Removing Silicone Caulking

Lew's Canoes

Canoe Builder
A customer brought me a w/c canoe and asked me to make a few repairs, repaint and varnish, and "fix the leaks around the keel screws". A quick look confirmed my worst fear - the keel had been 'bedded' with silicone caulk. It must have been done with a shovel because there is silicone all over the keel and down the length of the hull about a half inch on either side of the keel. I got the keel off and now am wondering how best to get the silicone off, as I know no paint will ever stick to it. I have been scraping with a single edge razor blade, using coarse sandpaper, and trying other mechanical means, all with only limited success. Can anyone offer a suggestion on how to get this stuff off? Is there a solvent that will work, or any other technique? I would like to get a good coat of paint on the hull before reinstalling the keel with Dolphinite bedding compound. All help will be welcome!!! Thanks, Lew
Caulk remover

I have not used it but Lowe's has a product that is suppose to dissolve silicone caulk. Don't know what it would do to wood. -Chuck
The silicone caulk I've run into fails under high heat or long exposure to the sun outdoors without a covering. I would try a heat gun or a torch with a really fine tip, depending on how the surroundings will be effected by fire.

Getting the paint to stick to the area will be a real challenge. You will really need to clean all traces of silicone away with solvents/soap and may need to use a fish-eye eliminator in the paint. Sometimes shellac can be a good sealant between a hard to paint surface and paint, but I have no idea if silicone is one of those things shellac helps defeat.

Boy! I'm glad I don't have to deal with this!

Sorry. That was mean.
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Thought I would follow up on this topic. I found a product sold as Contractors Solvent which, as promised on the label, seems to disolve cured silicone! It comes in a hand pumped spray bottle, and promises to be very eco-friendly. Has a very citrus like smell, but still recommends good ventilation, etc. I chose to work with it outside in the breeze. The process I ended up using was first to cut away as much of the cured silicone as I could with a single edge razor blade in a holder, trying not to slice the canvas. Then I would spray on a good coating of the Contractors Solvent, let it set for 15 minutes, then start scraping, using the razor blade upright like a cabinet scraper. The solvent would cut through a certain thickness of silicone which was then easily scraped away. By repeating the process several times I was able to get the hull clean. The real test came this afternoon when I applied the first coat of paint. It seemed to bond uniformly and evenly throughout the area where the silicane had been, so I guess I can call this a success. Hope this is useful for someone else out there if you ever have to deal with silicone. LEW
Thanks, Lew. Sharing your experience is useful to me, although my situation is removing a pool deck carpet. I'll cut away what I can with a blade, then try eco-friendly citrus stripper. If that doesn't work, heat will likely do it, though I don't want to create acrid black smoke.

Hi Lew,
Can you provide the name of the manufacturer of this product, active ingredient, and/or place of purchase? I haven't been able to find this product using "Contractors Solvent".

Thanks for the help.
Philip -I found the spray bottle, and here is the info from the label:Contractors Solvent, De-Solv-it Pro Strength, made by Orange Sol Household Products Inc., Gilbert, AZ 85233. 1-800-877-7771
Good luck tracking this down - I believe I found this product at a local, but very good, hardware store (not a big box). Lew