How to strip paint off wood easily and effectively

Heat gun and scraper on old painted wooden doorwooden
(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to strip paint off wood is a DIY skill that you definitely need in your arsenal. If you want to give your doors, windows, skirting boards, architrave and any other painted wood a new lease of life you always need to start with the preparation.

Before you start painting wood you need to strip back any old paint or varnish to give get a surface that will ensure a great finish. 

So, how do you get rid of the old paint? Heat or chemicals are two common options. Here we take a look at the pros and cons of both options to help you make the best decision for your next DIY project as well as explaining how to strip the paint or varnish back to bare wood.

Steve Jenkins

Steve Jenkins is a freelance content creator with over two decades of experience working in digital and print and was previously the DIY content editor for Homebuilding & Renovating. 

He is a keen DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating the many homes he has lived in. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has a wide range of skills gleaned from working in the building trade for around 10 years and spending time at night school learning how to plaster and plumb.

He has fitted kitchens, tiled bathrooms and kitchens, laid many floors, built partition walls, plastered walls, plumbed in bathrooms, worked on loft conversions and much more. And when he's not sure how to tackle a DIY project he has a wide network of friends – including plumbers, gas engineers, tilers, carpenters, painters and decorators, electricians and builders – in the trade to call upon.