Guidance

When it comes to giving doors, stairs and window frames a new lease of life, paint stripping is a useful exercise, but it can also turn into a tedious chore if you're not prepared. Get in the right frame of mind by reading our handy guide.

Paint stripping options 
Paint stripping doesn't just involve brushing some vile-smelling goo on to your balustrades, then scraping off the sticky sludge, there are hours of labour as well. The range of paint stripping options available to DIY enthusiasts and service suppliers is both extensive and very time consuming, covering wood, metal, plaster, glass - pretty much anything. Paint stripping professionals can take any removable items away, or strip them in situ.

Paint stripping floors
Starting from the bottom up, floors are obvious candidates for paint stripping, and the most time-efficient way of doing that is with a specialist floor sander. Even with dust bags, however, these things create a lot of mess, which is why it's usually recommended you remove everything from the room while the paint stripping is going on.

Paint stripping doors and other large items
The most efficient way of paint stripping large items like doors, especially those with intricate mouldings, is to dip them in a tank of caustic solution. This is a particularly useful paint stripping process for old doors with lead-based paint, and is conveniently charged per item. 

Cabinet scrapers
For certain applications, paint stripping firms will use professional cabinet scrapers without any other paint stripping products. The wood will normally be rubbed down with methylated spirits afterwards. Sometimes vinegar is used to rub into the wood after paint stripping.

Metal stripping and polishing
Cast iron fireplaces are popular targets for paint stripping, as the resultant warmth and solidity adds bags of character to the surrounding room. Indeed, almost all metal surfaces can be stripped, with paint stripping professionals able to deal with aluminium, brass, bronze, pewter and more. They're also adept at stripping from all types of metal products, from radiators to car panels.

Paint stripping precautions
Caustic stripping, is a quick and efficient paint stripping process. Paint stripping firms will be able to gauge beforehand the likely outcome, so always check first that the treatment is appropriate for the job. Even if new paint is necessary, caustic stripping your woodwork is a lot quicker and more efficient than scraping it yourself.

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