What to Use to Remove Latex Stain From Wood Rails

There are two standard forms of wood stain. Penetrating stains have been rubbed into the wood, effecting the shade, with all the grain . Opaque or strong covering stains, such as latex stains, adhere to the surface and then conceal the grain. Both latex and oil strong stains typically require the application of a chemical stripper to remove the finish. A stripper made specifically for solid stains generally gives best results. Since railings are generally full of detail, additional work may be asked to complete the stripping process.

Surface Prep

You begin the job by removing furnishings which are near the rail and taping off around the edges to protect surrounding surfaces by the stain stripper. Lay a drop cloth under the railing, and use a stiff brush and household cleaner to wash dirt and grime from the rail, and any loose stain. Permit the railings to dry completely before applying the stain. Run a finger along the deepest detail after 20 minutes to check whether the rail is dry. Wait as long as necessary for the rail to dry completely for best results.

Stripper Application

You ought to read the label and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for best outcomes because strippers differ slightly from brand to brandnew. Apply a stripper rated for strong latex stains with a disposable paintbrush starting from the surface of the rail down. Work from one end of the rail to the other, working up under and into each part of the railing design. Use the stripper in a rather heavy coat, covering the whole surface of the rail as evenly as you can. Avoid reworking sections which are already coated because the stripper works best when left undisturbed.


Permit the stripper to sit until the finish lifts from the surface. This may take from five to 45 minutes, based on the stripper and the condition and type of finish you’re working with. Watch to make sure no area of the railing dries out. Apply additional stripper only to areas where required to avoid drying. Dampen a plastic sheeting scrubber with warm water and wash the stripper in the surface, working to discharge all of the stain as you move. Keep the scrubber rinsed and work from the top down. Use a stiff nylon scraper, or wash brush in stubborn spots. Apply more stripper to areas which don’t completely release and return to them after moving through the entire railing. Stubborn splotches of stain may ultimately require sanding to eliminate. Most of the time, these are small enough that an oscillating tool with wood sand paper attachments ought to have the ability to eliminate them, especially from corners, borders and inaccessible locations. Use coarse, 60-grit sandpaper. Massive splotches may require a handheld orbital sander.

Prepping for New Finish

To prep for the new finish, permit the rail to dry out completely. It may take several hours. Sand the whole railing from the top down, with the orbital sander for the main locations and hitting detailed areas with the oscillating sander. Use medium-grit sand paper for the first stage (120-grit) and fine-grit for the finishing stage (240-grit).

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