Restoring ancient pieces of furniture can be a very rewarding endeavor if only it is done right. It might be an antique wooden piece or an old wooden floor smothered in the old, nasty varnish that craves some TLC. Either way, the most common means of removing paint from wood is by sanding the surface. The unfortunate bit is that this is a very tedious and inefficient method. What’s more, there is a high chance of damaging the underlying wood surface if the sanding is not done properly.
Fortunately, paint strippers provide you with a more convenient and faster alternative to sanding. These contemporary products are relatively safe and easy to use, making them an ideal pick for your next paint removal DIY project. Herein, we will discuss how to choose and use the best paint-stripping products in today’s market.
What do professionals use to strip paint off wood?
Tools and Materials
To effectively remove paint using a paint stripper, there are certain items that you must have. These include:
A clean damp cloth–
- This is an important item in the preparation phase. You are required to remove any debris, dust, or dirt from the wood surface prior to applying the paint stripper. This is where the piece of damp cloth comes in as it will wipe away any dirt without damaging the wood.
An old paintbrush–
- The most effective paint strippers come in gel form. Therefore, it is prudent to use an old paintbrush that you can throw away afterward to spread these products on your wood surface given that gel is very stubborn to wash away from brushes after drying.
- Once you have applied the stripper and let it dry, you will need a sharp object to scrape away the dried product. Most manufacturers advise users to utilize a stripping knife or scraper for this purpose. However, steel wool might also come in handy, albeit with the use of protective gloves.
- This solvent is used to wash or degrease the wood surface after all the stripped product is removed. In some cases, water could also be used to wash the surface. The important thing is to ensure the active chemical is fully neutralized.
- This piece of protective wear helps protect you from the stripper’s chemical fumes.
Goggles & Gloves–
- These are also safety amenities meant to protect you from any stripper spills.
- Due to its corrosive nature, paint strippers can damage your work area. For this reason, it is advisable to spread a drop sheet below the wooden item as a protective measure. Alternatively, you can also use old newspapers or a tarp for the same purpose.
Selecting the Best Paint Remover for Wood Furniture
When choosing a paint remover to effectively remove paint from wood in your DIY project, it’s crucial to evaluate several factors. You need to consider the product’s ease of use, effectiveness, and toxicity. The best option is one that has the least toxicity, is considerably easy to use, and has the least drying time without compromising effectiveness. All these factors considered, Max Strip Paint & Varnish Citrus Stripper stands out as the best paint remover in today’s market.
Max Strip Paint & Varnish Citrus Stripper
This is a remarkable stripping product based on its ability to remove several layers of paint in as little as 15 minutes. Additionally, it is a gel, which allows it to stick conveniently to flat or vertical surfaces without dripping. Max Strip is also highly versatile as it removes vanishes, shellac, polyurethane, and lacquers, as well as oil, solvent, and water-based paints. It is strong enough for building contractors as well as DIYers. In terms of toxicity, this paint stripper is arguably one of the best as it is free of methylene chloride, has a high VOC, and is recommended for indoor and outdoor use due to the lack of harsh fumes. Max Strip goes a step further to include a sweet citrus odor that balances out any strong fumes.
What is the strongest paint remover?
Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover
Another contender for the best paint-removing product is Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover which boasts of a non-drip, odor-free, and zero methylene chloride formulation. It is arguably the best option for indoor projects in areas with little to no ventilation. However, it only works with post-1980 paints and has a drying time of up to 48 hours.
Citristrip & Varnish Stripping Gel
This stripping product is reputed for its versatility, non-toxicity, and alluring citrus flavor. While other alternatives contain a choking odor, Citristrip is infused with a citrus fragrance that allows you to use it even in enclosed spaces. What’s more, it is easy to spread, is free of methylene chloride, and is highly versatile with the ability to remove lacquer, varnish, shellac, latex paints, oil-based paints, or shellac. Its only drawback is its lengthy dry time of 24 hours.
how to use paint stripper on wood
To get optimal results from Barrettine’s Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover, there are certain steps you need to follow. These include:
I. Ensure a Safe Working Environment
- Spread a tarp, drop sheet, or old newspaper on the surface below
- Put on necessary protective wear: gloves, face mask, and goggles
- Wear old clothes to avoid staining or damaging attire
II. Prepare the Surface
- Wipe and lightly score the paint to enhance stripper performance
- Avoid scoring paints applied before 1970
III. Apply the Stripper
- Dollop the gel onto the target surface
- Generously spread the gel using a paintbrush
- Apply liberal coats, working on one square meter at a time
IV. Allow Drying Time
- Wait for 10 to 15 minutes for the gel to dry
- The coating should start blistering when fully dry
V. Remove the Dried Product
- Use a scraper or striping knife to remove the dried gel
- Alternatively, steel wool can be used with appropriate protective gloves
VI. Repeat if Needed
- Treat stubborn areas with additional applications as necessary
VII. Clean the Wood Surface
- Wash away any active solvent on the wood surface
- Use plain water or white spirit for cleaning
Troubleshooting: Paint Stripper Not Working
Noteworthy, some paint strippers might not work effectively with old or modern paints. The chemical makeup and formulations used to manufacture these products have evolved over the years. Therefore, paint strippers that were manufactured using old formulations might be ineffective against paints made using modern formulations, and vice versa. It is paramount to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions before choosing a paint stripper.
Case in point, Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Stripper only works for paints made post-1980, while Max Strip works for both old and modern paints although the manufacturer requires you to slightly sand down modern paint surfaces prior to application for optimal results.
Conclusion: ways to remove paint without sanding
In sum, using paint remover is a more convenient and faster means of removing paint than sanding. However, for optimal results, you need to choose the best stripper for the job and follow the instructions to the letter. Pick a stripper that complements the believed dating of the painted surface and observe all safety prerequisites beforehand, including covering the working surface and wearing protective gear. It is also prudent to wipe the target surface prior to applying the stripper and lightly scoring it if the manufacturer requires it.