Wood coatings are necessary for wood homes, log houses, wood furniture, and anything made from wood that is meant to last a long time. Coatings add a layer of protection to the wood to keep it from getting scratched, scuffed or stained, as well as keep out moisture and enhance the appearance of the wood. Different types of coatings or finishes are better for certain types of wood and uses, and when applied properly, all these products do their jobs well. But what if you need to remove the wood coating to repair, refinish or restore the wood? We are reviewing how to remove the old wood coating and apply a new coating to continue to protect the wood for many years.

When You Should Remove Old Wood Coatings

You want to apply new coatings to your wood surface regularly to maintain the durability and look of the wood. The regularity will depend on the surface’s size, location and use, but there are a few ways to tell if it is time to reapply the coating to your wood home, log house or furniture.  If your wood surface is beginning to look drab or run down, it may be time to re-stain and refinish the surface. Possible signs could include split or cracking boards, discoloration, peeling paints, splintering boards, old or dry looking wood, or mold and mildew.

How To Remove Wood Coatings

If you want to repair or refinish the wood in your log house or wood home, you will need to remove the old coating before you apply a new product. There are three main ways to remove old finish: sanding, solvents or chemical strippers. Each type of removal works best with different types of coating, but in general, can be used for most types of wood coatings.

Removing Coatings With Cleaners

One of the easiest ways to remove wood coatings and seals is by using a wood cleaning kit. Lovitt’s has a Wood Cleaner and Brightener Kit that is easy to use; one kit restores up to 1,000 square feet of wood surface, perfect for cleaning and restoring log homes, wood siding, decks, fences and other exterior wood surfaces. The kit removes stains, sealers, water repellents and light mildew, leaving the wood its natural color, PH balanced.

Remove Coatings By Sanding THem

Sanding can usually remove any wood finish or coating, so if you do not know what was originally used on the wood, this is a safe bet. However, sanding is the most labor-intensive option, so it is best used in smaller areas, or those that are flat, such as wood floors. There are a number of tools available for prepping an area for staining. You can use an orbital sander for flat areas, and handheld paper or a sanding block for more irregularly shaped spots. Generally, you will start with a lower-grit paper, such as 150-grit to rough up the surface, and finish with a higher, 220-grit paper. Be sure to remove any remaining dust with a cloth or lightly damp rag.

Using Solvents To Remove Old Wood Coats

Solvents are best used on shellac and lacquer coatings, as these are alcohol-based finishes. Solvents are readily available at most hardware or home improvement stores, so they’re easy to find. In general, you will want to start with a thinning product to help remove shellac or lacquer. Apply the solvent with a rag to loosen the wood coating, then lightly scrape residual coating from the surface with a plastic putty knife.

Removing Coatings With Chemical Strippers

This method is best for acrylic, varnish and paint. Chemical strippers are highly effective but won’t harm wood. However, use caution when using chemical strippers, as they can contain chemicals that can be harmful to eyes, respiratory system and skin. Use these in a well-ventilated area and follow safety procedures.

Apply the stripper to the wood and wait for it to soften the coating enough to remove. It will appear bubbled and wrinkled when it is softened enough, at which time, you can use a tool to scrape the varnish off the area.

Getting Started With Removing Old Coatings

If you are ready to begin removing old wood coatings and reapplying to your wood home or furniture, come in toe Lovitt’s Coatings. Our professional team can connect you with all the supplies you need to get the job done, as well as offer expert advice and tips. Contact Lovitt's Coatings today to get started.