How to remove gloss paint

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Gloss paint has a shiny, lacquer-style finish when it dries. This type of paint wears better and is much more stain-resistant meaning it is often popular in high-traffic areas such as your kitchen or bathroom, or for skirting boards and doors. But despite being so tough, because it is so highly reflective it shows imperfections easily.

How to remove gloss paint from wood

Removing paint is very difficult.

Gloss paint is strong and highly durable so it is a time-consuming task.

You can strip any kind of wood, even heavily-carved wood, but the type of paint and wood will determine which method is best.

Before starting any method, you need to ensure the gloss paint is not wet as none of the below methods will work unless it is dry.

You should also take steps to wear gloves while doing the work to avoid blisters or splinters and wear a face mask to protect yourself from inhaling dust or fumes.


Sanding is the technique of paint removal best used for small projects.

Gloss paint is tough to remove and therefore using sanding for larger areas would take a long time.

You should get a large supply of sandpaper with two choices of grains, with some rough to do the work and another which is smoother to finish the sanding.

With this process, sand first with the rough paper before sanding it with the soft one.

You may prefer to do the work with sandpaper, but you are likely to do a much better job if you use an electric sander.

Sandpaper can get clogged up with the paint in no time, so take care to keep tabs on the state of your sandpaper.

Once you have removed all the old paint, you should begin your soft sanding.

When sanding make sure you follow the wood grain as if you fail to do this, you will scratch the wood surface and ruin the project.

The next step once you have finished sanding is to remove any wood dust by dusting the wood with a rug lightly imbibed with paint solvent.

Once you are sure the surface is very smooth, you can begin to repaint your surface.

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Heat gun

You can use heat to remove gloss paint, either using a heat gun or blow torch.

These specialist tools should be used with due care because heat can be dangerous to use.

The heat on from the tools will heat the surface intensely and lift the paint.

For this method, position your heat gun around six to eight inches from the painted wooden surface and then switch on your heat gun.

Warm the area, slowly moving the heat gun over the surface.

While the old paint is tender due to the heat, scrape your paint up as it wrinkles, working on the next small areas.

Turn off the heat gun once you have finished and then use sandpaper to smooth the surface.

Scrape your wooden object with sandpaper and your choice of gain to get rid of any remaining paint which would not lift with the heat method.

Chemical stripping

Chemical stripping is the best method to use for the stubborn paint which will not come off using the other methods.

You should choose the right type of method for your purpose, making sure to read the guidance on the bottle.

Liquid chemicals are often applied in spray form and are usually used to clean coatings or a couple of layers.

Shake the can with the liquid and then pour all the content onto an open type of container.

Coat a paintbrush with enough liquid to cover a medium-sized area in a number of strokes, coating the brush with paint stripper.

Leave the paint stripper on your a while according to the manufacturer’s guidance until you see the paint softening.

Using a paint scraper, rub the blade over the surface in a circular motion to see if the chemical has worked correctly.

When the paint is soft enough, use a paint scraper, remove the softened paint before you sand down your wooden object with either an electric sander or sandpaper by hand.

Wash your item using a cloth soaked in paint solvent to remove the remainder of the chemical stripper.

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