3 Steps to Stripping Paint from Wood

Source: iStock

Many common home remodeling projects will involve stripping paint from wood. Whether you are removing the varnish from an old piece of furniture, removing paint from the baseboards inside the home or refacing the kitchen cabinets, the common thread is that you will need to find an effective way of removing paint without harming the wood beneath. Although there is always the option of hiring a professional for the job, it is also possible to tackle this challenge on your own. Here are some helpful tips for stripping paint from wood.

1. Wooden surface preparation

In almost every case, you will be able to use a commercial paint stripper to make the process easier. However, before you apply the product, you need to prepare the area. If you’re working on cabinets, for example, you should remove the panels from the wall and take out any pieces of hardware. Metal accessories need to be kept away from commercial paint strippers as they can be damaged. Homeowners, or whoever is handling the DIY portion of the project, should also wear gloves and long sleeves to protect their eyes and skin.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

2. Commercial paint stripper

In any home goods store or building store, you can find a row of commercial paint strippers that come in plastic jugs, spray cans, or bottles. Take care to read the labels and find one meant specifically for wood rather than metal. If you know what kind of paint you need to remove—whether that is epoxy, varnish, or stain—ensure that the stripper is designed for that specific type of paint. You can either spray the stripper or apply it with a paintbrush to the surface of the wood. Work from the top down and ensure that you cover the entire painted surface area of the wood.

3. Paint scraper

After a few minutes, the stripper should have made the paint easy to remove from the wood. Using a plastic paint scraper, gently scrape the wooden surface to peel off the paint. Don’t apply too much pressure, which can mar the wood. Expect to reapply the stripper to stubborn sections.

Professional costs

If you are short on time or just don’t have the patience to tackle this project on your own, you can bring in a professional to strip the paint from any wooden surfaces. As you might expect, the cost will relate directly to the size of the project. A quality contractor might charge anywhere from $6 to $11 per square foot of wood that needs to be stripped, which should include any extra materials or supplies as well as labor.

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