Painted furniture and architectural trim can look nice, protects the wood and can even be repainted numerous times. Nevertheless, there can come a time when its necessary to remove the paint, especially if the article is to be returned back to its original condition, with a varnished finish on it.
There are two basic ways of removing paint; mechanically or chemically. Mechanically basically means sanding off the old paint. This can be done with sandpaper, Scotchbrite wheels in a drill, or even a plane, if you have one that is the right shape. However, chemical paint removal is much more common than mechanical, and is done with paint removers.
Paint removers soften the existing paint, so that it can be scraped off the piece of furniture or architectural molding. It doesnt usually fully dissolve the paint, but merely makes it possible for you to remove it with a putty knife or other tool. That way, you dont have the dissolved paint running all over and staining other pieces.
Regardless of this, removing paint is an extremely messy proposition. So, whenever you do it, youll want to make sure that youve got drop cloths down to catch the drips and the paint that youre removing. Keep in mind that the paint remover can also attack the finish on hardwood floors; so if you are removing paint in a room that has hardwood floors, be sure to use waterproof drop cloths; possibly rubber backed canvas or plastic backed paper.
It is necessary to choose a paint remover that works well with the paint product you are removing. That isnt always easy to determine, as you probably wont know what types of paint were applied beforehand. With antique furniture and homes older than 50 years old, you can pretty much be assured that at least the earlier layers of paint are oil-based. Most things done in the last 40 years were painted with latex paint. Even so, theres a grey area there, where you may not be sure what type of paint was used. For this reason, it is often necessary to do a test spot first, verifying that the product you chose will work for your project.
If your project has a lot of vertical surface, it can be very useful to use a paint remover thats in a gel form. That way, it wont run off the surface. Another important factor is how quickly the solvents in the paint thinner evaporate. Evaporated paint thinner doesnt help you at remove anything.
Many modern paint removers are made from organic materials and designed to function with zero or very low VOCs. This is great if the product will work for your needs, but often, these products are slower, when used on certain types of paint.
Regardless of what type of paint remover you choose to use, be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully. In many cases, you will need some protective equipment, such as rubber gloves, eye protection and possibly a respirator in some cases. Attention to safety is important as some of these chemicals can be very dangerous.
This product is used by many professional furniture refinishers. This product is gentle on wood, won't damage veneers and wont' raise the wood grain. Read Full Review
Kutzit is used by many professional furniture refinishers for removal of paint and varnish. This is a liquid product, which works well on horizontal surfaces. However, it is not thick enough to use on vertical surfaces without running. It is also excellent for cleaning out paint and varnish from fine carved detail. This paint remover is gentle on the wood, wont damage veneers and wont raise the wood grain. Cleaned surfaces can be prepared for new finish with a scraper and washed with paint thinner.
3M provides a water-based paint stripper, which provides for extremely easy cleanup. It is also biodegradable, so it can be rinsed right down the drain. Read Full Review
This is a water-based paint stripper. As such, it is great for indoor use, as there are no harmful fumes or VOCs to concern yourself with. It also cleans up with water, making the clean up part of the job go much faster and easier. It is also biodegradable, so it can be rinsed right down the drain. A gel or semi-paste consistency, this stripper works well with both horizontal and vertical surfaces, without dripping. So safe, you dont even need to wear gloves when using it.
This unique product changes colors when it's ready to be removed. You can strip as many as seven layers of paint at one time, saving time and work. Read Full Review
This is a very unique product in that it changes color when it has finished dissolving the paint and its time to scrape it off. You can also remove up to seven layers of paint with a single application. This stripper takes about an hour to function. An environmentally safe product, it is biodegradable, non-flammable and odor free. Cleanup is easily accomplished with water. The stripper is a semi-paste, so works well for removing paint on vertical surfaces.
Dad's has been around for about half of forever, and is a name trusted by many. This product comes with its own spray bottle for application. Although a thin liquid, it turns to a gel when sprayed, making it excellent for both horizontal and vertical surfaces. Read Full Review
This paint remover is designed for spraying on and even comes complete with a special chemical-resistant spray bottle. Although thin enough to spray, it clings well to vertical surfaces. As it sprays, it gels, providing it with the viscosity necessary to stick to those vertical surfaces. This also makes the product go twice as far as brushed-on removers, as well as getting into corners and other difficult spots well. A non-flammable liquid, this thinner also cleans up with water only.
If you're looking for speed, this is the fastest acting paint stripper on the market. However, it is designed just for use on metal; don't use it on wood surfaces. Read Full Review
This is the fastest acting paint remover on the market; able to stripping multiple layers of paint at the same time. This stripper will work on almost all types of coatings, including automotive finishes. However, it is designed only for use on metal substrates, not wood. If used on wood, it will cause staining of the surface. The stripper comes in an 18 oz. spray can, allowing for easy and highly controlled application; putting the stripper right where you want it.