best paint remover for wood deck

Best Paint Remover for Wood Deck

How long has it been since the last time you painted those decks? We completely understand if you may not have the ‘color-mood-swings’. Or did the recent look of it change your mind?

No matter how good that paint was, it will eventually peel or fade. So, as a responsible and conscious homeowner, you can breathe a new life into that old stained deck and give it a better look. And for that, the best place to start is to remove that old paint. But how are we going to do that?

Deck stripper is a decent choice without any doubt. The main purpose of that deck stripper is to get rid of any unwanted stain that may hamper the performance of the next finish. It ensures that your new coat penetrates and sticks to the deck for that perfect look you’re looking for. So, is there any best way to use that?

Best 5 Paint Removers for Wood Deck in 2021

Imagine going through all the drama of safety measures and even taught yourself the perfect ways to remove that old paint but ended up buying a bs remover. Doesn’t sound too appealing, right?

Here, we have made a list that tops the quality and gives absolute best looking finish:

1. Citristrip Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel:

Citistrip’s this particular gel comes in a huge container of 32 oz. a canister. No wonder why it’s considered the best value for the budget. But that’s not the only reason behind its popularity. 

Citistrip is biodegradable and easy to handle since it can be applied just with a brush. While most other gels form harsh fumes, Citristrip paint & varnish stripping gel doesn’t react that way rather has a citrus scent. This stripper is not caustic nor contains methylene chloride. So, it is safe for indoor usage but requires proper ventilation. 

The application of this formula is very user friendly and it’s formulated to penetrate multiple layers removing old latex, enamel, shellac, acrylic, lacquer, and polyurethane from metal, wood, masonry or even oil-paint. All you need to do for a better result is to give your deck a light scrub using sandpaper and put a thick layer of the gel and let it sit. Cover it with plastic so that it doesn’t dry out too fast and you can continue with your scrapper. Ads may want you to believe that this does wonder at the first attempt, but that always isn’t the case. You might have to repeat the process.

Special Features
  • Biodegradable, affordable price
  • Has a citrus scent, safe for indoor use
  • Has a thick consistency, doesn’t dry out
  • Can be applied with a brush
  • Can strip multiple layers of different paints

Buy at Amazon


2. Dumond Chemicals Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover: 

If you’re particularly looking for a paint remover for indoor usage, this might be your call. Dumond Chemicals Smart Strip Advanced paint remover doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals including methylene chloride, is unscented, and yet manages to give the best of the results.

Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover is water-based so things can get quite messy. This is formulated to penetrate multiple layers of paints such as marine or lead based ones. No methylene chloride or dangerous chemicals makes it indoor comfortable though it may need proper ventilation. 

Although it’s a water based paint remover, it is in paste form and can be applied easily with a brush. The application can be a little messy if you’re not careful enough but the pro point is it remains wet for a long time. For a better result, cover it with plastic for the required time (leaving the remover overnight is a good idea).Remove the plastic slowly and the paint should already loosen with the plastic. After that, you need to peel or scrape or power wash and that’s it!

Special Features
  • Safely removes marine and lead-based paints
  • No methylene chloride, caustic or any toxic chemicals
  • Odor-free, safe for indoor environment
  • Excellent for molded or uneven surfaces
  • Helps with multiple layers
  • Biodegradable, water-based

Buy at Amazon


3. Heavy Duty Wood Stripper and Wood Cleaner Kit by Woodrich:

Woodrich has never disappointed its users regarding their quality and in this particular kit, you’re getting both heavy stripper and wood brightener & neutralizer at a decent rate. That’s a win if you ask us.

This particular kit, there’s a heavy duty wood stripper which has a unique formula that allows stripping semi-transparent to heavy masses of grimes. Heavy Duty Wood Stripper and Wood Cleaner are in powder form so the consistency depends solely on you. Woodrich didn’t declare anything about chemicals so that states, it isn’t designed for indoor usage and might be harmful to the body. Wood Brightener & Neutralizer is formulated for user comfort that brings perfect pH level and expertly removes rust and tannin stains.

Both are in powder form, so you have to mix water on your own to bring the perfect texture. You can, therefore, apply it with pump spray or hose. For semi-transparent stains, use half of the formula. Just do the labor, brush it around and you’re good to go.

Special Features
  • Includes 2 products; stripper & brightener
  • Neutralize and brightens wood quickly
  • Removes solid color on stubborn deck etc
  • Easy to apply and handle
  • The heavy formula penetrates multiple layers
  • Promotes outdoor use

Buy at Amazon


4. EFC-38 Wood Deck Cleaner by Woodrich:

Woodrich’s Wood Cleaner & Stripper for Wood deck is one of the user’s favorites. Keeping up with the price, the quality is high too. If you have pets and plants around you, this can come to your rescue.

Extreme Solutions EFC-38 seals the oil and natural sugar that keeps the natural beauty of the wood intact. Not only it cleans the algae and other unwanted stuff but also removes the old gray wood exposing the fresh wood underneath. The pro part is, it’s ideal for oil based finishes and puts up best results with a healthy-looking deck. 

Again, it’s a powder formula so the consistency depends on you. Generally, EFC-38 blends with water at the rate of 6-8 oz per gallon. After applying the formula on the required deck, leave it to sit for a few hours according to the instructions. Use a pressure washer to rinse off the dirt and the gray wood. This way, you can get your exterior deck to achieve a new, fresh look. For best results, neutralize EFC-38 with the Citralic Wood Brightener and that will do the job.

Special Features
  • Great for both new and old wood deck
  • Removes graying wood cells and algae
  • Formulated with sodium percarbonate and other surfactants
  • Environmental friendly, great for outdoor services
  • Great tool for wood preparation

Buy at Amazon


5. Sunnyside 2-Minute Remover Advanced Paint & Varnish Remover Liquid:

Sunnyside’s ‘2-minute’ Remover actually keeps up the game with its name. Forget about leaving and waiting to strip paints for hours, Sunnyside actually lets you strip multiple layers of paints within minutes.

The formula is chloride-free so it’s less hazardous to health. It can be used on wood decks, marines, metals, and masonry where necessary. This powerful, fast-acting, high effective, and true to its words remover is safe indoors but since it is flammable, it gives a good exterior service. It removes almost all types of layers and paints such as lacquer, varnish, shellac, epoxy, and polyurethane finishes. Coming in gallons, it gives us a pretty good reason why we’re paying this much for a remover only.

The application is very easy. All you need to do is to spread the liquid with a brush on the deck and wait for two to three minutes. Take steel wool and scrub the deck to take out paint. If that doesn’t work out, repeat the process and use sandpaper for detailing and that should do the job.

Special Features
  • Less than 50% VOC
  • Methylene Chloride free formula
  • Can be used on wood, metal, marine & masonry
  • Removes latex, oil based paints
  • Also removes lacquer, varnish, epoxy and polyurethane finishes

Buy at Amazon


What is the Best Way to Remove Paint from a Wood Deck?

We certainly do not have any secret sauce for it, but can definitely provide some of the most recommended ways that have helped real users to get their work done. Here are some of the steps and tips to help you achieve the best result possible.

● Know the nature of your paint. Latex is easier to remove than oil based exterior paint. It’s okay if you don’t know the nature, you can test it out yourself! Put some alcohol on cotton or a cloth and rub it over a small portion of the old paint, if it comes off it’s latex or else it’s oil-based paint.

● Test a small area first. Apply deck stripper on a small part of the deck and wait up to 45 minutes or until the old paint starts to bubble and peel. Then rinse the old paint. Lightly scrub off the stubborn ones and repeat the process.

● Pour and scrub. Apply the remover on the deck and cover it with plastic so that it remains wet for a long time. Wait for a long time and scrape it with a scraper. You can also powerwash the area with a pump sprayer.

● Lightly sand it once it dries out and sand all surfaces to remove any extra paint or uneven surfaces. Finally, get rid of all the dust and debris.

And your deck is ready to meet that smooth polish!

Safety Guide | Before removing paint from the wood deck

Chemical or mechanical methods, you always have to consider safety first. Most of us do not seem to care that much about the safety measures until the damage is already done. So, we are including safety measures because, that’s what really matters.

1. Safety glasses.
2. Safety gloves.
3. Respirator.

1. Sandpaper
2. Rag/piece of cloth
3. Bucket
4. Scrapper
5. Solvent based paint stripper

So, what will happen if you don’t wear these three?

Let me start with the physical wear. If you are working with chemicals (there are some serious toxic chemicals included), there’s a high chance it could get into your eye accidentally. Though working with sandpaper doesn’t even need accidents to get into your eye (kidding). Your skin might get disturbed if it comes in contact with certain chemicals and you may suffer from breathing problems if you’re allergic.

The must-haves are the basic supplies you need for the perfect result. Now that you have all of these you’re good to go for the process.

Factors you Need to Consider While Choosing the Best Paint Remover for Wood Deck:

Finding a good paint remover isn’t an easy task. You just can’t jump into the internet world and get confused with millions of opinions. The sad part is something that may work great for others might be a joke to you.

That’s why you need to consider certain factors on your own while choosing the perfect one and here are some of them:

● Find the formula you’re comfortable with. There’s a ton of formula that you can work with like, gel, liquid or powder and all the formulas in between. Do you want caustic, solvent, or biochemical? It’s all up to you.

● Choose your workplace. Are you comfortable working indoors or outdoors? If you’ll work outdoors, choose something that doesn’t dry out quickly. And if it’s for indoors, choose something less toxic but it’ll still need proper ventilation.

● Leave it overnight or just 2-minutes? Most of the strippers give their best results if you leave them overnight. But, we understand if you’re in a hurry, there are strippers that just need 2 minutes to work (Check this out). 

● Be careful around pets and plants. Certain chemicals in paint remover can be dangerous for your pets and plants. So, check out the ingredients before purchasing that very one.

The budget can be a considerable factor too. There are amazing offers available at the most reasonable price.


1. What can be Used as a Paint Remover?

Mixing baking soda and boiling water can work as a paint remover if you have metal items in small sizes. But that definitely does not result as good as the strippers and removers mentioned in our list.

2. Is Paint Remover Harmful?

Yes, if they contain CERTAIN CHEMICALS and are not used according to the instructions and with safety measures. If you’re not careful enough, they can irritate your skin or eye and cause discomfort like nausea, headaches, dizziness, etc. It’s always important to take proper safety measures before starting these works.

3. What is the Best Way to Remove Stain & Varnish from Wood?

Using a stiff-bristled scrub brush in curved and fancy surfaces may help to remove varnish. To eliminate all this, soak steel wool with paint remover and rub it against the wood, following the wood grain. Lastly, use the rag to wipe off the excess. Also, know the difference between paint thinner and stripper; thinner thins the paint while strips it off. Most people confuse it and thus don’t get what they want.

4. Should I Remove all Old Paint before Repainting and Prime the Old Paint?

No, only remove old paints that are flaky and not sticking with the wood properly. Scrape the old flaky surface only and it’s ready. Most of the time, you wouldn’t need a primer if you’re going over an old surface. But you might need a spot- primer to prime any bare areas that need addressing before applying finishes.


So, consider all these factors mentioned and you’ll find the perfect remover for your deck. We’ve covered the best way to remove stain, paint, varnishes, etc, and also listed the best removers and strippers of forms. Now, choose your weapon and fight the battle!