How to remove high gloss/latex paint from furniture?

Halie Smith
by Halie Smith
I have a wood dresser and a cheap (pressboard?) cabinet that have been painted in white high gloss/latex paint. I would like to redo them. The dresser looks ok, the paint has held up but the cabinet looks horrid. The paint is peeling off all over the place but sticks in some.
This is the cabinet, I thought to just peel the rest of the paint off but it's wanting to stick in some places.
  12 answers
  • Renee Sanofsky Renee Sanofsky on Mar 06, 2015
    I would use a paint remover. Sanding will just "melt" the paint and make it hard to remove.
  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Mar 06, 2015
    I would use a stripper on the wooden dresser, & then sand it smooth. For the pressboard cabinet I would suggest sanding it lightly to take the gloss off the surface a bit & paint over it.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Mar 07, 2015
    Agree with REnee and Katrina.
  • Patricia Patricia on Mar 07, 2015
    I agree as well. I had an old beat up bench that had paint peeling off. I thought I could peel it off by hand. That didn't work. I tried sanding it off and again no luck. In the end I used Citristrip to remove the paint. It took two applications, but finally success. I'll include before/after photos here, or you can read about the process on my blog post: Good luck with your project!
  • Donay Donay on Mar 07, 2015
    a heat gun works great too much less mess than stripper
  • Peggy Peggy on Mar 07, 2015
    Dust off the dirt and flaking paint and paint over the whole mess with Ann Sloan chalk paint or a cheaper homemade recipe for chalk paint. Google it. No mess, no fuss and no sanding needed.
  • Gail Roberts Gail Roberts on Mar 07, 2015
    If you are planning on distressing the finish, I would recommend leaving the peeling paint as it will add to the character of the piece. Sherwin Williams has an excellent primer that does not require sanding the piece. Once the primer is applied you can paint the furniture with any paint and follow with an antique finish. Lowes carries Valspar antique liquid in the paint section. The other option would be to use chalk paint or mud paint on the pieces followed with a wax coat. If you google these paint options there are homemade recipes or there are commercial paints also available.
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Mar 07, 2015
    If it's flaking, the top coat is drying/shrinking and not sticking to the underneath coat. It would be unwise to paint over this, thus compounding your problem. You can try a sander and see how it performs; make your sanding speed low enough not to melt and use sandpaper coarseness to take the paint off. Your goal is to scuff up the entire underneath layer, which will then be ready for painting. If this is not working well, go the stripper route. Use a good one that is a gel that globs on/stays wet. Let it sit and do its work for you (cover with foil if it is slow acting). Scrape off with metal scraper and wash according to product directions. I personally am not a fan of heat guns when I do not know how toxic the existing old paint layers are.
  • Moxie Moxie on Mar 07, 2015
    I agree with duval...sand
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Mar 07, 2015
    I would sand, prime (it helps the paint to bond) and paint.
  • Monica Monica on Mar 08, 2015
    use 80 grit sandpaper pads to sand down. Try and sand even and gentle not to break down the particle board and keep it even. To repaint use a oil based spray primer. It sticks well to particle board.
  • Halie Smith Halie Smith on Mar 12, 2015
    Ok lots of option to choose from. :) I think I'm going to start with the cabinet first and I'm going to peel off what I can, try sanding on what won't peel aND if that doesn't work I'll move on to the paint thinner. Thank you everyone for the advice!