Tips for Removing Paint From Wood Paneling

A wood panel.
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15-75
What You'll Need
Water or commercial cleaner
Sandpaper or hand sander
Paint stripper
Safety glasses
Face mask
Heat gun (optional)

If you need to remove paint from wood paneling, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Follow these tips on removing paint from wood paneling to make the project fast and easy.

1. Clean First

The first thing that you should do is make sure that the area from which you are removing paint is clean. Many people do not think to do so because they are just removing the paint; however, if you need to use sandpaper or even a chemical paint stripper, then you want both of those things to work effectively without causing any more damage to the area. You can clean the surface of the wood paneling with a wet rag and warm water, or a wood cleaner followed by warm water, depending on how dirty the area is.

2. Try Sanding

Sanding is the number one way to remove paint from wood paneling. You can either work with a hand-held sander or just a piece of sandpaper. You may want to start with a just a piece and work with that, especially if you are new to sanding. If there are several coats of paint, you may want to use a stripper first. Then sand off any of the remaining paint. Don't forget to put on a face mask and safety glasses before you start sanding.

3. Use Chemical Paint Stripper

Many people are against this idea because of the fumes, but more natural paint strippers are now available that can do the trick without the harmful fumes. All you have to do is apply the stripper to the area with the paint and wait the amount of time stated in the instructions. Then you can use a scraper to remove the paint and then wash the area. If that does not work, you can try again until you get all of it off, or you can sand. If you do choose to sand as your next step, you should make sure to first clean the area completely. Let it dry so that the sandpaper works effectively.

4. Heat It Up

Heat is going to be one of your last options if sanding or chemical paint removers do not work. You will need to use a heat gun. Once you have heated the area, you can scrape off the softened paint pretty easily. You want to make sure that you watch the surrounding wood while you are working with both the heat gun as well as the paint scraper so that you do not damage it.

Each of these tips together or separate can help to get the paint off of your wood paneling quickly and effectively. Make sure to let the area dry completely and sit for at least 24 to 48 hours before you treat or finish the paneling. Making sure to get all of the sand and dust or debris will be the best way to get a smooth finish to your wood paneling and ensure that you do not have to fix the job.