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Need to strip paint from copper gutters

Q. Hello

Q. I am a painting contractor and starting to work on a renovation of a large house built in the 1930's in California .
My question is with regards to stripping many layers of paint off of copper gutters. The gutters around the entire two story house are fitted up next to wood for approx. a 1-1/2 ft. flat eave. The gutters are painted and seem to be, as far as the copper goes, in good shape. No leaking .

The strippers in the various paint stores I have familiarity with over the years, but any info of more sophisticated and maybe easier, i.e., brush-on / hose-off systems would be greatly appreciated .

Thank you .

idris hepp
painting contractor - Santa Barbara Ca

Q. I am a homeowner, and, I likewise have copper gutters that are painted. Much of the paint is already flaking, on the other hand, a lot of the paint seems to be adhering quite tightly. I, too, would like some information on how to get the paint off. The Painter does not seem to know much about this type of work, or, perhaps, the thought of it is too time consuming for him. I don't know. But I would love to restore the copper. The Painter feels that it should be painted over. It has not been painted for 25 years, so, that gives you an idea of how much flaking there is. Do you have any advice for me? The Painter has already begun his work, so, I will be anxiously awaiting your response.

Poly [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Cincinnati, Ohio

Q. I am stripping paint off the copper hood over my front door. I want it to have that beautiful green tint I often see on old copper gutters. Is there a way to go about achieving this rather that waiting for it to occur naturally? Also, does the copper need to be shiny first in order to achieve the green tint?

Carol Crudden
- St. Louis, Missouri

Q. I eagerly await anyone's reply to these various questions. My old house has a copper awning over the front door plus copper roofs over each of the two front bay windows. Previous owners painted them; much of the paint is flaking off, but the primer seems well-stuck. I'd like to get down to the bare copper.

I tried two brands of chemical stripper but neither worked very well -- the primer didn't bubble; the paint did but then it was already flaking. Only thing that has worked semi-well was a random-orbit sander with 60-grit paper. I used both the regular paper and the kind that's supposed to resist getting gummed up with paint. The latter lasted somewhat longer, but after 15 minutes of sanding I had to switch sheets. To give a rough idea: One morning I took an hour and a half, went through six sheets of paper, and exposed no more than two square feet of the copper. I probably have 30 square feet so at this rate it's a long job.

I'm considering trying a tool with more power than the sander. (The sander only really removes paint quickly when it spins at top speed, which of course it ceases to do about a second after I touch it to the surface. At slower speed, removal is, well, slower.) Thinking about an angle grinder [on eBay or Amazon] -- some models can be adapted for sanding applications. Anyone have any experience with this?

Ryan Stanley
- West Orange, NJ

A. I've been informed that the best way to remove paint from copper gutters is with a hot air gun. I haven't tried it yet but am going to soon and will post the results.

Michael Crawford
- LaSalle, Illinois U.S.A.
September 25, 2008

Ed. note July 2018: I guess 'soon' is relative :-)

A. Stripping a 5 foot by 2 foot copper roof over a front door. It has about 3 layers of paint. I started out stripping it with a gallon of goof- off stripper -- removed 95 percent of the paint. Then for the corners and side where nails are, I am using a blowtorch and a steel brush to get in there tight. Last of all, I will use a pad sander to make it shine; then finally will spray it all with a large can of clear sealer … about a ten hour job.

John Iorio
new life painting - new haven Connecticut
July 23, 2018

Please see also --

Topic 11195 "Painting copper gutters"

Topic 22917 "Restoring copper gutters"

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