What Is The Best Way To Remove Paint From Wood?

To spruce up an old wooden surface or to apply new paint, it can be useful to know the different methods used to remove the current layer. Whether you wish to use chemicals or not, there are a variety of proven methods. Some involve more manual labor whilst others make life a lot easier but with other factors to take into consideration, we have created a rough guide on all things paint removal when it comes to wooden surfaces.

Different Ways Of Removing Paint From Wood

Sandpaper For Removing Paint From Wood

This is one of the simplest ways of getting a layer of paint off a wooden surface and the chances are, no matter what approach you use, you are going to need to use sandpaper to smooth the surface anyway. Still, there is a bit of graft involved and when it comes to large surfaces such as a wardrobe or a door, this can be an arduous task.

Sandpaper is easy to get hold of and the chances are you will have some around the house somewhere so you can get started whenever. Still, it is best to have coarser sandpaper for doing a lot of the hard work then a finer one to finish and smooth. The wood needs to be dry before you get started or you can damage the wood and sanding will be difficult. Once the rough sandpaper has lifted most of the paint, use the finer grain to leave it smooth.

Sanding Machine To Remove Paint From Wood

Another effective way of removing paint from wood and one that requires less manual labor than the previous method. It doesn’t take long for these products to smooth multiple layers of paint from wood. What you. will find is that there is a fair amount of clean up involved as a sanding machine creates a lot of dust. not only this but the equipment can be more costly than a lot of the other methods.

As with the manual sandpaper approach, use a coarse grind before smoothing with a finer paper to finish. Take extra care to remove dust after as any left behind can impact any new paint or finish.

Paint Stripper For Wood

This is one of the easiest ways of removing paint from wood. not only is it cost-effective with most products being reasonably priced, but it easier to use and requires less manual work than using sandpaper. As with any product. of this type, there are safety precautions to follow but they are usually a spray-on or can be applied with a paintbrush.

Usually, you will need to wait around 30 minutes for it to take effect and dry. From here, you will need to use a metal scraper to chip away and remove the loosened paint. Most reputable brands will mean this stage is relatively easy and takes far less work than using either sandpaper method.

Heat Gun To Remove Paint From Wood

Although it is easier than using sandpaper, it is the method you most have to be careful with. not only will you need to purchase a heat gun but also safety equipment such as goggles and a face mask. Always keep water to hand just incase and move the gun slowly over the wood without lingering for too long. This will cause it to wrinkle which is when you know you can scrape the paint whilst it is warm.

Another downside is the fumes and the potential of charred wood but if you follow the instructions carefully, you should be fine.

Tips For Removing Paint From Wood

Consider The Cleanup

No matter what approach you are using, you are going to be dealing with dust and debris flying around. This is why it is always a good idea to do a little prep work before you start. Throw an old bedsheet under the item you are working on and if possible, do it outside. This will make it easier to round up all the bits that can be difficult to gather otherwise.

Cover Items In The Room

To protect the other furniture in the room, make sure they are protected via a cover. You don’t want to have to be vacuuming between items. When it comes to the item itself, it can be a good idea to tape up hinges.

Make Sure You Have All The Tools You Need

Even with a chemical paint stripper, you will want to sand the surface after so be sure to get fine sandpaper in advance. No matter what approach, you will want to wash down with a sponge and have more than one scraper to hand just in case.

Sharpen Your Scrapers

A blunt end can only go so far and the better the scraper you use to remove the paint, the less you will have to work to achieve the same results. You can use mid-grade sandpaper to sharpen the surface of steel scrapers or a sharpening stone for a sharper edge. This will help you lift the loosened faster.

Test For Lead

A lot of homes before the 1950s would have been painted with lead-based paint and even up until 1978 in the USA you could find many homes using this paint legally. There are three ways you can test for lead on a wooden surface. The first is by using a professional company, chipping a sample, and sending it off. This. is an affordable approach but can take a couple of weeks for you to get the results. Alternatively, you can do a test yourself using a swab kit, or use the services of a professional who will come to your home and inspect the surface using X-ray technology.

How Long Does A Paint Stripper Take To Work?

You should expect to leave around 20 – 30 minutes for the paint stripper to take effect. From here you can use a scraper to lift the old paint. A telling sign that it is ready to be removed is when it starts to bubble. For best results, it is a good idea to apply as evenly as possible so you aren’t having to work harder in some areas.