Paint Stripper

Sometimes a full paint removal is necessary, and then you need a paint stripper. You can combine a shave-hook with either a heat gun or a chemical paint stripper. The latter always were the most hazardous of substances, but, good news: an eco-friendly stripping agent has become available. Scroll down for more...

Can of paint stripper

Chemical paint strippers

Chemical paint strippers can be used for ridding the more tenacious paints: strong acyrlics, oil based paints or strong latex paints. In the regular paint store, chemical paintstrippers are available - nasty stuff that burns on your skin. This is probably why, at, they only sell it in a spray can - check here for Krylon paint/varnish stripper. But read on, there's more.

Eco-safe paint strippers

Very surprising: an actual range of paint stripping products can be found at Ecosafetyproducts - a site for non-toxic and sustainable building materials. Here eco-safe soy-based paints are sold, and also soy-based paint strippers.

  • For the regular job, use the Soy-it paint and adhesive stripper (49 dollars a gallon).
  • For tackling strong polyurethane paint layers, use Soy-it polyurethane stripper (58 dollars a gallon)
  • For stripping off lead-based paint layers (old oil-based paint), use Soy-it lead paint&HD stripper (only in 5-gallon drums, or larger)

You can find and order them here - Ecosafety paint strippers. They're available in small samples as well (2 oz, for 3 dollars), then you can check if this promise is really made true. Because it does sound good - an eco-safe way to get rid of old paint layers.

The effects of a chemical paint stripper

Effects of a chemical paint stripper

When do you need to strip off paint?

Stripping paint is quite a job, but sometimes it's just necessary:

  • Reason nr. 1: Too much paint layers. When your wood trim is covered in a whole pack of paint layers, it needs to be stripped.
  • The other nr 1: your object was painted with the wrong paint (and is peeling, chipping or crumbling off).
  • When the old paint layer (and its primer) comes loose, you can shave-hook, scrape and sand, and caulk - or just take it all off.
  • When you can't define the nature of your old paint layer, maybe it's better to just get rid of it.

Stripping of old paint layers is the most thorough preparation for the job. But if the primer layer is still good, and you know your old paint layer is a suitable ground for your new paint, then you can do with just sanding.

Working with a heat gun

A heat gun can do good work, but it does need some careful attention. You need to heat just long enough, to loosen the whole paint layer, but not burn the material underneath it. Be very careful near windows - the window my crack when one spot of glass gets too hot. After heating, it's rather easy to scrape off the paint with a shave hook. It's good to invest some money in a good and sharp shave-hook, in the right shape. You really take off material, and need to take care that you re-shape your wood trim in the right shape. And: sometimes it's not sure what fumes will come out of your paint, when it's heated - so make sure to open the windows first.

Stripping paint with a heat gun

Before and after the paint stripper

Before using a chemical paint stripper, be very careful about protecting your other stuff (floor, furniture), and have a bucket of warm water standing by for cleaning, should you make a drip or so in the wrong place. While working with the heat gun, you also scrape and shave. The paint is soft while it's still hot.

After either the chemical paint stripper or the heat gun, you still need to do some scraping, cleaning and sanding. Everything that comes off is also hazardous to your floor and furniture (especially when wet with chemical paint stripper).

After using a chemical paint stripper, be sure to clean the surface well (with warm water and an abrasive sponge). Let everything dry for a night, or use a water-fast sanding pad or paper. Steel-wool sponges are good for that too. The only danger with theat: metal sponges are strongly abrasive - you might alter the shape of your wood trim, when rubbing to much on the edges.

Related pages:

Oil Painting Techniques

Acrylic Painting

Watercolor painting

Color Schemes

Interior Painting techniques

Interior Painting Ideas


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