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There are many different ways to finish a piece of wood. With so many options, it can be difficult to choose the right one. However, you might be relieved to know that you’ve always got more than one chance. Any sort of wood finish can be sanded away, but it’s much more efficient to use a wood stain remover.
Also called wood strippers, these products can save you a lot of work. Since you may not know much about these products, let’s look at our top five picks for the best wood stain removers.
Best Wood Stain Removers in May, 2021
|1||DEFY Stain Stripper |
|100 - 150 sq ft (gal)|
|2||OXALIC ACID||up to 2000 sq ft per pack|
|3||Extreme Solutions||up to 3000 sq ft|
|4||Restore-A-Deck||500 - 1000 sq ft per pack|
|5||#1 Deck Stripper||100 - 150 sq ft (gal)|
Made For Convenience
The main selling point of this product is the fact that it’s easy to use. There’s no mixing or measuring, you just put it into a pump sprayer and go to work. It only takes about 30 minutes for this cleaner to do its work, so there will be less delay.
This one doesn’t work on paint, and it won’t remove certain film-type finishes, either. That’s kind of surprising because the warnings on the label indicate toxicity. With such harsh chemicals, you would expect this one to be a little stronger.
Value And Versatility
When you are mixing the solution yourself, you can customize its strength to fit the job. For jobs that don’t require all that much power, you can save some material by mixing it weak. For harsh jobs, you can make it extra-strong (within reason, of course).
The other big advantage of this product is value. On a cost-per-gallon basis, this is one of the cheapest products on the list. So, it may be a little more difficult to use, but it will definitely save you some money.
There is only one problem here: Pure oxalic acid is pretty corrosive. It’s not as bad as sulfuric acid or nitric acid, but it can do some serious damage if handled improperly. Always use gloves, goggles, and breathing protection when using this stuff. Very important point: Make sure to keep it away from your children and pets!
As the name of this stripper implies, it is meant for the toughest of jobs. This is the “big gun” that you can break out for those occasions when nothing less will do. It is strong enough to get rid of mold, mildew, old paint, rotted wood, and most other problems.
Strength And Safety
The best thing about this stain remover is the fact that it provides plenty of cleaning power without the use of overly dangerous chemicals. Of course, you don’t want to get too careless because there are still a few warnings on the package. Still, this product has a rare combination of strength and safety.
This one is sold as a powder, which means that it has to be mixed. This adds an extra step, but the price is a bigger problem. This is the most expensive product on our list by a significant margin.
This product offers a mix of versatility, strength, affordability and safety. If you aren’t sure what you need, a product like this is your best bet. With a little experimentation, it should be able to handle any deck stripping job.
Cheapest Per Gallon
On a cost-per-gallon basis, this one offers the lowest price. Of course, your cost will vary depending on how strong you mix your cleaning solution. This product gets pretty good coverage, so you shouldn’t have to mix too much at one time.
The only problem I see here is the fact that this product might be a little more dangerous than advertised. It is “eco-safe” in the sense that sodium carbonate (its main ingredient) is found in nature. Thus, it doesn’t pose a huge threat to the environment. However, the crystals and the solution can still pose a threat to you.
Specialized For Deck Staining
This product is meant for those who are planning to stain their deck, and it does a great job in that department. It brings out the color and grain of the natural wood while removing that ugly old finish. Best of all, it will help the stain to adhere a little better to the surface.
Like many of the cheaper choices, this product isn’t all that strong. It won’t remove paint, and certain coatings can also give it a hard time. On top of that, the coverage is only about 100-150 square feet per gallon, which isn’t that great.
Now let’s go a little deeper into the subject and educate you about these products. Only in this way can I help you to choose the best one.
Why Use A Wood Stain Remover?
At this point, you might be wondering why you would choose to use a wood stripper. The obvious answer is convenience. You could use some other method, but this really is the easiest way to go.
Scrapers are too slow and too much work, so they are clearly inferior. Even with the use of a heat gun, you are looking at hours of work. You could use a power sander or some other rotary grinder, which is also pretty fast. However, you are going to have dust and paint chips flying everywhere. This creates a breathing hazard and makes cleanup more of a pain.
Types Of Wood Stain Remover
There are many different ingredients that can be used in these products, so this isn’t a simple subject. While many different things are used, all wood stain remover/stripper products will work in one of the following ways.
Solvents work by chemically dissolving the old finish. Examples of solvents used in wood strippers would include methylene chloride, alcohol, acetone, and toluene. One of the main advantages of this type of product is extreme cleaning power. These are some of the only wood stain removers that can dissolve old paint. However, these also tend to be the most toxic products as well.
Caustic strippers work by dissolving the finish and converting it into some other substance. Strong caustic cleaners are very popular for wood stripping, even though they require a little more care. These are usually strong acids or bases, both of which tend to be corrosive. Examples of caustic agents used in wood strippers would include oxalic acid and lye (sodium or potassium hydroxide). These substances are the harshest option, but sometimes that is what you need.
These products attempt to get the best of both worlds by using chemical substances that are less refined. By using more natural ingredients, manufacturers attempt to create alternative wood strippers that will be safer to use and easier on the environment. Examples of biochemical agents used in these products would include citric acid, soy oil, lactic acid, wood-pulp extract, and various terpenes.
After buying your wood stain, you might be in a rush to get started. However, I would advise you to take your time and remove the old finish thoroughly. Whichever of these products you choose, you will probably get good results. The extra time and care will result in a level of beauty that pleases both the eye and the soul. I hope you have enjoyed this article and that you will come back to enjoy more of our work.