How To Chemically Strip Wood Floors:

3. Using a safe paint stripper that contains mostly NMP (I’ll go into the reasons for this later) like Citristrip ® do a sample patch in a closet or the back of a room to determine how effective this stripper is going to be. You need to go through all the steps I am about to describe, including any staining and finishing of the sample area. Then do a adhesion test by cross hatching with a razor blade, the area of cured finish (2-4 weeks) and apply a piece of duct tape to the area and rip it off. This will assure you of the viability of this stripping method and the compatibility of the finish you want to use. You can apply one coat of finish for this test, but do this test first before you dive into this job.

4. Apply the stripper very thickly to an area of floor that you can easily reach across. You will be working on just so many rows of boards at a time going all the way wall to wall, ending on a specific row. Apply it like you are frosting a cake using a natural bristle brush that has an unpainted handle. I don’t use gloves during this process, preferring instead to coat my hands with a barrier cream like Hand Guard ®. But I don’t touch the stripper, or allow it to get on the handles of any tools. This I believe is safer as it keeps me alert to the danger of skin exposure and allows more dexterous use of the tools. I will always wear a long sleeved shirt, and a butyl rubber apron. Using the brushwork it into the floor, smushing it right down to the ferrule. Recoat any areas that seem to have dried up. For the average floor finish removal, a gallon of Citris Strip ® will do only about 100-sq. ft. of floor. So don’t be afraid to pour on lots. Wait about 15 minutes and smush it in with the brush again, reapplying any bare spots that might have shown up.