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Speedheater paint removal FAQ

How does it work?

The Speedheater Cobra and IR1100 RS work by emitting infrared heat. This heats the existing paint surface to 110-150ºC, activating the water molecules in the paint as well as the gases. This will cause all existing petrochemical (modern) paints to become soft so they can be scraped off very easily - leaving the bare timber ready for linseed paint.

Will the Speedheater Cobra or IR1100 RS break glass?

Before you paint something complex like a sash window, the Speedheater Cobra will do a fantastic job of stripping off the old paint. It uses infrared heat, which travels through glass without cracking it (as long as you don’t permit prolonged exposure on the same part of the glass). There are 2 reasons for glass cracking: firstly, a previous weak point in the glass was affected by the temperature change, or secondly, careless use of hand tools. Our advice is to work carefully, especially when removing putty from around the pins that hold the glass in place.

What about removing water-based paints?

Some wooden doors and windows come with a factory-applied water-based external coating. So far, the Speedheater Cobra has never had a problem removing every kind of old paint: it works a treat to remove water-based, oil-based and even lead-based paint – which it does very safely. 

Can I remove lead paint safely?

The low temperature of the Speedheater ensures that no dangerous fumes are released in the air, such as lead and other heavy metals. The work environment is dust-free and quiet. The paint remains are easy to collect which you should dispose of at a waste station which handles chemicals.

In comparison: chemical strippers are potentially hazardous for the person working with them and for surrounding vegetation. It is also difficult to collect the waste, since it's usually washed down into the soil (which may have a serious effect on the animal and plant life in the area). Heat guns work at temperatures between 400 – 1000ºC which gasify lead and other toxins in the air, making it very toxic to breathe in. Dry scraping and sanding create a dust-filled working environment which is potentially dangerous to breathe in and the dust can also be absorbed by the skin.

How can I know it's safe?

This independent article Lead And The Law. The flaw in CLAW sets out the dangers of lead-based paint and safer removal using Speedheater. You can also download the full lab test report for lead paint removal using Speedheater tools.