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How to Remove Paint From Decking Boards

Paint on decking boards adds colour to the wood and helps protect it from the outdoor elements and wear from foot traffic. Unfortunately, paint on outdoor decks tends to wear out and chip or peel over time. When paint becomes old, homeowners may have to remove it and reapply a new paint or finish to make it look as neat as possible. Although it is possible to remove paint from decking boards by sanding it all off, using a paint remover that rinses away with water is faster and easier than sanding it all away.

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  1. Apply a paint stripper to the painted areas on the deck. Lowe's home improvement store recommends using a paint stripper that washes away with water for the easiest cleanup. Ace Hardware suggests picking a paint stripper that sprays on for the fastest application. Home improvement stores also sell paint strippers that users can apply with a paintbrush.

  2. Allow the stripper to sit on the deck for the amount of time recommended on the paint stripper instructions.

  3. Put gloves on. Paint strippers contain harsh chemicals that can damage the skin.

  4. Scrape off the paint stripper and as much of the old paint as possible using a putting knife or other type of flat metal scraper. Lowe's suggests slightly dulling the edge of the scraper to make sure it does not scratch or gouge the wood.

  5. Scrub off any extra paint with steel wool soaked in the paint stripper.

  6. Rinse away the paint stripper with water.

  7. Sand off any stubborn paint spots with 120-grit sand paper, which has a coarse texture that will smooth the wood and remove any paint that has soaked into the open wood grain.

  8. Sand the deck again with 220-grit sandpaper to make the deck smooth enough for repainting or refinishing.

  9. Warning

    Paint strippers contain harsh chemicals that often have strong odours. Ace Hardware recommends "environmentally friendly" brands of paint strippers for people with sensitivities to strong smells (See Reference 2).

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Things You'll Need

  • Paint stripper
  • Gloves
  • Paint scraper or putty knife
  • Steel wool
  • Water
  • 120- and 220-grit sandpaper

About the Author

Lisa Chinn developed her research skills while working at a research university library. She writes for numerous publications, specializing in gardening, home care, wellness, copywriting, style and travel. Chinn also designs marketing materials, holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and is working toward a PhD in cognitive neuroscience.

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