Removing Polyurethane

Remove Polyurethane

Renovations and House painting Sydney
Polyurethane is used to protect floors, furniture or other wooden surfaces. Occasionally we need to remove it if we are to re-stain/re-finish the wooden surface, or if the polyurethane is simply getting too old.
Of course polyurethane is a little difficult to remove, specifically because it is meant to protect the floor. So a few strong chemicals and methods are required.
Polyurethane and the chemicals used to remove it are quite harsh on skin and can make breathing difficult. In fact the removal chemicals are toxic in large doses. So good room ventilation (open doors and windows) with breathing masks and protective gloves are necessary.
1. Wear old clothes or overalls that cover the whole body. And use glove and a breathing mask.
2. Use a paint stripper to remove the polyurethane. Water based paint strippers will produce lower fumes, but they take longer to work.

3. Apply the paint stripper with a cheap or old paintbrush; you will probably throw this out afterward. Do a small section of the floor, perhaps 2 feet square. Cover it thickly with the stripper and be sure to fill in any cracks or tight spaces.
4. Leave the stripper to work for about 10 minutes; check the instruction on the product for exact times. Once the polyurethane starts to wrinkle you know it is working.

5. Scrape off the polyurethane with a metal paint scrapper. Scrap in the direction of the woodgrain. Dispose of the scrapping in an old disposable container.
6. Use a wire brush to remove any further polyurethane. Also move this in the direction of the grain.
7. Wash the paint stripper away with a wet rag. Often the rag can just use water, but sometimes ethanol or mineral spirits is required. It depends on the type of paint stripper.
8. Use 150 grit sandpaper or steel wool to smooth out the timber. You can use an electric sander if it is designed to leave a flat surface.
9. Move on to the next area of the floor.

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