Removing paint from metal surfaces using a heat gun is a quick and simple process, provided you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take the necessary safety precautions. Heat softens the paint coating on metal surfaces, making it easy to scrape off the paint without much effort. This technique is bound to come in handy, especially when working with multiple layers of paint.

To remove paint, hold the heat gun a few inches away from the painted surface and start applying heat evenly across the area. Once you notice wrinkles or bubbles on the paint layer, use a paint scraper to remove the melting mass. Allow the surface to cool. Wash with mineral spirits to finish the job.

Read on to know more about how a heat gun works, some dos and don’ts, precautions when using a heat gun, and tips on its effective usage.

How Does a Heat Gun Work?

A heat gun works like a hairdryer, except that the stream of air from the tool can get as hot as 1000°F (538°C). Fresh air is drawn into the unit through the fan located at its rear, passed through heating elements, and forced out through a nozzle. Air temperatures may vary from 212 to 1022°F (100 to 550°C) depending on the model you use. 

When to Use a Heat Gun for Removing Paint From Metal

While it is easier to remove paint using a heat gun instead of sanding the metal object or using chemical formulations, there are times when heat guns aren’t ideal for paint removal.

You must use the heat gun only after making sure the paint is lead-free. Some of the older paints applied about a couple of decades ago or earlier are likely to contain lead. Treating old paint with heat may generate toxic fumes, and working with molten paint is also bound to create health issues.

You may use a heat gun to remove paint from different types of surfaces such as metal, wood, brick, and concrete and also for welding. However, you’ll need to take extra care when working with heat-sensitive surfaces such as wood, copper, plaster, etc., as excess heat can cause irreversible damage to such surfaces.

Which Is the Best Heat Gun for Paint Removal?

If you are planning to buy a heat gun, put some thought into the task at hand (paint removal) and how and for what you’ll be using it in the future. Heat guns with temperature control and multiple nozzles can serve different purposes.

Invest in a reliable, affordable product from a trustworthy manufacturer. Make sure you are comfortable using it and can handle the heat gun safely. The SEEKONE Heat Gun and the GENESIS GHG1500A are solid choices.

Using a Heat Gun Safely

If you are handling a heat gun for the first time, you are probably concerned not just about your own safety but also the other people and pets occupying the space.

If you are confident about handling the tool, you will be able to handle the task safely. If not, here are a few things you must know about using a heat gun safely and effectively:

  • Make sure the place is well-ventilated as fumes from hot metal and paint may be toxic
  • Clear the space of flammable materials, kids, pets, and elders
  • Cover the flooring beneath your work area
  • Use heat-resistant gloves as working with hot paint does get messy
  • Allow the stripped hot metallic surface to cool down before using mineral spirit to clean the surface
  • Operate the heat gun at lower temperatures when working with metallic surfaces around glass panes/sheets (doors/ windows/ tables) so that there are no damages or untoward incidents
  • Use the heat gun at the prescribed distance from the surface – 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15cm) and at a 45-degree angle – for the best coverage
  • If you are not comfortable using the heat gun and paint scraper at the same time, switch off the heat gun and set it down on its stand, scrape off the loose paint, and repeat the process till all the paint is stripped off the metal surface.

Check out this short video to learn how it’s done right. The same rules apply to metal surfaces as well.


Heat guns prove to be handy and efficient tools for paint-removal tasks, but may not suit all types of paints and surfaces.

Therefore, assess the job on hand and use the right tool for the best results. When working with metal surfaces or wood, you still may have to sand or use chemicals for a clean finish.

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