ONLINE ONLY: Order Now and get 10% off. Use NOW10 at checkout to claim your discount.

  • June


  • 56
  • 0
The Difference Between Caustic and Non-Caustic Stripping Process

The Difference Between Caustic and Non-Caustic Stripping Process

Refurbishing old pieces of furniture can be an amazing way to revive a vintage piece and obtain a unique home style. What is more, renovating tattered, but valuable pieces can be more affordable than buying brand new items of the same quality. One of the ways of refurbishing items is done by removing the several layers of paint on them that has been done throughout the years. 

When it comes to removing paint from wooden or metal items, we at Scotland Door Stripping are pros with a lengthy history of refurbished items and years of experience. However, the world of paint stripping is quite more detailed than you may think because it involves several practices that vary from item to item in order to achieve the best result. 

So, since we have been in the industry for quite some time, we’d like to share our point of view of the best type of stripping. But first, let’s explain the two main forms of stripping – caustic and non-caustic.

What Is Caustic Paint Stripping?

Caustic stripping refers to the process of dipping wooden or metal items into a tank for 30 minutes with a paint remover. The solution in the tank is usually sodium hydroxide and has a high pH level. The chemical ingredients in the tank work towards breaking down the paint. Then the sodium hydroxide reacts with the oily paint on the wood or metal surface. 

Then, the items are taken out of the tank with caustic soda for paint removal, they get jet washed in order to remove any residue. 

When it comes to the process of caustic stripping, it has to be mentioned that the process can cause burns and other health hazards. That’s why working with the right equipment and tools is essential. 

Also, other precautions that should be taken into consideration in caustic soda wood stripping are the following:

  • Caustic strippers attract moisture which can create damp
  • Caustic solutions can cause irreversible damage to the cellulosic fibres of the wood. 

Which Wood Type Reacts Better to Non Caustic Paint Stripping?

While hardwood such as elm and pine wood isn’t damaged by caustic stripping, oak, beech and walnut wood very often show signs of wreckage, warping and discolouration when caustic stripping is used. For that reason, it is best to use a non-caustic stripping process, where the paint stripper is applied and left for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, the paint is stripped and jet washed. 

The non-caustic process doesn’t burn or corrode through a chemical action. This way the surface of the material stays undamaged, while paint, grease and debris is removed. Moreover, the coat after a paint stripping process prevents the formation of rust on metal for several months after treatment. 

This process can remove practically any coating from almost any surface without solvents, caustic chemicals, toxic or explosive fumes. Some of the perks of non-caustic stripping are:

  • No toxic residues on surfaces or high pH level after the paint is removed.
  • Exposure of the original timber surfaces.
  • Glued joints aren’t affected.
  • Eco-friendly

Oak, Beech and Walnut wood don’t respond well to caustic soda solvents because of the wood sensitivity. Oak is light coloured and turns into dull grey when caustic soda is applied to it. Beech is a dry hardwood which can easily warp if we apply caustic soda to it, because of its intolerance to dampness. Walnut wood will easily discolour if stripped with caustic soda.

Treating the above-mentioned types of wood with a gentler, non-toxic solution (non-caustic stripping) will provide effective results without any damage to the wood. This is especially recommended for delicate or pieces of high value as well.

What Strippping Technique Should You Choose?

We can always recommend the best possible alternative for your items, the choice whether you’d like an item to be treated with caustic soda or non-caustic stripper is yours. For that reason, it is crucial to be well informed about the types of wood that best respond to caustic stripping and the others that need non-caustic stripping. 

We hope that our article has helped you with that, and if you need additional info about a specific item, feel free to request a quote and we’ll help you out. 


Use our form to estimate the initial cost of renovation or installation.

Latest Posts
Most Viewed
Text Widget

Here is a text widget settings ipsum lore tora dolor sit amet velum. Maecenas est velum, gravida Vehicula Dolor


© Copyright 2022 Scotland Door Stripping