A heat gun is a much underrated tool. They are incredibly versatile and can speed up a project no end, especially if you get a good one with all the correct nozzles that you might need. Have a look at our project on how to use a Heat Gun safely and for ideas about what to look for when you’re buying one here.
What’s a Heat Gun Used for?
A heat gun is a bit like a hair dryer. It is designed to blow hot air, however a Heat Gun blows much hotter air (so although it is a versatile tool, don’t use it for drying your hair)!
Here’s our list of favourite jobs that you can tackle with a heat gun:
1. Paint Stripping – A heat gun is a great tool to strip old paint from furniture or other woodwork. This is because it is an alternative to paint solvents or other harsh chemicals making it safer and more environmentally friendly! It can be quicker at stripping paint too, because solvent stripper take time to work and may not be quite so good at intricate work, without several repeat treatments.
2. Removing Old Wallpaper – A heatgun can be used to remove old wallpaper as it can melt the glue and burn off the paper. This is especially useful on old woodchip or highly textured paper with many layers of paint, that are resistant to soaking. Please be very careful doing this as there is an obvious fire risk.
3. Heat Shrink Plastic Tubing – You can use a heat gun to shrink plastic tubing and connectors. With a little practice you can a heat gun and a special wire coil to bend a piece of PVC pipe at just about any angle without using any adhesives or elbow joints. If you get good at this it can speed up jobs because you don’t have to wait for sealant to dry or nip out to the plumbers merchant’s for that connector you forgot to buy!
4. Shrink Wrapping – Shrink wrapping with a heat gun is so much quicker with a heat gun than using a hair dryer. Be careful though, you will be amazed at just how quickly it works.
5. Plastic and tarpaulin welding – Heat guns are great for creating a strong and lasting bond in many plastics. With a special nozzle for the heat gun and strips of plastic called welding rods, you can weld almost anything from PVC pipe to floor tiles. To join two tarpaulins, overlap then and heat the sides using a slit nozzle. Once hot and melting immediately press together the heated two sides using a roller. Make sure you wear heat resistant gloves or gauntlets to avoid burning your hands.
6. Paint Drying – If you need to dry the paint quickly, a heat gun will do the job! This is useful if there is a risk of dust getting into the drying paint or people might touch it. Make sure you take care not to get too close so you don’t accidentally burn the paint.
7. Thaw Frozen Pipes – Take it slowly and gently warm the pipes to be sure that you don’t rise the temperature of the pipe too quickly because the ice will expand as it thaws, and this could cause obviously damage the pipe. As long as you take your time, this will get the water flowing once again.
8. Restore the Plastic Trim on cars – Strange but absolutely true – watch this video on car repairs using a heat gun to see how it’s done.
9. Soften Glues and Adhesives – A heat gun is just thing to raise the temperature on a glue or adhesive to soften it enough to remove it. It’s ideal for removing old stickers or labels. Remove any sticky residue with a quick squirt of WD-40 or some DeSolvIt Sticky Stuff remover and a wipe over.
10. And there are many more uses for a heat gun from domestic and crafty, to car maintenance and Home Improvement – here are some of the weird and wonderful uses of heat guns that we have come across:
Ways of Using a Heat Gun you may not have thought of
– Loosening stuck or rusty nuts and bolts
– Restoring faded plastic to black using heat
– Computer repairs
– Cooking bacon!
As you can see, a heat gun is a very versatile tool!
However we do urge you to be careful as they are potentially dangerous, so have a look at DIY Doctor’s project about how to use heat guns safely (link at the top of this page), and then if you are inspired to buy a heat gun we have a selection available in our online DIY Superstore.