Silicones are widely used in different industrial and consumer products. They are popular because they are resistant to heat, moisture, and ultraviolet radiation. But after some time, you may want to remove old silicone.
To remove silicone from metal, you’ll need a sharp razor blade, bristle brush, abrasive cleaner, water, wiping cloth, and protective gear. You need to be careful when handling sharp tools and chemicals because a small mistake could result in injury.
This article provides simple guidelines on how to remove silicone from metal surfaces without damaging them, the tools required, and what to observe during the process.
Table of Contents
Clean the Surface
Before you begin removing silicone, always ensure you have a clean and dry surface. Removing silicone from metal surfaces requires a spotless clean working space. This will help you see what you’re doing from a clear perspective. It also allows you to use your tools without risking your safety. For instance, the clean, dry surface will keep a tight grip between the blade’s cutting edge and the silicone, reducing the chances of injury.
Put On Some Protective Gear
Safety comes first. Removing silicone from metal surfaces involves handling sharp objects that may cause deep cuts if they’re not handled with the right protective attire. You’ll need some protective gloves to hold the sharp knife or razor and avoid cutting yourself.
These gloves should be made of quality materials to prevent chemicals from reaching your skin. Remember to wear this attire throughout since exposure for too long may be harmful to your health.
Use a Sharp Blade to Scrape Away As Much Silicone As Possible
In this step, you’re supposed to use a sharp razor to peel off as much silicone as possible. Start from the side that seems to be most damaged. With the sharp edge facing away from you, carefully push the knife/razor along the metal surface to peel off the silicone layer. Use a lower angle for the blade to avoid damaging the smooth finishing of the metal surface. This will also prevent you from injury.
Scrub the Area With a Nylon Scrubber or Bristle Brush
The idea is to remove as much silicone as possible from the metal surface. However, peeling off with a sharp razor doesn’t remove all the silicone. Some chunks are lodged in places the knife or blade can’t reach. A nylon scrubber or bristle brush might do the trick by scrubbing deeper on the untouched areas. These brushes are better than metallic brushes since they will only remove the silicone without scratching the metal surface.
Mix Water With an Abrasive Powder Cleaner
Abrasive powder cleaners may be more effective. Most abrasive caulk cleaners are friendly to metal but act tough on other substances such as unfurnished wood. If you decide to use this chemical approach, there’s a wide range of products.
Most people with prior experience opt for a chemical solvent because it is tough to remove silicone caulk with a razor and brushes alone. Fortunately, there are many solvents to ease the task without damaging the metal surface. They include:
- Unibond Sealant remover
- Isopropyl Alcohol
These solvents break down the silicone caulk into smaller molecules that can be washed away with clean water. You can also use a sealant remover to make work easier. Apply the mixture to the caulk and give it a few minutes to soften the old caulk. Then, rinse with water.
Ensure that the solvents are removed completely from the surface before you apply new silicone. Products such as WD-40 can react with the new silicone and render them ineffective.
Scrub Again and Rinse With Water
The purpose of scrubbing with a nylon scrubber is to remove the smaller silicone chunks that couldn’t be removed with a sharp razor. Scrubbing a second time gets rid of the particles you missed in the first round. Solvents and digestants are not a common option because many people don’t know how to use them appropriately. They opt to use the physical approach to remove the silicone from the surface.
Some Key Takeaways
Silicon is one of the most abundant elements on the earth’s crust. Its ability to form complex polymers that bind with molecules from a wide range of surfaces makes it a suitable sealant. Manufacturers produce it in different forms, such as silicone oils, grease, rubber, and caulk. When applied as a caulking material, silicone hardens, and becomes hard to remove.
While removing silicone from metal surfaces, remember that:
- Silicone caulking wears out with time. After a long service, it starts peeling off from the edges. Besides, the wrong application makes it inefficient in performing its duty, keeping water, dust, insects, and other objects away. These factors call for regular replacement to help keep your house safe and free from damage.
- If you have any respiratory conditions, you should work in a well-ventilated space to reduce further complications. Caulk removers are chemicals that have strong scents depending on the manufacturer. Always ensure sufficient air circulation. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Don’t apply too much force when using the sharp razor. Silicone may be tough and may have penetrated unreachable places where some tools cannot reach. Use a reasonable force to avoid damaging the exterior of the metal surface.
- When using a digestant/solvent, watch out for substances such as unfurnished wood. Exposing a wooden surface to the digestant may leave an ugly patch that leads to further damage.
Removing silicone is a DIY task that requires little to no professional expertise. The best method to remove silicone from a metal surface is one that doesn’t cause further damage. Some people prefer the physical method while others choose the chemical procedure according to preference, knowledge, skill, the tools available, and time. Always follow the right procedure to prevent setbacks and disappointments with every step.
Handling chemicals and sharp tools require extra caution to avoid injury and you need to wear your protective gear all the time.