What is a paint stripper and what are its uses?

17 octubre 2019

If you're wondering what a paint stripper is and what it's for, you've come to the right place. Here we are going to clarify everything you need to know about this professional product.

A paint stripper is simply a paint remover or a substance that removes layers of varnish, enamel or glue that has been applied to a piece of furniture or another type of surface of any material: wood, metal, tiles,..

Direct access to the material is required when we are preparing to restore a piece of furniture and a clean and smooth surface is required before the application of any kind of treatment or paint. But what exactly is the role of the paint strippers? There are surfaces which already have paints and certain varnishes on them and we therefore cannot repaint them directly, as the new layers of paint would not adhere properly. This happens for example with epoxy floor paints or also with many furniture varnishes, so it is necessary to use a paint stripper to remove these layers.

These layers can be removed in two ways, either by sanding the entire surface down, or by applying a paint stripper that removes the layer of paint or varnish.

How you strip and what type of stripper is best depends on the surface and the layers to be removed, especially when it comes to removing many layers of paint or removing rust from a metal surface.

Types of paint strippers and their applications

Strippers are thick substances - so it is normal to use the term stripping gel - which is composed of two solvents in which one is responsible for soaking into the surface, while the other acts on the topmost layer. This way, it is possible to eliminate all previous applications and to have them come to the surface in a wrinkled layer that is easy to remove, without damaging the structure of the surface.

In the case of how to remove paint from wood, a specific paint stripper is usually the most convenient as it acts on the surface without darkening it or leaving stains or marks. In the case of wanting to strip wood, it is important to apply the materials and spread them in the direction of the grain, removing excess product and dry residues so as not to spoil the appearance of the surface.

In the case of paint strippers for metallic materials, the procedure is very similar, but in these cases, given the strength of the material, it is usually necessary to use a spatula or brush to remove all the debris and make the surface uniform.

To remove paint residues and layers, the strongest stripper and the one recommended by Montó Pinturas is their Quitamont gel, a semi-gelified paint stripper that removes paint from all types of surfaces and is very easy to apply and clean. Its whitish appearance helps it to be applied regularly and completely, as well as facilitating its removal without leaving any residue that alters the finish.

The thick texture of this type of paint stripper facilitates its application on all types of surfaces and by dissolving external layers of paint it is ideal for, for example, stripping paint from tiles without being abrasive and affecting the finish and shine of the material.

How to use a paint stripper correctly

If you are going to apply a paint stripper and you want it to be more effective, without spoiling the surface to be treated, these are the steps to follow to use this product properly:

o   Apply the paint stripper with a suitably sized brush depending on the surface. Before applying it, any excess material must be removed and the stripper should be spread in thick, regular layers.

o   After allowing the paint stripper to act for 10 to 20 minutes, it will have created a soft film on the surface that can be removed easily with a spatula, scraper or brush.

o   Then, to remove all traces of the paint removers, it is best to clean the surface with the help of a brush and water. On some wood or metal materials it may be necessary to add turpentine to the rinse to completely remove all the stripping material.

o   Before we continue to treat the surface, we must let it dry for 24 to 48 hours to remove any moisture and make it easier to remove any residue left over from the application of the paint stripper.

o   Now the surface is ready to be treated, either by applying a new paint, enamel, varnish or protective treatment.


Sometimes, depending on the type of paints or coatings applied in the past, it may be necessary to repeat the stripping process before continuing to remove paint residue completely.

The Montó Pinturas online catalogue and its Customer Service team are always available to help you with any queries about the range of products or to provide you with any advice about which paint stripper is the most suitable for each treatment.