How Do You Strip Paint?


Quick Answer

Strip paint by applying a nontoxic paint stripper, allowing the product to work and scraping away the paint. Stripped wood requires sanding and priming before applying the finish coat.

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Full Answer

  1. Apply the nontoxic stripper

    While it is possible to strip wood using a heat gun or sander, surfaces painted before 1978 are likely to have lead based paint. Heating or sanding these surfaces releases lead into the air, leaving chemical removal the only acceptable method. Older strippers used methylene chloride, which is toxic. Nontoxic strippers commonly feature water or citrus bases and are much more environmentally friendly. Apply the product with a brush.

  2. Allow the product to work

    Follow the manufacturer's directions to determine how much time to wait before removing the stripper and paint. You should see the paint to start to crackle and peel.

  3. Remove the paint and stripper

    Some of these strippers are effective enough that spraying with water at the end of the cycle removes the old paint, but most require the use of a manual scraper for removal.

  4. Prepare the surface for painting

    Use sandpaper to remove any irregularities in the surface, beginning with a coarse grade and moving through progressively finer grades to remove the scratch marks from the previous sanding. Apply primer to the bare wood to prepare it for the finish coat.

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