If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact

Removing paint from painted floorboards

  • 16-02-2022 11:32pm
    Registered Users Posts: 171 ✭✭

    Is it possible to remove paint from painted floorboards, quite an old house and not sure of how many layers there may be. But is it an impossible task and can it be done without damaging the floorboards. Someone mentioned industrial sanders and getting an expert to do it but I worry that sanding make the boards completely smooth?

    Really appreciate any help


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,108 ✭✭✭boombang

    Reckon this won't be worth it. Nitromors is amazing stuff, but it's a dirty job and it will be expensive for that area. The amount of paint to remove looks pretty thick and I don't think you'll remove it all unless you take a good few mm off the surface with a sander.

  • Registered Users Posts: 171 ✭✭Captain Kidd

    That’s a shame, I really appreciate you getting back to me. I’m not familiar with nitromors and see it’s almost €30 a litre bottle, any idea how many bottles were talking in a room this size? Also if I was to attempt it, what can go wrong or is it something that if you commit to you should get it looking nice, eventually, or can it lead a disaster? No experience with this really. Thanks again

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,106 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    i recently used paint stripper for the first time in years - nitromors, as it happens, and the modern stuff is very weak. methyl chloride free, i think the container said - and obviously that's what used to make paint stripper effective.

    @OP, you could try a heat gun on an inconspicuous section, maybe just to see what condition the boards are in; but be warned that stripping a floor like that with a heat gun will be a long job. also, the boards will likely be full of dings and whatnot that the paint has gotten into so you'll be hard pushed to get it all out.

    sanding could work, but you'd end up with smooth boards which by the sound of it is not what you want.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,996 ✭✭✭Mena Mitty

    For what it's worth I tell you what we did about 25 years ago.

    We had a bedroom upstairs with layers and layers of dark oak stain about 2ft from skirting around the room.

    To make a long story short, our neighbour at the time (a handy man who knew a bit about everything) suggested we take off the skirting, take up the floor boards turn them over and put them back down. Sand them and varnish...lots and lots of varnish. I have no photos to show you but I saw a pub doing the same one time.

    We were very happy with the outcome.

  • Registered Users Posts: 171 ✭✭Captain Kidd

    Thanks, thats definitely a concern, would not want smooth floorboards. heat gun I’d be worried of drying the boards out or doing damage, not too familiar with them but maybe I’ll try.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 171 ✭✭Captain Kidd

    That very thing dawned on me today, is that possible, would be great to hear if anyone else has tried this. Did it take you a long time to do this? The house was built in 1894 I think so not sure what to expect the reverse side of those boards to look like.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,106 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    at least if the boards are that old, they won't be T&G so would be easier to lift.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,996 ✭✭✭Mena Mitty

    Sorry, I can't remember how long it took. He didn't horse them up. He took his time and tried not to damage any of the boards. A bit of damage was unavoidable but we were lucky to get two lengths of floor board from his father in law. We had no dry rot no wet rot and no woodworm to contend with.

    We had him put up new skirting to finish off the job.

    Hope you find a solution.

  • Registered Users Posts: 171 ✭✭Captain Kidd

    Thanks for all the comments, so is the consensus that this is an impossible job? Unless I flip them which is an idea worth investigating. Would love to hear from anyone who has experience removing paint from old wooden floorboards.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,106 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    It's not impossible, just that if you don't want them sanded you're reducing your options.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 4,450 ✭✭✭KevRossi

    I've done it before using an electric paint shaver and finishing off with a hand scraper.

    It wasn't perfectly smooth but it certainly wasn't rough, not sure how rough/smooth you want yours. You can 'roughen' up wood in several ways before varnishing if you want.

    Job is a bit messy, but nothing impossible. I used a Henry hoover with it and I think that helped, but it only caught about half the crap. I think I got it done (25 sqm) on one Saturday, save for finishing off small bits with the hand shaver. Varnished it a couple of times during the following week and it looked good.

  • Registered Users Posts: 171 ✭✭Captain Kidd

    thanks for this tip, not sure my wife is confident of me tackling the job in the first place, yet alone approaching it with fire extinguishers 😂 but desperate time and all!

  • Registered Users Posts: 171 ✭✭Captain Kidd

    Thanks, I’d be worried of taking chunks of wood out or are those things easy to use and generally don’t trim too much wood, ideally I want the wood left as untouched as possible. A sander I worry would make everything very smooth so want to avoid those.

  • Registered Users Posts: 171 ✭✭Captain Kidd

    I’ve been in touch with a company and they seem to say this stuff will work no problem. Has anyone any experience with it?

    thanks again everyone

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭dathi

    that's sodium hydroxide which is caustic soda loads of videos on you tube telling how to mix your own but can be very messy and you will need some serious gloves and ppe as it burns skin and will need neutralizing before you can refinish

  • Registered Users Posts: 171 ✭✭Captain Kidd

    Thanks, really appreciate the comment, looking into it, it does seem like incredibly messy work

  • Registered Users Posts: 478 ✭✭HorseSea

    Forget Nitromores on a floor like that, these days it's pretty week you would need multiple 5l tins. Sanding with a floor sander would do it, but you would take a few mm off.

    Also beware if the house is really old there was a fashion at one time to have square carpets in the centre and paint the surrounding floor black. Don't know what type of paint the black was, but it does not sand well, it melts and stains. An extra mm or two removal required it you have that stuff at the sides. I think it may have been bitumen based.

    Good luck.

  • Registered Users Posts: 171 ✭✭Captain Kidd

    Thanks my main concern with sanding is that it takes the texture away, or at least that’s what I would expect, the result being very smooth floorboards. Seems like an enormous job either way!

    Thanks again

  • Registered Users Posts: 6 Jessie_520