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How to Remove Paint From a Porch

Henri Bauholz

There are times when you may want to remove all the paint from your front porch, instead of just scraping the few loose flakes of old paint and spot priming with a sealer paint. Taking an old porch down to bare wood is a lot of work, but the results can be quite pleasing and may well be worth the effort.

  1. Start by laying down a canvas tarpaulin or drop cloth to catch all the loose paint that will be coming off the porch. Put the drop cloth over top of the lawn and right next to the building, so you do not have to rake paint chips after the job is complete. If you are not going to paint the porch deck, then you will also have to cover that surface with a tarpaulin as well.

  2. Use a water hose and a high-pressure nozzle to remove the loose bits of paint. You can rent a pneumatic power washer from your local rental company, but be careful to set the powerful spray nozzle so it does not gouge or mar the wood. Spray everywhere you can with the high-pressure nozzle until you have loosened all possible paint. Allow the wood to dry.

  3. Take a paint scraper and a molding scraper (this handy tool has a triangular metal head attached to a metal post by a screw) and continue with the process of removing the old paint. Remember to wear goggles. Scrape as hard as you can without marring the wood or leaving gouges. Remove as much paint as you can. The molding scraper works especially well for beaded boards. A wire brush can also help in the removal of loose paint. You will need to set up a large stepladder or small extension ladder to get at all the different places during this step.

  4. Plug in the power grinder and belt sander and go about the paint removal with these tools. Avoid gouges when using power tools. Do not use the belt sander on an overhead or rounded surface. An industrial-grade orbital sander is another useful tool for this job. Always wear a dust mask when operating a high-powered sander, such as the belt sander or power grinder.

  5. Cover any areas of hard-to-remove paint with paint remover. Apply this strong chemical sparingly with an old paint brush. Allow the paint stripper to sit for a few minutes. Then, scrape the paint off with a paint scraper or molding scraper. Rinse with the garden hose. Use a pair of rubber gloves while using the paint remover and cover the porch deck with a canvas tarp or drop cloth.

  6. Touch up the rough areas of wood with a sander. Be sure to use a dust mask, when you use the orbital sander or power grinder.

  7. Tip

    Always keep an eye on the wood to make sure you aren’t leaving any gouges. The idea is to finish the job with an exposed exterior of bare wood.


    Make sure your ladder or scaffolding is secure before you begin work.