Mom Always Said Don’t Strip

And mothers are usually right.


Between sanding & spackling, our Saturday consisted of attempting to strip the window frames in our bedroom.


We spread it on and covered it with strips of the paper.


I think we made 2 mistakes with this product.

  1. We didn’t put it on thick enough.
  2. We didn’t let it sit long enough.



After 6 hours, we noticed that parts of the peel-a-way were drying out – which isn’t supposed to happen. We had 2 options – slather more on or take it all off.


We decided to take it off.


Either we should never have tried stripping to begin with.
We should have put more on and let it sit over night.


Unfortunately, neither of those things are what happened. We took it off then, 6 hours into it, and it was the worst.ever.


We scraped & scraped & scraped. It took the first coat, maybe 2 or 3 coats off. Most of the beige-y paint came off, showing the orange underneath. In a few spots we even got the orange off.


The peel-a-way has to be neutralized, so we washed it off with vinegar.


It made the whole room smell like salad. Mmmm… salad….


{See that shiny dot in my hair? I lost my hair tie & pulled my hair up with a few drywall nails. Klassy.}

At the end of the day, I cannot say if I would or would not do it all over again.


Part of me wonders if all that time and energy and effort and sweat and frustration was really worth it. I’m glad we didn’t get over zealous & try to strip anything else.

Another part of me is glad because it did remove a few layers of paint. Sunday we sanded everything down and it does look better. It’s not perfect but it’s better. Getting it down to the wood to stain was never our intention. It’s just going to get painted white. I think it’ll be ok. It will be fabulous. 

We also learned that the ENTIRE bedroom was once painted orange.

Look at this cross section of the wall paint.


Yup! It was on the walls and the trim. Lots & lots of orange. While I’m not going to paint our bedroom orange, I like it. It’s gutsy.

So spill. Have you ever stripped?

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7 Responses to Mom Always Said Don’t Strip

  1. MrsLimestone says:

    We did a strip off post very early on between Peel Away and Rock Miracle. Personally I prefer the PA but the guys that do stripping professionally tend to prefer RM. Either way, its a lot of work.

    Peel away is definitely the best b/c the fumes are low and its hard to mess up (RM can burn the wood, etc.) but you have to lay it on very thick (like icing a cake). You can use plastic wrap if you run out of that paper stuff.

    There are a couple of things to note with Peel Away. It works best on smooth surfaces so any sort of detail area is going to require a lot more manual work. It also works best when gravity is in your favor – so something horizontal will peel better than something vertical. And lastly, it doesn’t seem to able to tackle oil and latex at the same time. Assuming you have a mix of both in there, you’ll have to do it twice – once to get at the latex layers and once to do the oil.

    Its not perfect – Ive had some successes and some failures with it.

  2. Sara says:

    I used Peel Away Smart Strip for some french doors with the intention of sanding down and staining the doors. There was (what seemed like) a dozen layers of oil and latex paints on them and after 5 separate stripper coatings with the doors flat on saw horses, we finally realized we will just have to sand and paint them white. Like they already were. It was such a bummer, but I’ve realized that there is no way I will attempt this again, so why have one pair of stained doors and every other one is white? All our beautiful doors and two remaining sets of french doors will be painted unfortunately. I wouldn’t strip again, I find a good sanding and a coating with BIN is the best bet when you are going to repaint anyway.

  3. Frank says:

    I’ve stripped on a table top once… It wasn’t pretty. I’ll never do it again (unless I’m drunk, then who knows what can happen)! :p

  4. Dad "A" says:

    It was like trying to pick chewing gum off a hot road…

  5. Kim says:

    Did mom really always say “don’t strip?” I don’t think my mom’s ever told me that, although it’s probably assumed. haha…. the title just made me laugh.

    Stripping paint or stain kinda sucks. I avoid it at all costs. Ryan stripped one dresser and it was nearly the death of him. Because I decided our house was not an act of perfection, we just tried to sand a little and painted right over the globs of stain and paint. Sometimes I wish we wouldn’t have done this. I wish we would have spent more time and made it smooth. I think you will be happy you did what you did… but, it will take a TON of time to do more. So…. that really doesn’t help you or answer any questions, does it??? =)

  6. eric says:

    You know I just went through stripping my pocket door, which is definitely easier than this, despite the 100 years of paint caked on there. I’ll never strip wood again, unless I can fit a nice fat industrial sander on it, like a floor for instance. Or when I retire and have a ton of time and a really boring life where I need to stir up some aggravation.

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