Do you have to strip wood before painting?

Do you have to strip wood before painting?

This is a question that most people ask themselves when painting a piece of wooden furniture. However, your answer will depend on your answer to a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself.

Do you have to strip wood before painting?

Here are some situations when to strip furniture and when not to strip furniture.

When to strip wood

  • If the wood has lots of scratches and it looks pretty beaten up, then stripping is a great idea.
  • If the paint on your wood is too old it’s necessary to remove it all because the bonding between the two paints will be too weak and you will notice defects on the painted wood.
  • If there are dampness and efflorescence on the wood, you’ll need to scrape off all the paint and treat the defects before applying new paint.
  • If you want to restore wooden furniture to its original wood stain or go natural and it has been painted, you’ll need to strip away the paint using a chemical stripper.
  • If the wood has a darker color or shade and you want a lighter color, then stripping it down will give you a fresh start.

When not to strip wood

  • If your wood only has a few scratches that you can easily repair using wood repair makers. You just fill the scratches then seal the wood.
  • If you want to change the color of your wood from light to dark and it’s still in good condition, you can just go ahead and paint it.
  • If the wood only has dents, you can use steam and iron to straighten them.
  • If the wood only has a few spots and stains on the old paint, you can repaint it with the same color as the paint.
  • If your wood has gouges, cracks, and chips, it will require a lot of wood filler and it will be hard to cover up all that wood filler with a coat of stain. Although it’s stainable, it won’t blend well with your wood, but you can paint it to hide the filler.

How to remove paint from wood

It can be very difficult to remove paint from wood if you don’t know what you’re doing. There are different methods you can use depending on the one that will work well for you.

Sanding method

This is one of the easiest methods of removing paint on your wood. You can easily get sandpaper from a hardware store and you don’t need to use any special equipment. Get the rough sandpaper for removing most of the paint, and smoother sandpaper to polish off the wood underneath.

If it’s a big project, an electric sander will be a better choice because sanding can be hard and frustrating as the sandpaper will get clogged with paint. Make sure you’re sanding following the wood grain to avoid scratching the wood surface. Ensure the wood is completely dry as wet wood is difficult to sand and can damage the sandpaper and wood. The course side of the sandpaper will leave a rough surface on your wood so you’ll need to smoothen it with the fine-grain sandpaper. The finer sandpaper will remove all traces of paint and smoothen off the rough surface.

After sanding and polishing, use a rug dipped lightly in paint solvent to remove any wood dust on your wood or use a brush if it’s a small piece of wood. Ensure the surface is smooth then sweep the wood dust on the floor.

Heat gun method

This is a much easier option for removing paint on wood than sanding, but it’s more dangerous. First, you need to wear gloves, goggles, and a face mask and make sure you have some water close by so that your wood doesn’t catch fire. Hold the heat gun 6-8 inches away from the painted wooden surface and slowly move it over the surface, but don’t leave it to rest at one place for too long so that your wood doesn’t burn. Once the paint starts to bubble and wrinkle, use a broad paint scraper to remove the paint. Do this in small sections till you’ve done the entire wood. Use sandpaper to remove any remaining paint that you couldn’t remove with the heat and scraper.

Chemical stripper method

This is a simple and effective way of stripping paint from wood. You first need to select the right type of stripper because they vary depending on the purpose you want to use it for. Simply follow the instructions on your paint stripper and the safety recommendations. It’s easier to apply the paint stripper if you pour it in a spray bottle and spray 4 inches away from the wood, or use a paintbrush to cover your wood with the stripper brushing in one direction.

Don’t brush over the areas you’ve already painted. Leave it for about 30 minutes to an hour then scrap the paint away using a metal paint scraper or a spatula to scrape all the weak paint away. Use sandpaper or an electric sander to smoothen the surface and get the difficult places. Soak a cloth in a bit of paint solvent to was and remove any remaining chemical stripper. Sand and polish then paint.

Scraping method

You can use a scraper if the paint is thick or if there are large blobs on the wooden surface. First, sharpen both sides of the scraper to make it easy to scrape off the paint. If it’s still hard, apply some water, spirit, or vinegar and keep sharpening your scraper after some time as it will get blunt. With this method, you have to be careful not to scrape off the wood with the paint. To avoid this from happening, scrape off the paint calmly in a straight position. This method is ideal for wooden and polished floors.

Refinishing wood

If you’re going to varnish your wood, you just need to coat it with clear timber varnish or a polisher but don’t apply too much, just 3 coats are enough. First apply the polishing coat then sand your wood, then apply the second layer of coating then sand our wood again with fine grains. When you apply the last coat don’t sand. You can then paint your wood using one direction and wait for each coat to dry before applying the next coat then add a protective coating if you want.

So, do you have to strip wood before painting?

The answer will depend on many factors, in some cases, you will need to strip off all the paint then repaint, while in other cases you can repaint over the existing old paint.


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