The previous owner of my 1920s bungalow drywalled over a bunch of the original windows (!) and I'm trying to uncover and restore them to let some more light into the cavelike parts of the house. There's an exterior window installed over one of the windows; it's a bubbly-textured glass with some sort of shiny black coating painted onto it. I've tried every chemical paint remover that I have - hot vinegar, acetone, oven cleaner - and the coating won't budge. The coating is on the bubbly textured side of the glass so I've had no success scraping or sanding it off. I'm pretty sure it's a coating since I can see unevenness and stroke texture in it from the inside when the sunlight shines through.

Anyone have any idea what this might be and what would take it off? I'd rather not rip the window out entirely if I don't have to.

  • are you able to peel off some of it using a razor blade?
    – jsotola
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 23:55
  • 1
    Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Have you tried paint remover (with plenty of ventilation)? And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 23:58
  • 2
    try actual paint stripper.
    – Jasen
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 0:20
  • I wonder why someone would paint black over a window. Was this house used for a grow operation? Satanic cult?
    – Willk
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 0:50
  • A photo of the issue may be more helpful than your description, I currently live in a 1930 farm house but have rehabbed close to a dozen Victorians professionally , later 2 of my own. Several photos of what you call bubble wrap close up and again from 4-6 feet back we may have great advice , but right now I ask is it bubbling paint or bubble wrap stuffed in a space to create insulation in this old house with tall windows.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 1:15

1 Answer 1


Use a paint remover with methylene chloride. It will effectively soften and/or liquify common household paints.

Follow directions exactly when using it, especially safety stuff like good ventilation, proper gloves, eye protection, etc.

  • MEK will melt most plastics, paints and aliens (just kidding) and may be a good choice if available where the op is located. I think just about any paint on glass would be softened by MEK. I could still get it in my left coast state a few years ago but not sure now. I used to use it to clear spray paint nozzles especially upside down cans that you can’t clear the paint out. Cover with MEK for a while and blow air through and the clogged nozzle now works like new,,, sorry for the long winded comment but wanted to provide support for jimmy’s answer.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 1:24
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    @Ed Beal, where I am MEK is a totally different chemical- methyl ethyl ketone, which is more akin to an alcohol solvent like shellacque thinner, and while it will clean cured alkyd paint pretty well, I don't think it will liquify it... Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 1:34
  • You are correct it is different methylene chloride is used in solvent welding of some plastics and will desolve many plastics but. Use mek in a cup to clear spray paint regularly that has hardened, I ment to say if you can get methylene chloride it is hotter and some areas only allow professional use. And mek may be a good option but I did not do a good job.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 14:13

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