Removing Paint or Varnish With Chemicals

Removing Paint or Varnish ( Page 1 of 2 )

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1 Many home repair jobs require you to remove a coat of old paint or varnish before applying new finish.
2 You can remove old paint or varnish using one of three different methods. The first involves using a chemical paint or varnish remover to soften the painted surface. Then, the old paint can be scraped off or washed away with water.
3 Paint can also be sanded away or removed with heat. In most cases, chemical paint removers are the easiest and fastest means for removing old paint or varnish.
4 Chemical paint and varnish removers are available in a variety of semi-paste and liquid forms. Almost all chemical removers are referred to as "paint removers" or "paint strippers."
5 There are several basic types of paint removers.
6 Liquids are primarily for clean coatings and removing one or two layers of paint. This formula dries too quickly to remove multiple layers of paint. Good for detail areas or irregular surfaces. Also good for the stubborn spots after a washable has been used.
7 Brushables are a thick, paste-like formula that allows the paint remover to be applied in heavy layers so that it stays wet in order to strip multiple layers (up to 10 or more) in one application. Allows remover to cling to vertical or even overhead surfaces. Some paint removers are the "wash away" or "water wash" types. These terms simply indicate that the paint remover formula includes an emulsifier that permits the chemicals to mix with water and be rinsed away with a hose.
8 Use care when using this type of remover on fine furniture. Too much water can cause damage to the grain in the wood.
9 Read the labels on all paint remover cans and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
10 When removing paint, pour part of the paint remover into a small, wide mouth metal can (Fig. 1). A can with a plastic resealable lid works especially well.
11 Using a good quality brush, spread the remover thickly and evenly over the surface. Brush in one direction (Fig.2 ) Try not to brush over areas that are already covered with paint remover.
12 Sprayables are for easy application. Some removers come with a spray bottle or sprayer. These removers are thin enough to spray yet thick enought to cling. Most of these removers are "water washable."
13 Aerosols are the most convenient and fastest way to apply paint remover. These removers are sprayed on and create a foamy, clinging layer thick enough to remove several layers of paint. If needed, reapplication is much easier, too! These removers are perfect for smaller jobs and detail work where brush application is difficult. Aerosol paint removers are available almost everywhere conventional removers are sold.
14 Some newer removers contain chemicals that are more "environmentally friendly." These removers generally work slower than more conventional types, but some allow use indoors with good ventilation. These are more expensive, but for people who are sensitive toward harsh chemicals, may offer an excellent choice.
15 In addition, several types of specialty removers are sold to remove certain coatings or using on a specific surface, These include stain removers for surfaces such as fiberglass.
16 After scraping, use a suitable solvent such as ethanol or mineral spirits (or water if a "water washable" paint remover was used.)
17 For difficult to remove coatings, removal can be speeded up by scratching the coating with coarse sandpaper, but be careful not to deeply scratch the underlying surface. Then apply the remover and cover with plastic film to keep the remover wet.
18 Check the label of the paint remover to see how long you should leave the remover on the surface, usually about 20 to 30 minutes. Test the condition of the surface by rubbing the blade of a chemical-resistant scraper in a circular motion to see if the paint has been loosened (Fig. 3).
19 If the scraper cuts through to the surface of the wood, the paint remover has done its job. Always wear chemical-resistant gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.
20 Apply paint remover to a manageable area. Only cover an area that allows you to scrape or wash away the paint remover before it dries.
21 Lay the paint remover on thick, and do not stir it after applying it to the surface. Give the chemicals time to act.
22 To help keep the area clean and make clean-up easier, use a cardboard box with a heavy layer of newspaper to catch the paint and remover.
23 When the paint remover has done its job and the surface is softened (Fig. 3), you are ready to remove the loose paint. It is usually best to remove as much remover and paint as possible the first time. A scraper works well for this (Fig. 4).
24 Follow this with a medium grade of steel wool, old rags or an abrasive scouring pad (Fig. 5).
25 For hard-to-remove spots, you may need to apply a second coat of paint remover. Wetting the steel wool with paint remover will also work in some cases.
26 After cleaning and allowing to dry, most surfaces will need to be lightly sanded to prepare the surface. With a better grade of remover, no sanding or swabbing is necessary. Some types of paint can be especially hard to remove. This usually requires a second coat of paint remover after you have removed the first coat of enamel (Fig. 7). If the surface has several layers of paint, it may be necessary to apply paint remover a third time.

 

 

 

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