How to Remove Spray Paint From a Wooden Deck

Lisa East Hunter

Spray paint can be particularly tricky to work with. It has the nasty habit of traveling onto nearby surfaces and causing paint spatter on objects you had no intention of painting. If you have gotten spray paint on a wooden surface, like a deck, you have two options for removing it: chemical paint strippers or sanding.

Chemical strippers work well and require a lot less labor than sanding. Keep in mind that anything that will remove the spray paint will also remove your deck stain.

  1. Use a paint brush to apply a generous amount of stripper to the parts of the deck with paint spatters. Always wear gloves while working with a chemical paint stripper.

  2. Work the chemical into the paint in a circular motion, paying particular attention to hard-to-reach places like corners and crevices.

  3. Allow the paint stripper to penetrate the paint according to manufacturer's instructions, usually 20 to 30 minutes. Test to see if the stripper is working by scraping a small section with the scraper. If the paint does not come up easily, allow the stripper to set until the paint is easy to remove.

  4. Scrape off as much paint as possible using your scraper. Go back over the painted areas with steel wool to remove any remaining paint. Use clean water to remove the chemical paint stripper from the deck.

  5. Touch up the areas where the deck's original paint or stain were removed by the chemical paint stripper. Use a clean trim brush to patch the spots with a matching stain or paint.


Stubborn paint stains can also be removed using sandpaper. Sanding is a bit more labor intensive so choose this method primarily for smaller areas.