Never underestimate the power of a lick of paint! Rejuvenate the look of wooden items with your trusty paintbrush and a pot of good quality paint.
But, before you do that, you need to make sure all surfaces are fully-prepped.
Ideally, they should be a clean and bare, so stripping off old paint before you begin is a wise move. However, this isn’t always an easy task.
Our Recommended 5 Best Paint Strippers For Wood
Thankfully, there are a few tried and tested methods available to make the job a little less challenging.
You can strip paint from wood manually, chemically or by using a heat gun, and there are a number of different products available for you to buy.
As there’s so much choice we decided to do some of the legwork on your behalf. Take a look at our guide to find your best paint stripper for wood.
#1: SEEKONE Hot Air Gun Kit
- 2 modes I: 50℃-450℃, 190-210L/min; II: 50℃-600℃, 250-500L/min.
- Heats up to 600℃ in seconds
- Black dial provides rheostat-type heating
- High / low switch on handle provides air flow control
- Overload protector prevents damage to your heat gun/circuit
- Ergonomic handle prevents repetitive strain injuries and other disorders
- Integrated support provides greater stability
- 1.6m cable
- 24 hours support team on hand to answer your queries
- 5 different nozzles allow you to alter air flow and heat
- 2 accessories included: scraper and putty knife
Anything You Should Know?
- Safety conscious users suggest this gun should be used for no longer than approximately 20 minutes at a time, to prevent over-heating
- The cable is on the shorter side. You can use an extension lead, but take care.
#2: VonHaus 2000W Heat Gun
- Two operating temperatures: 350°C – Min with 250L/min airflow and 550°C – Max with 550L/min
- Incorporates a thermostat to prevent overheating, and to prolong tool life
- Comes with 4 different nozzles to choose from
- Ergonomically designed with optimal weight distribution – designed for easy use
- Vertical resting base – gun can cool down safely
- Cable Length: 1.8m
- Automatic shut off function
- Made with strengthened PP composite for durability
- 2 year warranty
Anything You Should Know?
- The buttons are quite touch-sensitive, so make sure you are always point the heat gun in the right direction – aiming the heat where you need it.
#3: Nitromors All Purpose Paint and Varnish Remover
- Non-Drip Gel with Colour Indicator
- Ideal for vertical applications
- Speedy blistering
- Paints on in green so you can see which areas you’ve covered
- 4 litre tub
Anything You Should Know?
- A 2-litre tin of Nitromors should be enough to strip around 5 square meters (that’s approximately 3 wooden doors)
- You might have to use more than one application for the desired results
#4: RUSTINS STNF500 Strypit 500ml
- Non caustic gel
- Effective on wood, metal, glass and stone
- Gel consistency – can be used on a vertical surface
- Removes multiple coats of paint
- Non drip
- Does not contain Methylene Chloride (DCM)
- Orange coloured to help you see where the liquid has been applied
- Water and solvent washable
Anything You Should Know:
- Rustins is highly flammable (liquid and vapour) and has a very strong scent.
- You will need to apply a liberal coat and allow it to thoroughly penetrate the surface (for best results use two coats).
#5: Bahco 665 Carbide Edged Heavy Duty Paint Scraper
- Use to scrape paint from wood, metal and concrete
- Cemented carbide blade (lasts 50 times longer than a steel blade)
- Can be used with 50 and 65mm blade
- Lightweight:104 g
- Easy grip handle – wide angle between the blade and handle for additional knuckle space.
- Slim-line design – can be used in tight spaces
Anything You Should Know:
- The Bahco scraper works best for light to medium jobs.
- Keep the blade sharp by investing in a diamond stone (this will also prolong the life of the blade).
Alternative Paint Stripping Methods
We feel the five best paint strippers for wood we have mentioned today all have their merits. However, there are a few other methods you could try too.
Does vinegar remove paint from wood?
Vinegar does a good job of softening the paint, but it won’t totally remove it. However, you could use your paint scraper to remove the paint once its supple enough.
To get the most from this method you will need to bring the vinegar to boil and then coat the painted surface liberally with it (we suggest you brush it on). Leave the vinegar to soak in and then scrape it off.
Does baking soda remove paint from wood?
Combine baking soda with vinegar for another natural paint-stripping solution. This one’s good for larger areas such as floors and walls, make sure you make up the mixture in a clean container and use equal parts of vinegar and soda.
Can I Sand Away the Paint?
You could also use a sander. Sanders are useful as they can be used to grind away paint. These tools work well on flat, large areas. However, sanding can produce toxic fumes (sanding lead-based paint is not ideal) and it’s also a very dusty job!
What Is the Fastest Way to Remove Paint from Wood?
Whilst natural/home-made methods have their place, there are some other techniques you might want to try. Let’s take a look at the three methods we’ve showcased products for: heat, chemical and manual paint strippers.
Before we do compare the contenders to find the best paint stripper for wood, we would like to point out that you might need to use a combination of two of the tools, or even all three, to get the job done satisfactorily.
Heat Gun Paint Stripper
Some DIY enthusiasts consider the heat gun to be the fastest method. A heat gun uses high temperatures to soften paint and varnish. They are very effective as the gun can remove layers of paint that have built up over the years.
Heat guns are easy to operate and the principle is simple: The heat gun warms up the paint, making it soft in the process. The paint can then be scraped away from the wood (we suggest using a paint scraping tool for ease).
Heat guns usually come with a number of different nozzles, variations include:
- Deflector nozzle – A broad nozzle ideal for removing paint from larger surfaces such as floors and doors.
- Reflector nozzle – Distributes heat around an object (good for soldering and shrink wrapping).
- Concentrator nozzle – For precise jobs in hard to reach areas (removing paint from a tight corner or crevice)
- Glass protection nozzle – Controlled paint removal when you need to take care – e.g. to strip paint from wooden window frames.
- Air spreader nozzle – Directs heat long and narrow bursts – ideal for stripping paint from doors and skirting board.
You do need to take care when using a heat gun, if you use the tool incorrectly you could end up damaging or burning the wood. There’s also an issue of fumes coming off the gun as you use it.
Chemical Paint Stripper
Chemical paint strippers are usually in the form of gels (known as thixotropic), liquids, or pastes. This type of paint stripping method is ideal should you need to remove paint from tricky or hard to reach places.
Gels and pastes work particularly well if you need to remove paint from vertical surfaces (they cling to the surface so you won’t get any annoying drips).
Solvent paint stripers effectively seep into the paint and penetrate each layer. This disrupts the bond between the object (e.g. a wooden window frame) and the paint.
The disruption causes the paint to come away from the object – thus leaving it paint-free. Chemical paint strippers work well, but some people worry about their toxicity.
For efficient paint removal you could combine chemical paint stripper with the heat gun. Start with the heat gun and then follow with a chemical stripper to remove any small and stubborn paint patches.
Manual Paint Scraper
A more traditional method is the manual paint scraper. This takes a little more time and trouble than other methods but it is a good way to effectively remove stubborn paint.
Heavy duty scrapers work well to get rid of thickly layered paint. These types of scraper usually measure around 3 inches and are flat. The handle allows you to get a good grip on the tool for easy scraping.
You can also get 2.5 inch two-edge scrapers that have thinner handles and wider heads. These scrapers sometimes have replaceable blades so you can insert a sharper blade when needed.
If you are looking for a multi-purpose tool you could consider a utility tool with a paint scraper attached. These types of tool usually feature a paint scraper along with other practical gizmos including a chisel, cleaning roller, wood filler etc.
Putty knives can also be used for paint scraping. The shape of these knives makes them suitable for use with wood filler, but they also make fine paint scrapers.
What is the Best Paint Stripper for Wood?
If you need to strip paint to prep the area for a new look, a paint stripping product will make your life easier. The five we have looked at today differ in terms of price, features and brand.
So, how will you choose the best paint stripper for wood in the UK? We certainly found it tricky to choose between them! Here’s a quick recap:
The SEEKONE hot air gun offers plenty in the way of versatility, it’s great for paint stripping but can be used for lots of other activities and tasks too. We like the fact that there are 5 nozzles to choose from, and the added accessories are a nice touch too.
We also showcased the VonHaus heat gun. This lightweight number proved its worth too. Again, this gun can be used for other tasks, as well as paint stripping. The 4 nozzles are a welcome addition too.
Next up we had the strong and powerful Nitromors All Purpose Paint and Varnish Remover. We really liked the idea that this shows up as green when applied – this really helps the user to see which parts have been covered and which have not.
After that we had the Rustins Strypit paint and varnish stripper, another powerful formula, and this one can be used to strip wood, plaster, glass and metal. We rate this product highly as it can be used on vertical surfaces without dripping.
Finally ,there’s the Bahco 665 Carvide Edged H/Duty Paint Scraper – perfect for scraping paint from wood, concrete and metal. Full marks to the tough blade – made to last.
We suggest you evaluate the size of the job you have to do, and think about what you are most comfortable handling – chemicals, a manual tool or a heat tool.
Don’t forget you can use a combination of two or even three to get the job done.
It’s worth checking out the prices, and the manufacturer’s reputation too. That said, we like all five of these, so we don’t think you can go far wrong, whichever paint stripper for wood you choose.