May 18, 2021

How to Get Paint Off Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are absolutely glorious. My dog once ran through the house with paws full of paint. You cannot imagine the grief! It can be quite a challenge to get off dry paint from hardwood floors. Accidents with paint happen very often within many households. This is especially true if you have children running around. Once the paint has dried, you will have to undertake one of three methods. 

You can go out and buy a stain removing solvent. This is if you are aware of what type of paint you wish to remove. If you do not want to spend any money, then you can try scraping it off with a plastic knife that is rigid. To speed up this process, you can heat the paint with a paint heat gun. 

For more information on each of these methods, stick around with us. There are some things you will need to look out for, which we will discuss and how long the process might take you. Let us begin. 

List of things that you may need to use:

  1. Rigid Plastic Knife
  2. Paint Heat Gun
  3. Solvent/Paint remover
  4. Cloth/Rag
  5. Pull Scraper

Methods to try

Scraping the paint off

This is the most straightforward and heavy-duty option that you can consider. However, you must be sure that the paint has not entirely dried; otherwise, this may end up hurting the floor. If the paint is still soft, it is possible to get it off using a rigid plastic knife. 

This is soft enough not to damage the wood but also sharp enough to get the scraping action going. If need be, you will be able to get a hammer onto the knife for the more stubborn sections of the floor. This method will mainly work if the square area you attempt to scrape off is not very big. 

I am sure you can imagine the amount of work that will have to be required if you intend to do a large area. If the hardwood floors affected have spaces between them, then it is likely that paint will have sunk into those areas. In this case, you will require what is known as a pull scraper. This product has small enough blades that it can penetrate those spaces. 

Heat the paint.

There are different kinds of paint, and not all of them dry and maintain the same consistency. There are specific types of colour, for example, oil-based paints, which dry pretty aggressively. By this, I mean that the paints come to be of a very odd consistency, and therefore it will not be easy for you to get rid of it by just using a plastic scraper. 

In this regard, the first thing that you will have to do is to heat the paint. Oil-based paints will most likely begin to loosen up their consistency when extreme heat is applied. The fastest way to go about this would be to get a paint heat gun out and glow over the area of paint. To get this going, you will need to set the heater on the blow dryer to the maximum. 

When you are now blowing on the colour, avoid direct contact but rather maintain 3 inches from the paint. Try doing this in intervals of 10 to 20 seconds. It would help if you kept the scraping knife close by. This is so that as you begin heating the paint, you can keep testing with the knife to see if it has loosened up. 

Make use of a Solvent.

If you want to remove paint out of the hard-to-reach places, then you can try rubbing it with a solvent. You will need to be very careful to ensure that you choose the correct one. If you are taking off an oil-based paint, then you should get a mineral spirit. If you will be removing latex paint the best option that you can buy is latex paint remover. 

First, you will have to get a cloth that you will be using to wipe off the paint. Make sure that it is slightly damp, and then wipe over the paint. Once you have wet the stain a little bit, you can add a touch of this solvent and then begin to dab it on the floor. Once you can see that the consistency of the paint has become loose, then it is now time for you to begin scraping. 

How Long It Will take.

You can expect that the time required to undertake this process will depend mainly on which option you choose and how big the area is. If we are talking in absolute terms, the fastest option you can use is a paint solvent. 

This is also one of the more expensive options because it requires you to go to the hardware store and buy the paint remover. Making use of this should not take you longer than 10 minutes to complete. However, if you intend to scrape off the paint without using a solvent, this can take you at least an hour.

Expected Results

You should expect the paint to come off fully without leaving any scrape or scratch marks on the floor. If there are still bits and pieces of colour that remain, you cannot leave them because they will not come off independently.

Things to look out for

Be careful not to use a metal knife. People sometimes get frustrated with the lack of progress and decide to switch to a heavier blade. Avoid doing this because it can end up causing permanent, irreversible damage to the hardwood floors in your home.


In conclusion, the three main ways that you can try to get paint off your hardware floor are not very difficult to complete. The fastest and most effective option will be for you to go out and buy a paint removal or all paint solvent. This method should have the paint off in a couple of minutes without damaging any of the hardwood floors. 

The only problem with this method is that you will have to be aware of the type of paint you are removing: Oil-based or latex paints. If you do not want to perform any of these, you can go the old school way and scrape the stain with a plastic knife. 

If it is difficult to scrape off the paint, you can try heating it with a paint heat gun. Make sure to take all the care to preserve the hardwood floors as you perform these activities.

David D. Hughes
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