How to Remove Paint From Wood


Credit: iStock.com/Viacheslav Zhedankov

Maybe you found the perfect wooden piece of furniture at a garage sale, or maybe your landlord gave you the go ahead to do a little DIY. When you come across paint on wood that you want to get rid of, you may need to know what’s the best way to remove paint from wood or how to remove paint from wood without sanding.

Learn how to remove paint from wood with chemical strippers or natural alternatives, plus plenty of elbow grease, to help you complete your DIY project.

What types of wood can you strip paint?

As long as you have the right tools, you can remove paint from almost any wood structure. Here are a few things you might want to remove paint from:

  • Furniture
  • Interior and exterior doors and frames
  • Stair handrails, handrails and columns
  • Cabinetmaking
  • Vintage or salvaged furniture
  • Wooden floor
  • Moldings and baseboards

Consider not removing the paint if the item is expensive, rare, or valuable, such as a family heirloom or a unique antique.

How to remove paint from wood

Follow these general steps to completely remove paint from wood surfaces or objects:

1. Determine the quality of the wooden surface under the paint

Pick a small hidden area of ​​the object and scrape a small part to reveal the wood below. Look for varnish, a sign that the wood is in good condition and worth showing. Doing this first ensures that you don’t strip the entire part and find it to be in bad shape.

2. Test the paint for lead

If the interior wood of your rental property was painted before the 1970s, the paint may contain lead. You can purchase a lead paint test at your local hardware store. Be sure to follow EPA guidelines on how to safely dispose of lead paint before proceeding with your project.

3. Determine if you need a professional

Some paint removals may be too large or detailed for you to DIY. Evaluate the option (and costs!) Of hiring a professional painter or carpenter who has commercial grade tools and solutions as well as the experience and knowledge to do the job effectively and efficiently. You might want to call the pros if you have lead paint on your interior wood as well.

4. Buy tools and protective gear

If you’re tackling a piece of furniture or other more manageable project, you can purchase all the tools, paint stripping solutions, and protective gear you might need to get the job done:

  • The painter’s tool: Whichever approach you choose, this five in one tool will save your life. This is because it has several different shaped edges to help you target different large and small areas on your paint stripping project.
  • Brush or brush material: This is the tool you use to apply the stripper to the surface
  • Metal pull scraper: This hand scraper hangs on the end of the scraper so you can slide it towards you and remove the paint
  • Sandpaper: This super scratching paper allows you to remove large strips of paint, make complete finishes or sand the wood to be repainted, varnished or stained
  • Paint thinner or stripper: These come in chemical form or as natural alternatives that dissolve paint from wood, allowing you to remove it more easily.
  • Protective gear: Stock up on full-face protection, face masks, eye protection, chemical-safe gloves, and other personal protective equipment that keeps you from inhaling fumes or debris, putting on anything. either in the eyes or accidentally injuring yourself.

You can purchase all of these items at your local hardware store.

5. Use a chemical stripper

Suppose you choose a chemical stripper, which many consider the best way to remove paint from wood. These solutions come in different forms including gel or paste which may be best for vertical surfaces as they do not flow. They also contain chemicals like turpentine, mineral spirits, acetone, and methyl ethyl ketone that can remove paint well.

Follow the product directions for safe and effective use. You can use a paintbrush or other paintbrush tool to apply the stripper to the surface.

6. Scrape off the paint

Take out your painter’s tool or other paint scraping tool, such as a putty knife or scraper, to begin removing the now chemically treated paint from the wood. Apply light to medium pressure first to avoid damaging the wood. If that pressure doesn’t work, consider using more pressure.

7. Finish with sandpaper

After you’ve applied a solution and scraped the entire piece, let the piece sit for a while. Then run it with a brush or a sheet of sandpaper to get into the crevices and catch any small missed area. You can also run the sandpaper all over the piece to polish the wood from any scuffs or scuffs it received during your scraping.

Natural alternatives for stripping paint from wood

If you don’t want to use chemical strippers, consider these more environmentally friendly options:

  • A heat gun: You can use a heat gun to melt the paint, freeing it from the wood so that it is easier to scrape off. You can try it on its own or as part of the whole process with chemical stripping solutions.
  • Steam stripper: This tool is like a heat gun, except it uses hot water vapor to release paint from the wood, making it easier to scrape. It can be your main solution or part of your entire process with chemical pickling solutions.
  • Just sandpaper or a stripper brush: If you prefer to just use elbow grease, you can rub the entire surface of the item you are removing paint from using a sandpaper brush and then sandpaper sheets for the areas. smaller.
  • The vinegar: You can apply warm white vinegar to the painted surface to soften the paint and make it easier to remove.
  • Non-toxic strippers: You can also find paint stripping solutions made from natural ingredients like soy gel and citrus that work well.

Restoring wood can be a great way to redesign your current furniture, salvaged items you buy, or decorative items in your rental space. The next time you’re looking for a rental, use Zumper to search the thousands of listings in your ideal neighborhood that tick all the boxes.