I just finished painting an outdoor wooden fence with Tambout Varnit. Despite my best efforts, there were some drippings onto the wall underneath, which seems to be covered with some sort of very hard rough spackle and painted off-white. This happened in a few places on the wall (here is one of them):

Picture of wall with paint drippings

I am looking for the best way to clean these up. Here is what I have come up from so far:

  1. Paint: Try to match the current paint exactly. But this will be very difficult to do, and even if I can match it in one place, as the paint has been on the wall for over 10 years and has weathered and gotten small stains differently in different places. Nervous that this will change a small touch-up project into a very large "paint the entire wall" (30-40 meters long, 1.5 tall) project.
  2. Sand it: Get a coarse grit sandpaper, and try to just touch up the spots with the paint droppings. Nervous that this will either be very ineffective, or will leave spots that are too visible and obvious.
  3. Scrape it: Get some coarse attachment for a multi-tool or angle grinder, and try to lightly grind away on the spots. Nervous that this will leave some very obvious marks (wounds?) in the wall.

Thoughts on the best way to clean this up?

  • Don't think there is an easy post solution for this - all the downsides you mention are valid. I would have put plastic sheet over the wall before starting to avoid this issue as the consequences when you have to paint the whole wall for a client can be expensive... – Solar Mike Apr 15 at 10:16
  • Try laquer thinner. It dissolves acrylic. – user263983 Apr 15 at 11:21
  • A stain's purpose is to stain. I doubt you will be able to come up with a solution that leaves the wall undamaged which lets you avoid re-painting the entire wall. If this is for your own home then just suck it up and re-paint the wall but if this is for a client then offer to re-paint the wall if they buy the paint. I hope your profit margins weren't thin on this project. – MonkeyZeus Apr 15 at 13:55

You might get the stains off by power washing, but that may knock some of the stucco texture off as well. If you're willing to give it a try, use (rent?*) a power washer with an adjustable power setting and start with the lowest setting available.

So long as it's not causing damage, and since it's probably not getting the stain off, go ahead and wash the entire wall in preparation for repainting. That's probably going to be your best bet in this situation anyway - all the concerns about your clean up methods are very legitimate and are likely going to happen.

Repainting the entire wall has the added advantages of ensuring longer life for the wall by renewing its protective coat of paint, covering all the staining_ so it looks better all around, and after 10 years, the last coat of paint is likely nearing the end of its life anyway.

ProTip™: Before power washing and painting, get some heavy plastic (6 mil or so) and tape it up to the wooden fencing at the top of the wall. Run it up the wall at least 12" if not more. Tape it very securely at the bottom, then leave it a bit loose before thoroughly taping up the top. This way you're not coming back in a few weeks asking how to restain a portion of your fence where you power washed through the surface and/or how to get paint off your freshly stained wooden fence.

Oh, also, use some of that heavy plastic to wrap up the bushes, then some string/rope/tape to hold the plastic in place. You don't want the power washer tearing up your plants, and you probably don't want to be painting them, either. The solution for paint on the plants is much easier though: trim off the painted bits. ;) Also, the plastic will hold in heat and moisture, so don't leave the plants wrapped up for too long or you might kill them.

*Before assuming a power washer is too expensive to purchase, look around and compare purchase prices vs rentals. We ended up purchasing an electric powered one for about the same cost as renting for a day. No, it's not the highest quality piece of equipment ever built, but we got the same day's use out of it and if when we need to use it again, it will now be cheaper than two rentals.

  • Noticed none of the painting suggestions above mention or specify using stain-blocking PRIMER first. – DAS Apr 16 at 6:41

One other concern, many strong colorants and solvents will seep and expand over time through multiple layers of paint. You may wish to contact a graffiti removal specialist as they have chemicals that will strip the stain spots to bare concrete/stucco and may have the knowledge to dissolve the stain without dissolving the paint below. Whatever chemical is used, generally it can be pressure washed after. Modern paint matching is actually really good, so you could at least try selective touchup once you have the stain off.

Not trying to be a jerk, but someone should point this out as an example of the prudence of masking. Paper and tape are cheap.

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