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How to strip wood

How To Strip Wood

We’ve been tackling the difficult process of stripping wood. Whether you’re stripping wood oils from your decking or paint from your garden furniture we can help you to find the most appropriate stripper and teach you how to use it.

Here we are going to cover:

  1. The Owatrol Wood Stripper Range
  2. Why The Previous Coating Matters
  3. Finding The Touch Time

If you are looking for some more specific information then take a look at our other blog posts where we have created wood stripping guides for the following:

This first section of our wood stripping guide which will talk you through the Owatrol stripping range and which one to use depending on your stripping job.

Stripping wood surfaces can seem incredibly difficult and there are such a wide variety of different strippers available. Confusion and worry about stripping is often the primary reason for people not attempting their projects. However, with a little guidance, it needn’t be complicated.

Owatrol Wood Stripper Range

We have 2 wood strippers suitable for different things. Let’s have a brief introduction to each one – their 60-second pitches perhaps?


Prepdeck – the all-rounder

prepdeck-packaging-2016Prepdeck is a good all-rounder, capable of stripping oils, stains, grade stamps and paints as well as removing mill glaze on new wood. It’s easy to use and gives great results. However, it’s a liquid so you can only use it on horizontal surfaces. Prepdeck needs to be neutralized with Net-Trol after use.


Aquanett – the oils guy

aquanett-packagingAquanett is a wood oil remover, it performs particularly well in stripping wood oils and performs better on Teak and Linseed Oil than Prepdeck does. If you’ve got these sorts of wood oils to remove then Aquanett should be your first port of call. You can also use it to remove mill glaze from new wood. Aquanett needs to be neutralised with Net-Trol after use.


When deciding to strip your wood surfaces, the deciding factors for which stripper to use are the surface that you’re stripping and the coating or coatings to be removed. In the next part of our wood stripping guide we’ll be starting to look at different use cases and demonstrating which stripper is best for each job.

Why The Previous Coating Matters

In this second part of our wood stripping guide, we’re looking at which stripper to use depending on your coating. When looking to strip previous coatings from your wood surfaces there are 2 things that are particularly important – the first being whether you’re doing it inside or outside and the second being what type of coating you are removing.

Different strippers will perform better in removing different types of coating and so knowing the type of coating you are tackling is pretty useful when choosing the right stripper.

The main types of coating you’d be looking to remove would be:

  • Wood oils
  • Paints & opaque finishes
  • Wood stains
  • Varnishes
  • 2-pack paints & powder coatings
  • Mill glaze
  • Grade stamps & other imperfections

The main thing to do is not to panic, it’s easy to become bogged down by the specifics and let it put you off but it really needn’t be all that complicated at all.

Removing mill glaze

Prepdeck is great for removing mill glaze present in new wood but you can only use it on horizontal surfaces as it’s a liquid. You can use Aquanett instead if you’re removing mill glaze from a vertical surface as it has a gel like formula and so won’t run. The stripper and coatings are removed using water and you’ll need to neutralize with Net-Trol after use.

Removing wood oils

Aquanett is designed specifically for the removal of wood oils and we would recommend it first and foremost. However, you can also use Prepdeck for removing wood oils from your decking (although Aquanett performs better on linseed and teak oils). The stripper and coatings are removed using water and you’ll need to neutralize with Net-Trol after use.

Removing wood stains

Prepdeck is a powerful and versatile wood stripper. It can thoroughly strip away old finishes to prepare wood for new treatments, get rid of even well-established stains along with other marks such as grade stamps, and provides an extremely effective cleaning action. The stripper and coatings are removed using water and you’ll need to neutralize with Net-Trol after use.


Finding the touch time

finding the touch time

We have saved the most important bit until last with our wood stripping guide as we’re talking about touch time.

Before you undertake any wood stripping project, whether big or small, there are 2 important things you need to do. Firstly work out the correct stripper for you. Secondly, work out your touch time.

If you’ve got absolutely no idea what we’re talking about then panic not, it’s not difficult but it is important. Let’s start at the beginning…

What is touch time?

Touch time is the amount of time that you need to leave your stripper on your surface for it to remove all the coatings before you begin to rinse or remove it. It’s important to know this. If you try to rinse off your stripper too soon, then you’ll have to repeat the process. A big waste of time, effort and money!

How do I work out the touch time of my stripper?

First, find an inconspicuous area on the surface you are trying to strip and apply a small amount of the stripper according to the instructions to test if it is suitable. Each stripper will have its own recommended working times so check the directions for guidance on how long to leave it working.

After an appropriate period of time, gently scrub at the edge of the area to see if the coating is lifting. If it is not, then leave it for a short while longer and try again. If the coatings are all lifting then take a note of the time and you have your touch time! This should give you a rough working time for your stripping project. Remember that coatings are not always applied evenly so always check as you go.

If your stripper is not lifting the coatings at all then it is likely that you are not using an appropriate stripper for your coating.

If you are still unsure, then please do not hesitate to contact us so we can assist you.

Owatrol Team
About Owatrol Team

Our team are ready and willing to support you with your requirements whether it is protecting your newly laid deck or renovating a luxury yacht, whatever the application Owatrol US has the solution you are looking for.

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