Skip to main content

How to Strip Paint From Stairs

By August 28, 2018August 24th, 2022No Comments

Stripping Paint From Stairs with Speedheater CobraPrior to painting or varnishing, it’s important to remove all existing paint and to make all the necessary repairs. Doing so helps ensure a smooth, long-lasting finish. Removing paint from relatively flat woodwork such as doors and door frames is fairly straightforward. Stripping curved surfaces such as stair spindles and hand rails is more challenging. These areas are often hard-to-reach and oddly-shaped, making it tricky to remove the old paint.

Sometimes people wish to remove paint and varnish from all the parts of stairs to reveal the natural beauty of the wood below. However, most older homes have multiple layers of usually lead-based paint or varnish. Many people are unsure how to properly strip these layers away without damaging the surface underneath.

Remove Paint From Stairs and Railings Quickly and Easily

Removing paint from intricate and curved surfaces traditionally involves the use of harsh chemicals, high heat guns, or sanding. These methods are often very time-consuming and messy. In addition, flying lead dust and fumes from lead or the chemicals can pose a safety risk to you and your family. The high heat gun method can scorch wood. If you want to clear coat the bare wood, you will need to add the extra step of sanding off the scorch marks.

The Speedheater™ Cobra makes it possible to remove multiple layers of paint and varnish in a minimal amount of time. The stair steps, risers, spindles and hand rails can be stripped in a few hours. The compact size and unique design of the Cobra allow homeowners to remove paint with ease from tight spaces and intricate designs.

The Speedheater ™Cobra uses infrared heat to warm paint only to the point at which it can be easily scraped away. The relatively low temperature of the paint needed to release it from the wood will not scorch the wood or release lead fumes. Paint is removed in large pieces, reducing the amount of cleanup required.

Cobra Paint Removal Method

Hold the Cobra no closer than one inch from the painted surface. Once the paint begins to bubble and slightly smoke, immediately move the Cobra a few feet away from the surface. At this point, you can either hold the Cobra in one hand and use the scraper with the other, or you can set the Cobra aside turning it over on to its Support Bar. It is important not to place the Cobra’s metal shroud directly on any surface or to have it facing anywhere other than into the open air. The infrared rays will heat whatever is directly in front of them. As an example, notice the bubbled plastic surface just above the label on the side of this electric sander. This sander with a dust collector bag was also being used for paint removal.

How to Strip Paint From Stairs

Oops. The Cobra was not left pointing into the open air. Talk about “burning the competition!”

Softened paint should be scraped away immediately with sharp, metal scrapers whose blade edges match the curves being scraped. Our Speedheater™ scrapers provide these options.  Once paint has been removed, do not reheat the surface as it is. If a slight coating still remains on wood after paint stripping is complete, mist the area thoroughly with water and reheat it for a very short time. Then adjust your heating time to slightly longer for the next surface.

Eco-Strip offers both the Speedheater™ Standard 1100 and the Speedheater™ Cobra. These revolutionary products can be used to safely remove paint and varnish from almost any wood surface, flat or curved. Please contact us for more information.