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How to remove paint from wood: 3 methods to try

Read on to find out how to remove paint, with pros and cons of different methods you could use.

Updated

person painting on wood

Looking to refresh your home by removing paint from doors, window panes or furniture to reveal attractive wood underneath; or simply prepare them for a repaint? Here we’ll assess different methods for how to remove paint. If you're wanting further DIY inspiration and project ideas, why not try fixing up old furniture?

Once you know how to strip paint, keep a good quality cleaner to hand to clean up any mess you make in the wood stripping process.

How to strip paint from wood: Tips, tricks, pros and cons of 3 paint removal methods

Below we will share three guides for how to remove paint from wood, with pros and cons to each method.

Method one: Use a heat gun to remove paint

Using a paint stripper heat gun is surprisingly simple. Applying heat to the paint on wood softens it, making it easier to scrape away. If you’re using a heat gun to remove paint, make sure you keep the area well ventilated and cover your mouth and nose to avoid breathing in the fumes.

Pros:

  • A quick and easy way to remove paint.
  • It minimises dust.
  • It is a great way to remove old paint, and paint with lots of layers.
Cons:
  • There is a risk you could burn or char the wood.
  • It produces fumes.
  • Adding heat to wood has the potential to start a fire.

Method two: Use a paint stripper

Paint strippers are readily available in shops up and down the country and come in the form of liquid, gel or paste. They work by dissolving the paint. Always keep the area well ventilated and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

Pros:

  • There is no dust created.
  • Pro: Paint strippers won’t lead to chips or damage.
  • Pro: If you have something with an awkward shape or hard to reach spots, these are a great choice.
Cons:
  • Chemical strippers have a strong smell.
  • Using chemical strippers can be messy.
  • Removing paint with a chemical stripper can be a slow process.

Method three: Try sanding the wood

While sandpaper and elbow grease will do the trick, we recommend power sanding disks or clapboard sanders. This will grind away the paint.

Pros:

  • Sanding is a great technique for large, flat surfaces.
  • If you have outdoor wood that needs paint stripping, sanding is ideal.

Cons:

  • It produces a lot of dust.
  • Sanding is not very effective on lead-based paint.

With this guide you now know how to remove paint from wood safely and efficiently, with the pros and cons of different methods.

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Originally published