The Best Ways to Remove Paint


Before you can repaint furniture or walls, you may need to remove the original paint. Removing paint on older homes, such as Victorian or mission style homes, that have walls and wood moldings with layers of paint, is necessary prior to repainting the walls and refinishing the woods in order to return them to their original finishes that are more in keeping with their styles.

Scraping and Sanding Methods

  • Remove old paints by scraping or sanding the surface of the objects. Scraping using a spackling applicator, also known as a spackle remover, is a great way to remove several layers of paints on a flat surface, such as a wall or a piece of furniture. Follow the direction of the grain of the wood to avoid damaging the wood. Use sandpaper, wire or a steel brush to remove paint from the corners or crevices of woods, such as those found on intricate wood moldings and furnishings. Use a flat-head screwdriver to reach inside the grooves of woodcarvings. Use an electric hand-held sander to remove paints that can't be removed by using just plain sandpaper.

Heating Method

  • Using a heat gun to remove paint works not only on wood or walls, but also on painted metals. Using heat methods instead of scraping can minimize damage caused by sharp or abrasive materials. Point the heat gun approximately 5 inches away from the wood, and then move left to right. Do not allow the heat gun to stay in one spot long enough to burn the wood, causing darkening of the surface from excessive heat.

Paint Strippers

  • Use paint strippers or chemicals to remove paint. There are four common types of chemical removers--liquids, brushables, sprayables and aerosols. Liquids are good for removing one or two layers of paint; they dry too quickly for many layers of paint. Liquids are good for detail areas or irregular surfaces. Brushables are thick and paste-like in consistency.and can remove thick or heavy layers of paint (up to 10 or more). Sprayables come in spray bottles or sprayers and are best for removing thin layers of paint. Aerosols are the most convenient and fast to use. They can remove thick layers of paint and also work for smaller jobs or detail work. The chemicals mentioned here are all water-washable. Use a hose to water down the clinging paint. You can use a scraper if hosing is not enough.

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