One of the quickest and easiest ways to give any surface or piece of furniture a new lease of life is to add a fresh layer of paint to the wood.
However, with time, that new layer of paint you applied becomes yet more old paint.
Whatever way the paint starts to deteriorate and not look particularly attractive at all, whether you have a lumpy mess of binders and pigments or blisters and cracks here, there and everywhere on a surface, it needs to come off.
Rather than painting over the old with the new, it is better to remove the paint from the surface first. Then you have a new bare and smooth wooden surface to work with.
Best Ways to Remove Paint from Wood
Now, one of the least enjoyable jobs related to painting and decorating is undoubtedly removing paint. As well as being extremely boring (though that depends on which method you choose, more on that soon), it is also frustrating and just messy.
It doesn’t have to be that way, not if you use our guide below, which offers some great suggestions and tips. Whether you are removing paint from cabinets or something else wooden, you will hopefully find all you need and more right here. Obviously, paint strippers are an option. However, we will also look at using a heat gun too.
Consider Whether You Need a Pro
Before you go any further, work out whether you may be better off hiring a professional to handle the work. Particularly if it is too dangerous, complicated or too big for you to do yourself. There are a couple of alternatives to the DIY approach.
Do you have a lot of siding and trim to strip as quickly as possible? Perhaps you know for a fact there is lead paint used on some of the surfaces and are not equipped to get rid of it safely.
In either scenario, it may be worth investing in the services of a professional, who could come in and do your paint stripping for you.
The other option, if the wood that needs to be stripped is easy to move and is ornate in its design, is to have it sent off to a professional who using a dip tank. A dip tank is a special vat where pieces of wood can be soaked in liquid/chemical paint removers for quicker and more effective results.
If you are intent on doing it yourself, consider the following popular options. We have outlined some of the pros and cons for each.
Chemical strippers such as pastes, gels, and liquids dissolve the paint. There are no paint chips, no dust and they are perfect for those ornate details that we spoke about before. The issue with these kinds of strippers is that they are slow-acting, smelly and very messy.
Sanders, whether its clapboard sanders or those power sander disks, grind the paint down. Perfect for large and flat surfaces outdoors. However, we wouldn’t recommend using them on indoor hobs or paint with a lead content, unless you have the sander connected to a vacuum to collect the debris and dust.
One truly effective way to soften even the thickest layers of pain is to use heat. One of the challenges with using heat guns and other heat-producing tools is finding the best optimum temperature.
If you set it too high, you could cause harmful vapors to be released into the atmosphere, burn the wood or even cause a domestic fire. However, if you set it too low the job will take a very long time to complete.
These tools resemble hairdryers and blast out concentrated hot air through a little nozzle. Although they tend to come with both low and high settings, dangerous incidents can occur when they are set to the lowest setting, so you need to be especially careful if you choose this option.
Pretty self-explanatory, but infrared devices utilize infrared rays to warm paint up and loosen the bond it has between the surface or substrate without creating too much dust or noise.
Unlike some of the alternatives, infrared devices work exceptionally fast. Just one 30-second long blast could soften up over a decade’s worth of paint.
Unlike heat guns, they also maintain the temperature of paint to lower than 500-degrees Fahrenheit. That is lower than the temperature wood ignites at.
There is also a major benefit in the fact that infrared devices draw out moisture from wooden surfaces you are stripping, which helps them hold new layers of paint better.
The only major downside with infrared devices is that they are cumbersome and not great for working in awkward and tight areas.
Another option is using the power of steam to remove paint. These kinds of strippers don’t need to heat the paint more than 212-degrees Fahrenheit, completely removing the risk of fires occurring.
The condensation created reduces the amount of fumes and dust generated. However, the downside of this method is that it generates a significant volume of moisture and can saturate the wood.