May 18, 2021

How to Get Paint Off Hardwood Floors

How do you get paint off hardwood floors?

Hardwood floors are gorgeous. My dog once ran around the house with his paws full of paint. You can not imagine the grief! It can be quite a challenge to remove dry paint from hardwood floors. Accidents with paint are prevalent in many households. This is especially true if you have children running around. Once the paint has dried, you’ll need to use one of three methods.

You can go out and buy a stain-removing solvent. This is if you know what type of paint you wish to remove. If you do not want to spend money, you can try scraping it off with a rigid plastic knife. 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. You will need to look out for some things we will discuss and how long the process might take. 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; not all of them dry and maintain the same consistency. There are specific types of color, 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 them by just using a plastic scraper. 

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

Avoid direct contact when blowing on the color but 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. As you begin heating the paint, this is so that 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 from hard-to-reach places, you can try rubbing it with a solvent. You must be careful to ensure that you choose the correct one. If you are taking off an oil-based paint, you should get a mineral spirit. If you will be removing latex paint, the best option is to buy 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, it is time for you to start scraping. 

How long will it 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 still bits and pieces of color 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 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 is 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 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 paint off, 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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