How To Strip Wood

Wood is a popular material used in many homes and buildings. Over time, wood can become damaged or the finish may start to fade. To restore the wood’s natural beauty, it may be necessary to strip it. Stripping wood is the process of removing the old finish, paint, or stain from the wood. In this article, we’ll discuss how to strip wood so that you can restore your wood to its former glory.

What You’ll Need

Before you start, you’ll need to gather some materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Paint stripper
  • Scraper
  • Steel wool
  • Sandpaper
  • Protective gear (gloves, goggles, and a dust mask)
  • Clean rags
  • Mineral spirits

Preparing the Area

Before you start, you’ll want to prepare the area where you’ll be stripping the wood. Make sure you have adequate ventilation, and cover any nearby surfaces with plastic or drop cloths. This will protect them from any drips or spills.

Choosing a Paint Stripper

There are many different types of paint strippers available. Some are designed for use on specific types of finishes, so be sure to choose the right one for your project. Read the label carefully to ensure that you’re getting the right product.

Applying the Paint Stripper

Once you have your paint stripper, it’s time to apply it to the wood. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as the application process can vary depending on the product. Generally, you’ll need to brush the stripper onto the wood and let it sit for a specified amount of time.

Scraping the Finish

After the stripper has had time to work, you can start scraping away the finish. Use a scraper to remove the old finish, being careful not to damage the wood underneath. You may need to use a steel wool pad to remove any remaining residue.

Sanding the Wood

Once you’ve removed the finish, you’ll want to sand the wood to smooth out any rough spots. Start with a coarse sandpaper and work your way up to a finer grit. This will help to prepare the wood for a new finish.

Cleaning the Wood

After sanding, it’s important to clean the wood thoroughly. Use a clean rag and mineral spirits to remove any remaining stripper residue. This will ensure that the new finish adheres properly to the wood.

Choosing a New Finish

Now that you’ve stripped the wood, it’s time to choose a new finish. There are many different options to choose from, including varnish, stain, and paint. Choose a finish that will protect the wood and enhance its natural beauty.

Applying the New Finish

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when applying the new finish. Use a brush or roller to apply the finish evenly, and be sure to let it dry completely before applying a second coat.

Cleaning Up

Once you’ve finished applying the new finish, it’s time to clean up. Remove any plastic or drop cloths, and dispose of any used materials properly. Be sure to wash your hands and any tools you used during the process.


Q: How do I know if I need to strip my wood?

A: If the finish on your wood is damaged or faded, it may be time to strip it. You may also want to strip the wood if you’re planning on applying a new finish.

Q: Can I strip painted wood?

A: Yes, you can strip painted wood. However, it may be more difficult to remove the paint than it is to remove a clear finish.

Q: Can I strip wood without using a chemical stripper?

A: Yes, you can strip wood using a heat gun or sanding. However, these methods may be more time-consuming and labor-intensive than using a chemical stripper.


Stripping wood is a great way to restore the natural beauty of your wood. By following these steps, you can strip your wood and apply a new finish that will protect and enhance its natural beauty. Remember to take the necessary safety precautions and choose the right materials for your project. With a little bit of effort, you can transform your wood from dull and damaged to beautiful and vibrant.