How To Chemically Strip Wood Floors:

5. Wait about another 15 minutes and this time use a good quality filling knife to work the stripper without scratching the wood. I use a 2″ and 3″ wide filling knife that has a ground tapered blade that is 5″ long. This is the proper tool for the job and it will not scratch the wood like an ordinary putty knife will. Work the stripper at least twice with the filling knife waiting 15 minutes for the stripper to do it’s work each time. Add more stripper between working it with the knife, and even out the coating each time also. You want the stripper to spend the maximum time on the finish, leaving no dry spots. By now you should be feeling the bare wood beneath your filling knife and not the slippery top of the left over finish. You will know by doing the test patch if you have to repeat this process and have some prediction as to the amount of stripper it will take to get to the bare wood.

6. When you’re sure you’ve loosened all the finish you now have to remove the stripper. I scoop up the used stripper with a 6″ wide drywall taping knife, any brand will do but the better knives also have a ground tapered blade. Use the filling knives to assist in scooping and put it in a waiting bucket. So far I haven’t used gloves and have kept the handles of all the tools clean.

7. There will still be some residual stripper left and I do a final scrubbing of the floor with nylon rubbing pads. The least expensive ones I find at my local supermarket. They are the green flat square pads made for pot scrubbing. These are abrasive enough to assist in the final removal but won’t scratch the wood, and will absorb most of the remaining stripper. I don’t touch the pad because I have a handle that has little knobbies that keep it in place while I scrub the floor vigorously with the grain of the wood.

8. Next using a plastic chemical wash bottle filled with odorless mineral spirits. I soak the floor a small section at a time and scrub with a clean pad, turn over the pad and keep scrubbing until the area comes clean. If you have done everything right so far, it will only take a few pads to do 20 sq. ft. I cut each pad to fit the handle exactly.

9. For the next step you now need to don good quality butyl rubber gloves, and if you can find them, cotton liners to absorb the sweat.