How to Remove Paint from Porch Railings

Lead Image for How to Remove Paint from Porch Railings
  • 8-24 hours
  • Beginner
  • 40-200
What You'll Need
Electric sander and sandpaper
Paint scraper
Heat gun
Paste paint remover
Rubber gloves
Protective eye coverings

Porch railings, especially wooden ones, will require a lot of maintenance. Part of this maintenance will be to remove paint and repaint or refinish occasionally. There are several ways to make your painted porch railings look new and not be an eyesore to your home.

Step 1 - Removing Peeling Paint

If the current layer of paint on your porch railing is peeling and unsightly, you may want to remove the peeling paint so you can repaint the railing. Use the paint scraper to scrape all the loose and crackled paint that is on the wood. Apply a bit of pressure because you want to be sure to get all the paint off that is loose. Use the sandpaper to sand the rough edges to prepare to repaint the railing.

Step 2 - Removing the Paint by Sanding

If you have a large buildup of paint on your railing you may want to sand it all off before painting it again. Also, if you want to stain your railing to have the look of natural wood, all of the paint will have to be removed first. This is a large job and will take some time and patience.

Put a piece of large grit sandpaper on the electric sander and then turn the sander on. Sand from the top to the bottom of each section before moving on to the next areas. You may have to manually sand in some curves or if the railing has decorative carving.

If you don't have an electric sander you can do this entire job manually but it would be a time consuming, labor-intensive job if you have a lot of railing.

Step 3 - Removing Paint by Stripping

There are many paint strippers on the market that would be great for removing paint from a porch railing. Since you will have both vertical and horizontal surfaces a gel or paste stripper would be the best product to use. Apply it according to manufacturers' instructions wearing rubber gloves since most of these products are caustic. You may also want to cover your eyes with protective goggles. This will be a very messy job so really consider which method you would prefer to use before starting the project.

Step 4 - Sand Blasting

If you have a lot of porch railing, there is a lot of ornate trim and there are several layers of paint, you may want to sandblast the railing. Many restorationists working on historic homes use this method if the railing is sound. You can rent a sandblaster from a tool rental store and complete the job in a long weekend. It is also a messy job with a lot of dust, so wear protective hand and eyewear and old clothes or coveralls. You should also wear a respirator so you won't breathe the paint dust. The rental store can give you proper instructions for the type of sandblaster you choose to rent.