Using Chemical Strippers

Not long ago, using strippers to remove paint, varnish, and other old finishes was a really nasty, smelly business. Today, there are many brands of strippers that have low odors, clean up with water, and generally are safer to work with than in days gone by. You can get liquid or paste strippers and solvents that work to soften and loosen most any old finish – a real boon if you're working with complex shapes such as moldings. When all traces of the stripper have been removed, the surfaces are ready to be lightly sanded and refinished.

Pour a small amount of the stripper into a convenient glass or metal container and apply it as specified on the label. It's best to start at the top of your project and work your way down. Take the time to work it into hard-to-reach places.
Sprinkle a light coating of sawdust over the stripper just before you remove it. The sawdust thickens the stripper, making it easier to remove.
Reapply the stripper to detailed or problem areas and use specialty scrapers to remove the softened material. Use light pressure on the scrapers to keep from tearing or gouging the wood. If you can't find a contoured scraper, use the corner of a putty knife.
Scrub the entire project with nylon brushes or abrasive pads to remove all traces of the old finish and the stripper sludge.

Interior Paint Problems & Solution


Increase in gloss or sheen of paint film when subjected to rubbing, scrubbing or having an object brush up against it...


Bubbles resulting from localized loss of adhesion and lifting of the paint film from the underlying surface...


Undesirable sticking together of two painted surfaces when pressed together (e.g., a door sticking to the jamb)...

Caulk Failures

Loss of caulk's initial adhesion and flexibility, causing it to crack and/or pull away from the surfaces to which it is applied...


Cracking - Flaking

The splitting of a dry paint film through at least one coat as a result of aging, which ultimately will lead to complete failure of the paint. In its early stages, the problem appears as hairline cracks; in its later stages, flaking occurs...

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