There are many methods for removing paint from wooden accessories around the home. Some are more labour intensive than others such as sanding and scraping.
When it comes to removing paint from wood you need to first identify which type of paint has been used.
Varnish, gloss and oils will all need different methods to be successfully removed.
This easy to understand guide will explain how to effectively remove paint from wood around the home such as:
- Spindles, newel posts and handrails
- Skirting boards, dado rails and picture rails
- Fireplaces and plinth surround
- Doors, frames and architraves
- Wooden furniture
Removing Gloss Paint From Wood
Gloss paint is the most labour intensive removal because it has a glossy finish and is designed to dry hard.
You cannot just paint over gloss because it will peel. So, removing the sheen and a layer of undercoat is enough to re-paint.
Tools Needed for Removing Gloss Paint:
- Goggles, mask and gloves for safety
- Paint remover
- Wire brush
- Scrappers 1″ and 2″
- Old paintbrush for applying the paint stripper
- Dust sheets or plastic sheeting for the floor
If you are removing gloss to varnish then you must remove all traces of gloss paint.
- Apply paint stripper until you see blisters (30-minutes)
- Use a scraper to remove the blisters
- Re-apply your paint stripper (20-minutes)
- Use the scraper again until you have removed all gloss paint
After your second layer of paint stripper, you should have now removed any gloss from your wood.
If you want to varnish then keep going with sandpaper and vinegar to help remove any stubborn patches.
TOP TIP: A small mouse sander is excellent at getting into all the groves and tricky spots.
Removing Oil & Varnish From Wood
Removing oil and varnish from wood is a must, especially if you are going to use gloss or satinwood.
Because oils and varnishes are waterproof they have to be removed so the new paint can dry without separating due to varnish and oils still in the wood.
You can use a paint stripper on varnish and oils but because oils and varnishes soak deep into your wood you will only remove the top layer.
Steps to remove varnish and oils from wood
The best way to remove varnish and oils from wood is:
- Apply your paint stripper or gel
- Use a scraper to gently remove the excess varnish/oil
- You only need to use one layer of paint stripper
- Once your wood is dry you must now start sanding
- Start with a rough grit sand pad
- Once your wood has become much lighter
- Use small grit sandpaper for smoothness
When your wood looks much lighter you have successfully removed the oil and varnish so you can re-paint or apply your chosen varnish or oils.
This job can take a lot of sanding so using a hand sander or woodblock will improve efficiency!
TOP TIP: Once you have removed the paint and stains use sugar soap to remove any grease so your first layer of paint or varnish does not shadow!
The Best Paint Strippers For Wood
Listed below are some of my favourite paint strippers that are low odour but just as effective.
They are suited for all types of paints from varnishes to gloss and satinwood. You should apply two coats of around 30minutes each.
Bartoline Paint & Varnish stripper
The Bartoline paint stripper provides an all-in-one stripper x2 500ml, sanding pad, gloves, brush and a scraper.
Their paint stripper solution is strong and will not cause dangerous fumes, but a window and safety wear is still a must!
Bartoline is Methylene Chloride free and suitable for any surface from metal, wood and stone.
I use this brand because I know it smells less and is still perfect at removing oils, varnish, gloss and other oil-based and water-based paints!
- Brand: Bartoline
- Paint type: All paints oil and water-based
- Method: Apply 30 minutes scrape away
- Volumes: Two 500ml bottles
- Accessories: Gloves, scraper, sanding block & brush
- Pricing: £26 – 30
Other Ways To Remove Paint – DIY
There are many different forms of paint strippers from gels to liquids, they all work similar and most are harmful to your health.
If you are looking for safer and less toxic ways when removing paint from wood then we have listed some tried and tested methods we know works.
- Soy-based paint removers (less smell but less effective)
- 50-50 water and citrus mix (oranges & lemons)
- Baking powder and water (3 tablespoons to 1/2 pint)
- Water and vinegar (great for oils and varnish)
- Heat gun for the first layer of gloss
TOP TIP: Never use a heat gun to remove paint from wood. You will damage and warp the wood you are stripping.
Conclusion – Removing Paint From Wood
Removing paint from any wooden accessories around the home can be labour intensive. But, the results are excellent if you put in the time you will notice a huge improvement.
Even if you are just removing to re-paint with a gloss, or satinwood your wooden profile will stand out better because it will not be loaded with paint.
After a few coats of paint, your architrave, spindles and rails plus other wooden accessories can be overloaded with paint making them look bumpy and uneven.
When using varnish, stains and oils you must remove all paint because you will notice patches and darker colours if you have not removed all the old varnish and oils.
Happy Painting 😉
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