Removing paint from metal | Norton Abrasives

How to Remove Paint from Metal

If you’re looking to remove paint and prepare the metal surface as part of your next fabrication project, our helpful guide could help you save time and make the process easier.

Hard-to-Reach Areas

The Norton Mini Angle Grinder is powerful enough to take paint off quickly. It’s also ideal to use on hard-to-reach areas as it’s not as large and cumbersome as a conventional angle grinder so it can get into small areas. It also has the user’s comfort in mind as the streamlined non-slip grip provides superior tool handling and reduces fatigue.

Removing paintWe would recommend using the Blaze Rapid Strip with the mini angle grinder which is perfect for aggressively removing paint and unwanted layers on a variety of surfaces with ease and providing no damage to the underlying surface. It has an open web construction for an aggressive cut without loading and uses a coarse grain to remove weld splatter and scale. The high performance ceramic alumina grain offers a faster cut and twice as long product life compared to competitors’ products.

Follow these steps to quickly remove paint from a metal surface:

  1. Firstly, make sure you use PPE, including safety glasses, ear defenders and a dust mask.
  2. Stick the Blaze Rapid Strip disc to the back-up pad. A smaller 25mm pad can be used when you need the edge of the disc to flex a little, for softer applications or contours.
  3. Use the disc at a 10-15° angle to quickly eliminate coatings and corrosion with minimal stock removal. The disc cleans the surface thoroughly to remove paint and leaves the surface ready for coating, painting or welding. It’s comfortable to use without damaging or gouging the workpiece as long as you only apply light pressure.
  4. To achieve a more aggressive cut, simply increase the pressure. Alternatively, use a larger 50mm pad which supports the whole disc and provides firmer support.
  5. When used together, the Mini Angle Grinder and Blaze Rapid Strip are a great combination and deliver fantastic results.
  6. For best results, use the Mini Angle Grinder at a maximum grinder speed of up to 22000 RPM.
  7. If you’re going to paint the metal after sanding it down, then use a sponge to wash it down with warm, soapy water first and dry it with a cloth.

Watch our European Application Engineer, Paul Gray, remove paint from carbon steel:

We’ve put together a Mini Angle Grinder Starter Kit with an assortment of our most popular grades for stripping, deburring and surface blending – find out more here.

Wire brushes are also a good alternative for removing paint and primers in hard-to-reach places, such as edges and corners. They can be used on carbon steel, aluminium and non-ferrous metals whilst offering excellent protection against flying debris thanks to the brush guard.

Larger Areas

If you’re removing paint from a larger area, then a Right Angle Grinder (RAG) would be more suitable using a larger size of the Blaze Rapid Strip disc, such as the 115mm disc. The versatile angle grinder can replace numerous tools and make labour intensive jobs quicker and easier.

Also, you can use Rapid Strip wheels with a straight grinder for removing coatings, such as paint, on metal, as well as wood and plastics. The nylon fibre, flexible resin and extra coarse grain combine to provide aggressive performance and a thoroughly cleaned surface ready for the next stage of the process.

Thinner Paint

If you’re looking to remove thinner paint or are working on more delicate materials, then softer high strength discs, such as BearTex High Strength discs, would be more suitable when used with a die grinder. High strength discs are made of a strong nylon web impregnated with abrasive grain and resin and produce a light satin finish.


When using abrasive wheels, make sure to follow the safety advice here. For further advice on which products to use on different materials, get in touch with one of our Norton experts.