Have you been researching how to remove paint from the deck? 

You notice your deck needs a little TLC, but you do not want to spend the whole day painting.

So how do you remove the paint from a wood deck without all the hassle?

In this article, you will know how to make your deck look new again by removing the old paint.

Table of Contents

how to remove paint from wood deck

Is Getting Paint Off of a Deck Difficult?

If the paint on the deck is fresh, it may be possible to remove it with a scrub brush and a bucket of water or a garden hose.

But if the paint is old or peeling, it may be more complex.

Some factors to consider when determining the difficulty of removing paint from a wood deck are:

  • The type of wood deck
  • The condition of the wood deck
  • The size and shape of the wood deck
  • The type of paint used on the wood deck

The most important of these factors is determining the type of paint on the deck: oil-based paint or latex paint?

If the paint is oil-based, it will be harder to remove than latex paint.

If you’re not sure what kind of paint it is, you can test it to find out in four steps:

  1. Put some alcohol on a rag or cotton swab.
  2. Wipe an area where you see chipped or peeling paint.
  3. Apply a small amount of pressure with your fingertips
  4. Observe the results.

If the paint comes off easily, it is latex-based paint. You can remove it easily with a scrub brush and a bucket of water or a garden hose.

However, if the paint does not come off quickly, it is likely an oil-based paint.

A situation like this requires you to use a more complex removal method.

Keep reading to learn how to remove oil-based paint off a wood deck.

Note: If your wood deck was built before 1978, there is a chance that the paint on your wood deck contains lead. Because lead-based paint is highly toxic, we recommend that you call professionals like A1 Paint Removal, Painting & Restoration.

how to remove paint from deck

How to Remove Paint From a Wood Deck in 4 Steps

If you have a wood deck that is covered in oil-based paint, there are a few things you can do to remove the paint.

However, we should warn you — this is a tedious process that will require a great deal of patience and time.

As you read the five steps below, consider if you will do it yourself or if you need to hire a professional for your paint removal.

#1: Prep the Deck

If you want to remove old paint from your deck, take the time to prep the deck beforehand. 

It will help prevent damage to the wood and ensure a successful removal process.

Here’s a checklist of things to take care of when prepping your wood deck before removing old paint:

  1. Remove furniture and decor
  2. Secure a plastic covering over nearby trees, bushes, etc.
  3. Cover any glass, siding, metal railing, or parts of the house in proximity
  4. Remove any loose or flaking paint with a power washer
  5. Loosen and remove peeling paint with a stiff-bristle brush or paint scraper
  6. Protect the area under the wood deck boards from drainage

Protect Any Greenery and Surrounding Fence or Grass Areas

When removing old exterior paint from a deck, you don’t want to overlook protecting nearby landscape, siding, and masonry.

You can do this by covering with a drop cloth or plastic sheeting.

Consider one or more of the following items to secure the covering:

  • Twine
  • Cable ties
  • Heavy-duty adhesive; or
  • Painter’s tape

Gather Your Supplies

You will need to purchase some paint stripper. 

On the back of the paint stripper container, it should list for you want tools you need to remove paint from your wood deck, such as:

  • Rags and a stiff-bristle brush
  • Gloves and eye protection
  • A garden sprayer
  • Bucket

After you gather your supplies, pour the paint stripper into a garden sprayer.

easiest way to get old paint of deck

#2: Apply Your Paint Stripper

Strip the paint from the deck by following these steps:

  1. Spray the stripper onto the wood deck surface.
    Tip: Start from the opposite corner from where you will exit the deck.
  2. Let the paint stripper sit until the stain lifts — which is usually around 15-20 minutes.
  3. Keep the surface wet by applying more paint stripper if it dries during that time.

What Chemicals to Avoid 

When you are considering what type of paint stripper to use for your deck, avoid any products that contain methylene chloride.

Severe exposure to methylene chloride can be hazardous to your health, leading to death in some cases. 

Products, like methylene chloride, work quickly but are very powerful. It is best to let professionals use these commercial-grade chemicals.

With so many types of paint strippers to choose from, it’s overwhelming to sort through and decide which one to use.

Let A1 Paint Removal, Painting & Restoration take the guesswork out of it for you. We are a professional painting company that specializes in stripping and refinishing decks.

how to remove paint from deck

How to Remove Paint From Deck Without Chemicals

If you need to remove paint from a deck without using harsh chemicals, The Spruce has some options for you to consider:

  • Use a soy-based gel paint remover
  • Use a citrus-based paint remover
  • Scrape or sand it away
  • Use a heat gun (or a hairdryer)

#3: Remove Paint or Stain and Rinse

After the paint lifts away from the wood deck, you have two options:

  1. Use a brush to scrub it off; or
  2. Use a pressure washer to blast it away

After the deck dries, you may scrub or scrape around railing posts, balusters, or other intricate details under and around the deck.

If you need to remove old paint from those areas, it will take additional time and effort.

How Do You Use a Pressure Washer to Remove Paint From a Deck?

Using a pressure washer on an old wood deck can damage the wood.

But if you decide to use a power washer, be sure to:

  • Set the pressure at no higher than 1000 PSI; and
  • Keep the nozzle tip at least 9 to 12 inches away from the wood to avoid damaging it

#4: Sand and Prep for New Finish

You will also need to prep the area for the new finish, which will entail cleaning the deck by removing any old paint or sealant.

Then, you can start sanding with fine-grit sandpaper to remove any old paint and prepare the surface for the new finish.

Other considerations:

  • If you want to stain your wood deck a lighter color than the previous coating, you need to strip all layers of stain and/or paint off the deck — leaving it bare.

    Doing this ensures that the old paint will not show through.
  • If you are recoating your deck with a darker stain, it might cover the old stain.

When to Use a Neutralizer on Your Deck After Paint Removal 

After you strip the paint off your deck, you can use a neutralizer to brighten dark spots on the wood.

Simply apply a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water to the areas you want to lighten up.

Finally, let it dry before painting or staining your deck.

best way to remove paint from deck

What Is the Best Way to Remove Paint From a Deck?

Paint can be a tough substance to remove from a wood surface.

The best way to remove paint from a wood deck is with a combination of:

  • Chemical paint strippers
  • Pressure washings; and 
  • Manually scraping the paint off

Using all three methods may be more work than you want to do, but it ensures that your wood deck has a polished finish.

Let A1 Paint Removal, Painting & Restoration Remove Paint Off Your Deck

Now that you know how to remove paint from the deck, you probably realize it is not only labor-intensive but can also be messy and overwhelming.

Worse, you might not even be able to remove all the paint. 

Some paint can be difficult to remove, and even if you remove it all off, you might end up with a mess.

A1 Paint Removal, Painting & Restoration has the solution for you with our experienced professional team.

We’ve been providing quality painting and restoration services for over twenty-five years.

Click below to contact us today for a free estimate on your paint removal project.

how to remove paint from deck