Take It Off! 3 Tips For Using Paint Strippers

Refinishing old pieces of furniture can be a great way to breathe new life into an outdated piece. Before you can start to transform your old furniture, you will need to strip each piece down to the bare wood so that you have a clean canvas to work with.

A chemical paint stripper can be the most effective way to get rid of paint, varnish, and stain, but you will need to use these products properly to avoid serious safety hazards.

1. Check the ingredient list for water.

Many chemical paint strippers can be dangerous. If they come into contact with bare skin, you may experience severe chemical burns. The fumes produced by chemical paint strippers can be dangerous to your eyes and lungs as well. If you are looking for a less toxic paint stripper, you will want to check the ingredient list for water.

Water-based strippers might take a bit longer to fully strip away old finishes, but they are a lot safer for beginners to use. Be sure that you plan some additional time for sanding when utilizing a water-based paint stripper. The water molecules can cause the grain of the wood to swell a bit, and light sanding will be required to smooth out the surface of your old furnishings before you begin renovations.

2. Always use a metal container.

It's a lot easier to work with paint strippers when you remove them from their original container and pour them into a large pan. This allows you to dip your brush into the product with ease.

Be sure that you invest in a disposable metal pan and a cheap brush that can be tossed out after a single use. Many chemical paint strippers can eat through plastic, so using a plastic pan could leave you with a serious mess on your hands. The metal pans sold at your local hardware store will provide a safe and accessible container for your paint strippers.

3. Opt for a paste rather than a liquid.

Paint strippers come in many different formulas. When you are working with old furniture, it's best to invest in a paste or semi-paste formula. Liquid paint strippers can be difficult to control on vertical surfaces.

A paste will adhere to the vertical surfaces of your furnishings without running or dripping. This allows you to maximize the effectiveness of your stripping efforts and reduce the amount of time and product waste required to strip away old finishes from your furnishings.