How to Remove Multiple Layers of Paint

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Chemical strippers are the most effective and efficient way to remove multiple layers of paint. The other option is using a heat gun and a sander which takes considerably longer and in the end it is difficult to remove all the paint. Chemical strippers penetrate through the layers which allows you to easily scrape the old paint off. While using chemical stripper, iIt is necessary to wear protective clothing and ventilate the area where you are working.

Things You'll Need

  • Tarps
  • Cardboard
  • Newspapers
  • Chemical stripper
  • Metal pan
  • Paint brush
  • Paint scraper
  • Putty knife
  • Steel wool/abrasive pad
  • Mineral spirits
  • Rags
  • Protect the floor with heavy duty painter's tarps to prevent the stripper from damaging the floor. Place cardboard and newspapers around the areas you are working on to catch the paint as it is scraped off. This makes disposal of the old paint easier and faster.

  • Purchase a good quality paste chemical stripper at the local paint store. The thick paste will penetrate through multiple layers of paint. It also clings to overhead and vertical areas.

  • Pour part of the stripper into a metal pan with a wide open mouth that fits your paint brush.

  • Apply the chemical stripper to the painted area with a good quality brush. Brush in one direction. Work on one section of the room at a time. For example, start with the windows, doors, and door frames on one side of the room. Read the instructions to determine how long the stripper needs to remain on the paint before being scraped off.

  • Scrape the layers of paint off with a paint scraper or putty knife. Push the paint downwards so that the old layers drop to the floor. After the majority of the paint has been removed switch to steel wool or an abrasive pad to remove the last bits of paint. Apply more paste to stubborn areas that are difficult to clean. Continue the process until the bare wood is exposed.

  • Wipe the bare wood with mineral spirits and a clean rag to remove the chemical residue from the wood..

  • Roll up the old paint in the newspaper and cardboard and place it in the outdoor garbage cans.

Tips & Warnings

  • Open windows and set up a couple of fans to ensure good ventilation for the room you are working in.
  • Take breaks every fifteen minutes and go outside for fresh air.
  • Wear protective clothing such as a hat, eye protection, a long sleeve shirt, and gloves when applying the stripper.

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