A couple of weeks ago I posed a question in this forum about stripping some
pretty heavily coated brickwork. At that point, I'd made extensive use of
Prosoco Heavy-Duty Stripper and Prosoco Fast-Acting Stripper (methyline
chloride). With several layers of paint remaining in some areas, I was
quite ready to take the "just paint it again" advice that someone here
I'd like to follow-up to that post and offer my experiences to anyone about
to tackle similar work. After more research and a tip from a local alderman
about the "peel away" strippers, I sank $115 on a 5gal. bucket of "Peel
Away 1". Sherwin-Williams was the only place in town that carried the stuff
which I thought was a bit odd for something that claimed to work miracles.
I tried 5 test patches with that first bucket (each the size of a single
sheet) on the various walls I was working with. I didn't really expect much
from the stuff...it went on easy, didn't smell bad and didn't liquefy your
brain with a few good wiffs (unlike the Prosoco stuff).
The results were very promising. 4 of the 5 test areas had excellent
results. The paint in the failed area had darkened but remained otherwise
At this point, I've got about 3/4 of the total area stripped. I really wish
that I would have started with this stuff but it's been quite a learning
experience. The peel away stuff doesn't, in my experience, work exactly as
advertised. It goes on very easy with a trowel. It does not, however, just
"peel away" from the brick. The instructions explain that you should use a
scraper or putty blade to "assist". Well, there's a little more scraping
than they let on but the results are well worth it. Also, I still had to
use the pressure washer to clean the bricks afterwords but most everything
that remained washed away with ease significantly minimizing any additional
damage to the brick face.
A few tips...
(1) Make sure that all of the paste is covered with the paper (don't be even
a little sloppy). Otherwise, the exposed paste dries out real quick and
cleaning it off is *A BITCH*
(2) Be prepared to do a high-pressure wash after you've scraped off what you
can of the paste. There'll be a lot of sludge-like paint waiting for you
underneath your "peel".
(3) I allowed ~24 hours dwell time. I suggest you do the same as this stuff
seems to work real well if given the time. Don't let it sit too long
otherwise you have the aforementioned dried paste problem.
(4) Attempts to be cheap will backfire. The Peel Away product is expensive
when put next to the coverage specs of the other "professional" liquid/gel
strippers. If you've got as much paint as I did, you'll need multiple (4-6)
coats of the latter, negating any monetary savings and costing much more in
(5) Do your homework. There are like 15 different formulations of Peel Away.
Make sure you get the right stuff for the task at hand.
This has been my experience, YMMV. The property I'm working on is located on
a high-traffic and high-profile city intersection. I had no less than four
people stop to ask (a) if it actually works and (b) where they can get
some. Many more obviously took note of the product as they were sitting at
the stop-lights staring at us as we worked. At this point, Dumond Chemicals
should probably reimburse me for all of the otherwise-free advertising and
positive referrals they got from me through this project :).