• October 3, 2003

Silent Paint Remover

Stripping paint with an infrared heat paint remover

Products, Removing Paint

In an online forum someone posted a link to an episode of “This Old House” which used a product called the Silent Paint Remover to strip off paint. They were using it outside of a house but I thought I would try it inside on my woodwork. Silent Paint Remover uses infrared heat to soften paint. It’s environmentally friendly. There are no chemicals involved, it works at a low enough operating temperature to prevent plumbic (lead) gases that may be present in the paint from being released and like the name says, it’s silent.

The first thing I should say is this product isn’t cheap. It’s $375 to own it or $22 a day to rent it. It’s not widely available retail yet. I ordered it directly from the manufacturer and it was back ordered for 2 months.

It’s fairly easy to use. You plug it in, turn it on and hold it over the area you want to strip for 20-60 seconds. There are adjustable bars on the side to help stabilize the tool. It covers about a 12″ x 4″ surface area. The paint will start to bubble up or blister and smoke as the Silent Paint Remover starts to work. Then you need to take a scraper and scrape off the paint. It works! It cut through about 8-12 layers of paint right down to the wood. I think this process goes a lot smoother if two people are doing it, one to loosen the paint and another to scrape it off. I was also happy with how light in weight the Silent Paint Remover was.

I did find some drawbacks though.
The Silent Paint Remover doesn’t loosen all the paint in the 12′” x 4″ surface area evenly. The middle part gets done sooner and you have to go back over the edges, several times. The company who manufactures the product recommended wearing gloves, which I didn’t, and the handle got pretty warm. The front and sides of the tool are metal and they get HOT. It’s pretty easy to accidently brush your arm against the metal and burn yourself (which I did). I had a hard time in corners and detailed areas where the surface heights were not even. The Silent Paint Remover was too bulky to fit into corners.

Overall, I like the product. I think I would like it better if it stripped the paint evenly instead of working better in the center and not as well on the edges. It’s frustrating to keep going over the edges to remove all the paint. It’s also easy to bake on some of the paint. When this happens, it looks black and I panicked thinking I had burnt the wood. I found that the baked on, blackened paint will then need to be sanded off which is additional work. Fortunately, these baked on paint areas are limited so it’s not necessary to sand all of the woodwork.

My final analysis is that this product works best on flat surfaces such as clapboard siding. On interior trim pieces I feel a chemical stripper performs better.

Comments { 13 }
  1. Sue

    Thanks for your information on the Silent Paint Remover. I will soon start to strip many layers of paint from kitchen cabinets. The cabinets are plain- no ornate carvings or glass doors. Do you think that the SPR will do the job on vertical surfaces? Or do you advise using a chemical stripper?

    Also, do you know of any place in L.A. to rent this item?

    Thanks for any help that you can provide.

  2. heather


    Hi! In my experience the SPR performs very well on flat surfaces. So, I imagine it would work well on the cabinet doors. Where I don’t think it will work as well is in corners or if there is a tight space where the cabinet meets the countertop. You might need to use a heat gun in the areas where the SPR is too bulky to fit into.

    What I like about the SPR is that you aren’t dealing with chemicals. Not only for the health reasons but because you aren’t dealing with the wet, gooey paint mess the way you do with a chemical stripper. It is still messy but much easier to sweep up.

    I don’t know of a place to rent one in LA. We dealt directly with Viking Sales. I suggest calling them ( 585 924-8070) to see where if the SPR is available for rental in LA and where. If not, you can rent it directly from Viking.

  3. Aly

    I’m wondering if you can give me some advice/help.
    I think we may live close to each-other – we’re off 11th avenue and adams.
    So, here’s my question – and if it’s easy – maybe we can meet to share ideas?
    Anyways, here is my question… i’ve tried a heatgun on our wondows but it seems to crack the glass every so often. Do you have any suggestions? i think with the broken glass, my costs are going to sky-rocket? :>)

  4. cevan

    I am glad you are satisfied with your silent paint remover. You have done a wonderful job stripping the paint. I however am partial to Peel Away 7 paint remover. I have had great success with it.

  5. aranka

    Hi to everyone!
    Just a big thanks to you guys for this site!
    My hubby and I just bought a 1911 bungalow in Spokane WA. and about to strip all the int. woodwork paint; on doors, windows, trims,fireplace surrounds, basebrds, etc..

    They only have 2 coats of paint and the orig. dark stain; mainly oak wood. what would best work on removing the paints? prefer non-toxic and read about the SPR a bit….

    The interior support posts are 4×4 pine which flank the entry from the liv’g to the din’g rms. these posts out into the rm’s 3ft. away from the main walls and function as mini shelving platforms on top of pony walls.
    Now the sellers ages ago enclosed the lower portion (ofpony walls) with gyp brd and removed the oak basebrd’s and placed 10″ hi pine brd’s.
    I would like to remove all this pony wall gyp brd. and create an open wd. stile look.
    What ideas do you all have for me to make these 2 pony walls more true to the period style??
    any good resouce spots?

    many thnaks


  6. heather


    Hello! Congratualtions on your new house. We are big fans of the SPR for the stripping outside of our house but not in love with it for the interior. We found it a little bulky to fit in corners and maneuver around detailed trim. That is just our experience. other people have done well with it although i think they may have removed their woodwork for stripping (ours was left in place). The inside woodwork was stripped with (toxic- sorry!) chemical stripper.

    I have found the old Aladdin Company Sales Catalogs an invaluable resource for gathering ideas and showing what homes looked like when they were built. here is a link:


    The Home Furnishings catalog might be the most helpful to you:

    Best of luck with your new home!

  7. Holly Weston

    As painters and decorators, we had a huge restoration project last year stripping all the paint from every interior timber surface and believe me, we tried every paint stripping method known to man, then we accidentally came across the Silent Paint Stripper, we were disappointed in its performance. We did have trouble getting into corners and only the centre of the unit would blister the paint, but going back over it where the wood was stripped, burned the wood. The company said to brush on some linseed oil onto the bare timber to prevent this from happening, which we did but it didnt help. We returned the unit disappointed, and had to go back to chemical strippers. I do believe that work is being done to produce a laser stripper.


  8. Poli

    I am working on a 1910 craftsman. Unfortunately all the wood work was painted. Silent paint remover was too expensive, as we had not committed to remove the paint. I found a site that give instructions on how to build one. I did for roughly a quarter of the cost. I just started removing paint and it’s going ok. Your site inspired me to strip the paint. I also live in LA.

    • Heather

      Congrats on your house. Stripping paint is not a fun process, but the results are so worth it.

      If you like, feel free to share the link on how to build a silent paint remover. I am sure others would be interested as well.

      Best of luck with your project and house!

  9. Poli


    I will post some pics of my paint remover and progress soon.

    • Heather

      Thanks for sharing this!

  10. Valerie

    We’ve used the Speedheater which similar to the Silent Paint Remover. The Speedheater heats very evenly; we didn’t have problems with the middle heating up first. It’s a great product, my husband used it on the back of the house and on two doors this last summer.


  11. Catherine Brooks

    You all should know that in 2006 Silent Paint Remover/Viking Sales started making a knockoff of the original Speedheater they were selling before. The knockoff looks exactly like the Silent Paint Remover but is not UL tested for quality and safety nor UL-listed like all other electric tools sold in stores. Check the Amazon reviews for more details and visit the US distributor of Speedheaters http://www.eco-strip.com

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