes or markets the Silent Paint Remover except as paying customers. They do not endorse using or not using the product...they know you are very smart and will make up your own mind as to what is best for your situation. Read and follow the directions that come with the product carefully...this site is not meant as a substitute for those instructions. Use care and proper toxic waste removal guidelines whenever handling dangerous chemicals or materials. Don't poke yourself in the eye either, please, because that is pain-FUL!

Looking for More?

House in Progress Search for more on 'Silent Paint Remover' on this site. Search for 'Silent Paint Remover' on on other houseblogs like this one.
Google Search for 'Silent Paint Remover' on Google. Search for 'Silent Paint Remover' on


Wow! I really wished I had had one of those thingies when I needed one. I too had had inexplicable midcentury renovations that needed undoing, which included vinyl tile affixed to perfectly good wood floors with black goop. I tried to do it myself with a scraper, no luck! I eventually had a professional floor refinisher come in and remove the rest of the vinyl tile and goop, and sand and revarnish the floors.

Other times, you can remove flooring by yourself...especially when it's already coming off. I renovated an enclosed back porch in my house where there was sheet vinyl over a plywood subfloor. Most of whatever had stuck the flooring to the subfloor was long gone, and the whole of it came up in big, brittle sheets. I actually refloored it in industrial vinyl tile -- this is the stuff you see on the floor in the hospital. Turns out they make it in a gazillion colors. Because it's very easy to cut, you can make nice patterns, too. Not formal enough for many living areas, but nice enough for my "adult playroom." Easy to clean, too.

Here is a before & after:
Before: here

I just like the idea of the adults finally getting their own playroom!! I wasn't keen on giving mine was cool.

If you LOVE linoleum, that can be cut and mixed and matched into patterns and even original artwork.

I worked so hard cleaning that icky tile.....
and now it is gone!!!YIPPEE YIPPEE A

Wow !

Works great.

You'll be busy but it will be easier.

Love ya, DAD

Ok, now its November, are you still enamored with the SPR? We have wainscoating in our kitchen with about 150 layers of paint in 100 shades of yellow in addition to all the window and door casings throughout our the entire 105 year old house and we're considering this tool. Big heapa-lotta money, want to get lots of reassurances that its worth it.
p.s. that industrial grade vinyl composition tile really rocks, I'll bet the SPR would do a great job of warming it up to bend around coved bases and stuff like that

Although the Silent Paint Remover indeed DOES work -- a BIG note of caution: some earlier models of the SPR may in fact overheat and melt with constant use (read: large projects).

We used one SPR, it melted, and we returned it to the manufacturer (Viking) for a second model. When we called the manufacturer, it admitted that it was aware of the problem and was trying to correct it. Unfortunately, although the second SPR seemed to hold up better than the first, Viking charged us for both of the units and would not refund our money for the problem unit.

So, although the SPR may in fact work, Viking probabably could stand to work on its customer service in order to keep intact its client base.


That's so strange...we haven't had any experiences like that with Soren. It was pleasant all the way around and this was before we had the website. Sorry you had a bad experience...


Are you still loving the Silent Paint Remover? I ask because we're looking at purchasing one to use on the exterior of our 1913 Colonial Revival which is coated in many layers of lead paint. Any tips or advice you have would be welcome.


Thank you for coming by our site! Yes, we are still loving it. We have had a very good experience...we haven't worked outside with it yet but I spent a few hours stripping the wood around the windows in our upstairs bedroom.

It has been easy for us to use. We have flat wood panels, we practiced on a few pieces of wood and that definitely helped us to understand how to use it, the paint is overtop of a lacquered and stained wood surface. For more ornate wood trim, I might suggest Peel Away. It is easier and faster for two people to work with the SPR than one. After you pull the heat off, the paint cools pretty quickly ( doesn't heat up to the heat levels of a heat gun). You have to be right there with the paint removal tool immediately and it comes right off. If you heat the same painted surface too many times without removing the paint, it "bakes" the paint and makes it harder to remove later.

We'd like to "save the stain" underneath and the SPR has helped us to do that. To remove the old lacquer, I will probably try a soft cloth and some mineral spirits. Then I will be working with the original stain and can treat it as I choose. The SPR will get stain if you use an application of linseed oil with it. We have not tried this as we don't want to remove the stain!

I made the decision between the SPR based on cost and disposal of the waste. I counted up the number of gallons of Peel Away I would need and compared that to the cost of the SPR. That decided everything right there, actually.

I still use a ventilation mask when working with lead paint and an exhaust fan indoors. Better to be safe.

I change my clothes and wash off as close to the work area as possible after working with lead paint. I then bag the clothes and wash them separately from other laundry.

When you reapply color to your colonial (congrats on the house, by the way!), you can choose to repaint it OR to stain it. They sell colored stains now that are very paint. The advantage is that you don't have to strip it when the color just stain over it again.

Sherwin Williams Stain

We will be using an opaque stain versus paint on the exterior after we strip it. I'm not eager to strip again in even 5-6 years :).

Best of luck and keep us updated as to your progress.

p.s. Have you chosen your colors yet? Do you have any photographs? I love looking at this stuff...obviously.

I will be painting my entire house this spring and bought a SPR last fall. Tried it on one wall so I could use it to test colors.

Worked wonderfully and as advertised. I did opt to sand the wood to get it really nice after scraper gouges and little paint remnants, but it wasn't essential.

Now, bulb life... The bulb life is advertized to be extensive and I don't doubt it. But, if you drop it, they break! Of course, I speak from experience, but only one of them broke and even broken, it continued to heat and work. So, handle with care. I am going to buy a $37.50 replacement bulb, but I'll be much more careful going forward.

I am the west coast distributor of the SPR and if you have lead paint under other layers of oil or latex paint then disposal of the lead paint is quite easy. In most states they allow for disposal of such "encapsulated" lead paint to be via normal trash disposal as long as the paint is dry and hard. You need to check with your local government. As far as the SPR emitting lead gases from the heating process, if you follow the proper use of the unit then the chances are very very small. The SPR works by heating the substrate and the paint to break the bond of the paint. Heating with the SPR for no more than 20 to 30 seconds will keep the heated surface in the 400 to 500 degree range, which is well below the 745 degrees required to release the gas from lead paint. Always remove paint when it is hot and only try and remove the amount of paint that comes off easily. Trying to extend the paint removal effort beyond this point only leads to
dry scraping and thus creating the possibility of lead dust. It is much easier to allow the area previously heated time to cool then coming back and reheating the area for 10 to 15 seconds to remove the rest of the paint. This method actually
makes the process easier because you exert a lot less energy and therfore become less tired. If you
would like more information about methods for easy paint removal you can visit my web site or the importers web site at Also, on the problems with the earlier SPR's melting problems the standard policy is to repair the units with new udated parts free of charge. They do have a one year warranty but I repair any of the earlier units I have sold if the problem is one of the two manufacturing defects and as long as the units do not show physical abuse or neglect.

I'm searching for a way to remove paint from exterior brick. The previous owner painted the brick portion of the house red. I'm considering trying to remove the paint with an SPR ... thinking that the brick doesn't have to come completely clean since it's an orangish textured brick ... and any red flakes remaining MAY make it look like a more speckled brick with more color variation.

Has anyone tried this on exterior brick? If not, any thoughts? If the SPR is not an option, should I paint over the brick or try another removal option? I'm in the process of pressure washing my house ... and the paint on the brick does come off a little in some areas ... the bottom foot or so also had paint on the morter and that comes off completely. Oh, only the front lower half of the house (a sixties split level) is brick - so that should give you an idea of the area I have to deal with.

Any ideas or experiences(types of paint, stripping options, etc.) would be appreciated.



We haven't tried the SPR on brick but the F.A.Q. on the distributor's website reads as follows:

What about brick, marble and concrete surfaces?

Although this tool is primary designed for paint removal on painted wood surfaces it may work on marble, smooth brick and concrete surfaces. Infrared heat, heats the mass of the material behind the paint. Marble, brick and concrete will require a much longer heating time. It will also take longer time scraping off the paint on these surfaces. Scrapers will become dull relatively quickly. Areas hard to reach with a scraper will also be difficult. This is not an ideal tool for this type of application but can be somewhat helpful. There are so many applications for this tool that we have not yet tested. I suggest to try a rental and find out if your specific application work with this tool.

You might want to hop onto a site such as American Bungalow Magazine Forum and ask this question. I know that many good folks over there have tried various methods to remove paint from brick. Best of luck...let us know what worked!

I have 135 year old fir plank floors with lead paint on them. I also have 2 kids, ages 7 and 9. If I open all the windows during the work time, keep the kids out of the house as I do it, use a properly rated mask and remove the debris completely, using a high efficieny hepa vac, and finish with a scrub of TSP solution, do I have all my bases covered?

Have you guys tried the Silent Paint Remover on plaster yet? I have a bathroom that I want to take down to bare plaster due to major peeling problems. --chris

Chris - We have not tried the Silent Paint Remover on plaster. I imagine it would work without causing damage, though...the plaster's hold on its backing isn't related to heat, but rather 'keys' that form through slats in the lathe or wire mesh. I hope you find a better source and don't just take our word for it, though! ;-) Let us know how it goes!

We have painted wall paper over plaster which is VERY stubborn to remove! Can the silent paint remover be used for this project?

We haven't used it for that application Heather, so I'm not sure. Before I had the SPR, I had some "okay" success with a wallpaper "steamer" I rented from my local paint store.

Meanwhile, either the folks at Silent Paint Remover or Air Nailers might be able to answer your question.

We are looking at getting an SPR to remove 5+ layers of paint off of our 1930's farm house. We're in Oregon, and I see that there is a west coast distributer-- do you have the web-site address of this distributer? I can't seem to locate "Mt. Tacoma Enterprises" on line. Thanks for all the great info on usage of the SPR-- makes me feel better about my decision to spend such a chunk of money!

I bought an SPR, based partly on the positive review here. I have a house built in 1909 - it's a kind of Craftsman/Foursquare hybrid - I think the builder borrowed ideas from both styles. I wanted to try stripping the multiple layers of paint off the door and window trim downstairs. My first thought was to remove the trim and do the stripping outdoors. So I pulled off the trim around one door and discovered that (as was apparently common) the plaster isn't really finished behind the trim - and it cracked and broke and crumbled as I removed the trim.
So I had to repair that as well as refinish the trim.

So my next thought is to try to strip the trim around the next window while leaving it installed. I'm concerned, though, that I will have unsatisfactory results that way as well since I wont be able to get into the corners, etc.

My question: have you stripped door/window trim, and if so, did you leave it attached to the wall, or did you remove it?

Actually, we have done it both ways. I like taking the trim off. Besides having a horizontal stripping surface, you can get into those little corners a bit easier. (also easier on the arms.) And if you need to use a dab of chemical stripper in the littlest cracks or corners, you can.

I did learn a trick though for removing trim which I will share in the next installment. Thanks for reminding me! Hopefully, that will help to do the trick.

All of the best...


I'm interested in buying an SPR. What are the options? It is listed at $435 by Eco Strip. Is there another brand or source? Any better prices? Any other advice on buying or using?

It's great to see so many people experiencing the same problems as me! Thanks for all you input. My house is 124 years old. It's brick but their is some peeling paint that needs to be removed (near the roof's edge). I tried a test patch of peel away on a window sill but it seemed to take the wood with it! Will the SPR work without damaging the wood?

Yikes! sounds like you have (and I hate to tell you this) some rotton wood. Wood that has been damaged by water or insects or both. Peel Away couldn't have broken the wood unless the wood was already "broke", so to speak. No paint remover can safely remove paint from rotten wood (that I know of).

Here is what I might do, if I were you, to test the extent of the damage. If you push the wood with your finger, does it "give way" under the paint? Or feel spongey? That is a dead give away. Even if it doesn't, take a blunt screwdriver, get your nerve up and push it into the wood where it won't show. If the screwdriver goes into the wood easily, well, that is bad wood. If the damage is in a few, shallow patches (small patches), then you can try to scrape out the bad wood until you get to the "good wood" and repair it with a special epoxy filler (though I have not used this use at your own peril! Or get professional advice.) If the damage has been done to the eaves of the roof, you have gravity working against you. Not only for repairs but for what eaves need to water away from the house and keep snow and ice from sliding down the roof and then down the exterior walls of the house. If the rot is substantial, well...replacing those eaves or having someone repair them with new wood is the safest bet.

Here are a few photos of wood rot on the eaves...

ihad a small grease fire and would like to do repairs myself. lol. but i have a couple of questions.
1. my cabinets over the stove are blackk. do i need to refinish or can i clean them? if cleaning is possible, what equiptment do i need?
2. while i am repainting, there are several areas on wood trim where old paint was not wiped off. How can i get this off without taking trim down?

Has anyone tried this device on rough cut wood beams? Seems everything we have tried softens the paint but as it doesn't lift the paint, most of our efforts are in trying to get the soft paint out of the thin grooves.

Will a SPR do any better?

Wow, Martin. I can't think of anything to get paint out of rough hewn wood beams. That sounds very frustrating.

Any paint remover will only soften the paint, you would still have to scrap it out of each small groove with some kind of tool. And that sounds like a very long project.

Sanding the wood down (and paint off) would change the look of the beams. I'm so sorry that I can't think of anything. Maybe this a question to put to the professionals at Fine HomeBuilding...


Email this Entry to a Friend

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

a neighborhood of home improvement blogs

Cabinet Refacing
Cabinet Refacing:
Face Your Kitchen | Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing