Dip-stripping is quick and inexpensive in comparison to hand-stripping, but dip-stripping is not always the most effective option for newer doors and dark woods such as oak and mahogany, states Dip A Door. Many modern doors are assembled with glue rather than traditional hardware. Most dipping solutions contain agents that break down water-soluble glues, causing the veneer panels to separate.
The dip-stripping process is most effective on older doors, especially those with several old coats of paint, as long as the door is made of a light-colored wood and does not contain dark-tinted stains. Darker colors require deeper penetration into the wood and increase the chances of removing the wood grain along with the paint.
Wood doors painted after 1980 often have at least one coat of water-based paint. The dipping solution is a heavily diluted mixture of chemicals, and it contains too much water to effectively dissolve most water-based paints. Products containing cellulose present difficulties as well. These paints bind with the top layer of wood and may cause damage to the grain.
Dip-stripping is often a cost-effective option for solid wood doors, but there are always risks associated with the procedure. The chemicals in the dipping solution draw moisture away from the door which may result in cracking or warping, even in doors that are ideal candidates for dipping, warns Period House Restoration.