How to Use Paint Stripper

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You don't have to tackle that paint removal project armed with just a sheet of sandpaper. Here's how to let paint stripper work for you.

Things You'll Need

  • Timers
  • Clean Rags
  • Paint Strippers
  • Plastic Sheets
  • Steel Wool
  • Turpentine
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Old Newspapers
  • Paint Scrapers
  • Safety Goggles
  • Decide which type of stripper you want to use: Liquid stripper will run on vertical surfaces; paste stripper needs to be kept moist; gel stripper costs a little bit more. (See Related eHows.)

  • Put down a thick layer of newspaper in a well-ventilated work area.

  • Apply stripper with a clean rag or follow the manufacturer's directions for application.

  • Put a liberal coat on the workpiece, making sure to get it into corners, cracks and crevices.

  • Check liquid and gel stripper progress after 10 to 15 minutes by scraping a small area with a paint scraper. If the paint is softened all the way down to bare wood, the stripper is done. If not, put more stripper on the scraped area and wait 5 more minutes.

  • Let paste stripper sit for a few hours (follow manufacturer's recommendation) after covering it with a sheet of plastic to keep it moist. Use a paint scraper to remove the loosened paint once the stripper has done its job.

  • Rub paint out of crevices and deep ornamentation with steel wool.

  • Clean off leftovers - rubbing with the grain - with a ball of steel wool dipped in stripper.

  • Rinse the workpiece with water or turpentine (read the stripper label).

  • Let the workpiece dry completely before you prime and finish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use squares of burlap on oak because steel wool tends to stain the wood.
  • Chemical strippers are potentially dangerous. Wear protective goggles and rubber gloves while working with them.
  • Always work in a well-ventilated area, and never smoke near stripping chemicals.
  • Keep pets and kids away from your work area.

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