Removing paint or varnish can be tedious, frustrating, and even dangerous to your health. Fortunately, there are many ways to accomplish this task, and with a little research, you will find the most effective – and safest – way for you.
Strippers to remove paint
For many years, chemical strippers have been popular substances for removing or removing paint, especially hard to remove enamels and varnishes. However, caution and caution should be used in using these chemicals, as many contain harmful solvents and other caustic materials.
Many conventional strippers contain methylene chloride which is very harmful because it evaporates very quickly and is easy to inhale.
The plant-based and organic strippers available today are less dangerous. However, just because a stripper is a plant-based or labeled organic does not mean that it is not dangerous to your health if proper precautions are not taken.
When using chemical strippers of any kind, always wear chemical gloves, safety goggles to protect the eyes, and appropriate breathing protection.
The basic method of using a chemical stripper is to start with the top of the stripping area and work your way down taking care to introduce the stripper into cracks, crevices, and hard-to-penetrate locations.
When the gel begins to take effect and you can see the top layer of the paint bubbling, start to scrape it off. You will likely need to do this three or four times before reaching bare wood.
Scrapers and sanders to remove paint
Sometimes scraping or sanding is preferable to stripping paint. Pickling wood paneling from a house before repainting would take too long and would not be an inexpensive operation.
There are some specialized tools for removing paint from wood coatings, but most of the time contractors use conventional tools for scraping and sanding. The key is to first wash the surface, using a pressure washer (be careful not to get water behind the material) or a bucket of soapy water, a stiff-bristled brush, and a garden hose.
This will peel off those loose paint areas and expose other areas that are more difficult to peel off and then scrape or sand.
If there are areas where the paint still adheres to the surface, smooth the edges with a sander. This will make those areas less visible under the new coat of paint and strengthen the bond between the new and old paint.
Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment when sanding or scraping paint.
Heat guns to remove paint
Heat guns can help you easily lift difficult paint, but require careful attention. Vapors emanating from hot paint when using a heat gun can be very dangerous, so use some form of respiratory protection.
Heat the surface just enough to smooth the material, but do not singe the underlying material. Hold the nozzle of the heat gun about 2 inches from the surface and move it from side to side constantly in a small area until the paint begins to create bubbles and blisters. If the surface begins to smoke, remove the heat gun immediately.
Scrape off paint or bubbling varnish with a putty knife, finish scraper or razor hook. Work in the larger, easier areas, and then return to the areas that require more detail work.