How to Remove Paint from Wood Deck: 2 Easy Methods!

How To Remove Paint From Wood Deck? 

It can be tricky. The last thing you want to do is remove the surface of your deck in the process. That’s why it’s so important to remove paint in a way that doesn’t damage or remove any underlying layers.

There are many ways to remove paint, but here are some expert tips for removing paint successfully without damaging your wooden decking material.

How To Remove Paint From Wood Deck

When it comes to removing paint from a deck, there are two options: chemical or mechanical.

Chemical treatments often entail highly corrosive chemicals sprayed, brushed, or rolled on. 

The chemicals used to remove latex paint are caustic and salt-based, and they may be applied in the form of a gel or a thinner liquid. A gel-based stripper is typically more effective, but it requires application by roller and brush, which is both time-consuming. 

Besides, a gel-based stripper is most efficient on vertical surfaces such as rails and box sills because of its ability to adhere. 

Always use protective equipment when handling chemicals. Wear goggles, rubber gloves, and a dust mask when using any chemical.

On the other hand, Mechanical approaches include power washing, sanding, and planing. Power tools can speed up this process with little need for elbow grease on your part. 

If you consider power tools for the job, make sure they are designed to remove paint. Otherwise, it isn’t worth your money or effort.

You can obtain the most significant outcomes by applying a combination of these techniques. Contractors typically prefer a variety of chemicals and power washing. 

Remember: Hand tools such as wire brush, wire pad, scraper, and sandpaper are also effective in removing paint from decks.

Chemical Methods

What You’ll Need

  • Tarps
  • Broom
  • Scraper or iron-bristle brush
  • Paint stripper

Steps of Removing Paint by Chemical Method

Here are the steps of removing paint by chemical method.

Step 1: Prep your deck

If you don’t make a point to prep your deck, the whole process could be a lot messier and take more time than it needs to. For example, if there’s loose peeling paint on your wood deck, first try to gently pry it off with finger pressure or a stripping tool.

 Sweep off all loose debris. First, make sure the whole surface is dry. Then, cover up any small spots of fresh paint that you don’t want to remove with masking tape.

Step 2: Apply the stripper

Once your deck is prepped, it’s best to pour some paint stripper onto a rag or directly onto the surface, depending on what kind of product you bought. 

Let it sit for at least 10 minutes and then come back and scrape off the excess paint with a metal scraper or wire brush. If your deck was made out of cedar, make sure to apply an extra stripper to avoid damaging the wood.

Step 3: Wipe off the rest

After you’re sure that all of the paint has been removed:

  • Use a wet cloth to wipe away what you can.
  • If there’s too much paint to wipe down at once, let it sit for another 10 minutes and then come back again.
  • Let your deck dry out for an hour or so before using it again to avoid any damage.

Step 4: Rinse and let dry

For best results, let your deck completely dry out overnight before using it again to avoid any damage.

When you’re done cleaning your deck, it’s a good idea to use a brightener/neutralizer. This product will chemically balance the wood’s pH.

Finally, when the deck is completely dry and prepared, apply your chosen paint or stain.

Extra Tip

Before you employ a power washer to try to remove the paint, test it out on the deck with a rag moistened with alcohol. It’s latex if you see color on the rag. If it doesn’t stick to the cloth, the paint is oil-based and will need more than a power washer to remove.


  • Use methylene chloride-free paint strippers only. Methylene chloride has been listed as a carcinogen by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health(NIOSH). Over time, Methylene chloride can cause nerve damage.
  • If any methylene chloride does come in contact with your skin, immediately wash it off with cold water or vinegar. Rinse the area of contact with cold water for 15 minutes if you can. Call a poison control center for instructions on what to do next.
  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands
  • Wear rubber shoes.
  • Please do not walk on the deck until it has been cleaned and is completely dry.

Mechanical Methods

I’ll show you how to Remove Paint By Mechanical Method here.

Pressure Washer

Pressure washers are fantastic for removing the top layer of almost anything. Still, it will be best to be cautious when using them on wood. The water pressure supplied by a pressure washer might easily harm the wood of your deck.

Pressure from the water can also push water into the wood, leading to rotting, mold, mildew, or other concerns. You’ll want to restrict the amount of pressure you apply to avoid this. 

When cleaning your deck, you should avoid using a pressure washer with more than 1,000 PSI (pounds per square inch). 

Remove Paint From Deck With Pressure Washer

You should notice that the paint is soft and is likely to bubble after a few minutes when the stripper has had time to work its magic. After that, it indicates it’s ready for removal.

  • Remove the old paint by spraying it away with your pressure washer. When doing this, be cautious not to apply too much force. 1,000 PSI is about as high as you should go. Higher pressures might damage your deck boards and force water inside, causing rot down the road.
  • Use the 15-degree (yellow-colored) or 25-degree (green-colored) nozzle and a distance of 16 inches between the tip and the wood.
  • Spray the deck well as you go across it, mainly removing any loose paint at each stage. Begin in one region and make sure to remove every loose paint before moving on to the next. Before going into the following area, spray an area of approximately 4’x4′.


Pressure washers are not only available to the wealthy, but they are also far more expensive than an electric sander. Even if you don’t have access to a pressure washer, many people have an electric sander. They’re considerably less expensive than a pressure washer.

A sander will take more effort on your part than a pressure washer. You’ll have to get down on your knees and sand every inch of the deck that you want to be painted black. But you won’t have to put out much effort; allow the sander to do all of the work for you.

A sander does not imply that you will get water damage on the brighter side. However, sanding all of the texture of your decking boards may lead to a slippery surface when you repaint!


  • Sanders is cheaper
  • A sander is typically accessible to a large number of people.
  • There are no harsh chemicals required.


  • It may wash the texture from your decking boards.
  • Requires greater physical effort

What’s the Best Way to Remove Oil-Based Paint from Wood?

The two most frequently employed techniques to get oil-based paint off wood are as follows. 

  • The use of heat 
  • Stripping chemicals

The Use of Heat

 Here, you’re using an infrared paint stripper. Place the stripper six inches away from the surface and scrape it in. Scrape the surface with a scraper or putty knife next.

The use of non-toxic strippers

Like the most delicate deck paint remover, Citristrip, you must apply a layer to the surface using a brush or roller. Allow up to 72 hours for the stain to set depending on its hardness. 

Then scrape it off. You can also use solution-based paint removers to get the job done. Just be aware of your skin and eyes when using this method.

Wrap Up 

This article focuses on How To Remove Paint From Wood Deck. Different products vary by brand, so it’s best to check in with the specific instructions of what you bought before trying this at home.

Always wear protective gear while using chemicals near your skin and eyes if you have any doubts, best to hire a professional for this job.


What is the best product to remove paint from a deck?

There are a few things to think about when selecting the best paint remover for a wood deck. Ease of application and processing, environmental friendliness, and varnish strength are among them.

The best deck paint remover is Citristrip. We love this stripping gel because of its eco-friendly formula and high-quality results.

Last update on 2024-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What is the Fastest Way to Remove Paint from Wood?

There is no shortcut to removing paint from wood. You have to start by preparing the surface, applying the stripper, and then scraping the residue off the surface.

Can You Pressure Wash Stain off a Deck?

Yes, you can. However, you should be concerned about the harm it causes to the deck.

Is it true that vinegar can remove paint from wood?

Vinegar will not remove paint from wood, but it can make it more manageable. It’s a low-toxicity, natural alternative to chemical paint scrapers. However, it may take longer and require more work to remove all the paint effectively.

Do heat guns remove paint from wood decks?

Heat guns are a low-cost way to remove paint from wood, but they can be hazardous if not used correctly. To avoid damaging the wood, invest in the appropriate safety gear and practice using the heat gun before using it on your final project.

Is there any way to remove paint from wood that is non-toxic or environmentally friendly?

There are non-toxic soy gel and citrus-based paint cleansers that have received excellent reviews on Amazon. They claim to be quite effective in removing paint.

What items in your house can remove paint from wood?

You can use vinegar to remove paint from wood. If you don’t have a paint scraper, consider using a plastic pot scraper instead, especially for small jobs. 

Steamers may soften the paint, but their humidity may warp wood, so they’re not the best choice.

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Last update on 2024-06-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Z Hashan

I’m Z Hashan, an entrepreneur, but more importantly (well, to me at least), a tool head. I’m passionate about all sorts of machines and how they work – it’s in my blood.

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