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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

The Owatrol stripping range consists of 4 products. Each has their own skills and between them, there’s no wood stripping job that can’t be done! 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 neutralised with Net-Trol after use.


Dilunett – the vertical pro

dilunett-packagingDilunett is a stripper with a gel formulation meaning it won’t drip or run – perfect for vertical surfaces. It serves largely the same purpose as Prepdeck in that it will remove oils, stains and paints but it’s more effective at stripping paint than Prepdeck is. It can remove up to 8 coats in a single application and can be left on for up to 24 hours. This is great for particularly stubborn coatings. Dilunett needs to be neutralised 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.


DSP 800 – the swiss army knife

dsp800-packagingDSP 800 is the king of all strippers, you can use it to strip ANY type of coating – even 2-pack paints and powder coatings. What’s more, it leaves a clean and coating-free finish which does not need to be neutralised. It can also be re-coated in just 6 hours. It’s a gel formula so it’s good for horizontal and vertical surfaces. What’s better is it’s fast acting – in as little as 5 minutes! If you don’t know what your coating is then DSP 800 is definitely the tool for the job.


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. We’ll go through the main types of coating and which stripper to use in each case but if you’ve just got no idea what sort of coating you’re trying to remove then scroll down to the bottom for our catch-all superstar!

prepdeck strips a boat deck

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 so you can use Aquanett instead if you’re removing mill glaze from a vertical surface as it’s a gel so won’t run. The stripper and coatings are removed using water and you’ll need to neutralise with Net-Trol after use with both of these strippers.

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 neutralise with Net-Trol after use with both of these strippers.

Removing paints, varnishes and opaque finishes

Dilunett is great for removing paints – it can remove up to 8 coats in a single application. Its gel formula means you can use it on both horizontal and vertical surfaces. Clean up is easy as you can rinse it with water. You will need to neutralise the surface afterwards with Net-Trol.

You could, however, use DSP 800 instead, it’s also great at removing paint and doesn’t need neutralising afterwards but it does need to be removed with a scraper or scrubbing brush so may take a little longer.

Stripping interior wood

To strip interior wood use DSP 800 as it’s safe to use inside. It doesn’t emit any harmful fumes and is removed with a scraper or scrubbing brush so it’s not too messy. Perfect for in the house.

Removing 2-pack paints and powder coatings

Use DSP 800 for removing 2-pack paints and powder coatings – it’s really easy to use.

dsp800-packagingWhat if I don’t know which coating to use?

If you didn’t apply the previous coating yourself, or you did but still have no idea what it is then we’d recommend using DSP 800 as your stripper. It’s a catch-all stripper which is suitable for removing all types of coatings including 2-pack paints and powder coatings. If you do know your coating or coatings then use the recommended stripper for your use instead.


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, purchase a sample pot of the stripper you’re intending to use (Owatrol sample pots can be purchased with free next working day delivery). Next, find an inconspicuous area on the surface you are trying to strip and apply the stripper according to the instructions. 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. Take a look at our stripping range to find out which is best for you.

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 has the solution you are looking for.

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