How to Get Shellac Finish off Old Wood Floors?

When you have wood floors that are coated with a product called shellac, you may be wondering how to remove them. Shellac is a resin that is used as a sealant and finishes on wood floors. It is applied using a brush or roller and then cured with heat or ultraviolet light.

Once it is cured, it is very durable and resistant to scratches and stains. However, over time it can become worn and dull. If you are considering refinishing your floors, you may want to remove the shellac.

Yes, you can do it. There are many ways, one of them using some chemical like denatured alcohol, and with a few tips, you can get a shellac finish off from old wood floors.

How to Get Shellac Finish off Old Wood Floors

How to Get Shellac Finish off Old Wood Floors? Step-by-step guide

If you have old wood floors that are in need of a little refreshment, you may be wondering how to get a shellac finish off of them. Shellac is a type of resin that is derived from lac bugs and is often used as a wood finish. It can be applied as a liquid or a paste and dried to a hard, shiny surface.

While shellac is durable and provides a beautiful finish, it can be difficult to remove if you ever want to change the look of your floors. If you’re unsure how to remove shellac from your floors, here are a few tips to help you get started.


Before you begin, you’ll need to gather a few supplies. You’ll need:

  • Putty knife
  • Paint scraper
  • Chemical stripper
  • Sander

Step 1: Scrape Off the Shellac

Start with scraping off as much of the shellac as you can. You can do this with a putty knife or a paint scraper. If the shellac is thick, you may need to use a heat gun to soften it up first.

Step 2: Apply a Chemical Stripper

Once you’ve removed as much of the shellac as you can, it’s time to apply a chemical stripper. This will help to break down the remaining shellac so that it can be removed more easily.

Step 3: Sand the Floor

After you’ve applied the chemical stripper, you’ll need to sand the floor. This will help to remove any remaining shellac and prep the surface for refinishing.

Step 4: Refinish the Floor

Once the entire floor is sanded (or resurfaced), vacuum up all the dust and then clean the floor with a damp mop. Be sure to let it dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Step 5: Now it’s time to stain

Choose a color that you love and apply it evenly with a brush or roller designed for staining floors. Again, let it dry completely before continuing.

Step 6: Applying your new finish

There are many different types of finishes available, so do some research to find one that best suits your needs. Apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions, letting each coat dry completely before adding another. Once everything is dry, enjoy your newly refinished wood floors!

What are the Best ways to Dissolve Old Shellac?

If you have a piece of furniture that is covered in old shellac, there are a few ways that you can dissolve it and remove it. One way is to use denatured alcohol. This will work on most types of shellac, but it may take a few applications to completely remove all of the finish.

Another way to dissolve shellac is to use methylene chloride. This is a stronger solvent and will work faster than alcohol, but it is also more toxic. If you choose to use methylene chloride, be sure to wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.

Will Shellac Be Removed from Wood with Acetone or Paint Thinner?

When you’re refinishing furniture, it’s essential to know what products to use to remove the old finish. You don’t want to use a product that will damage the wood or leave behind a residue that will interfere with the new finish.

Acetone and paint thinner are both common products that can be used to remove shellac from wood. These products may slightly soften the shellac but not enough to make it easy to remove. You should apply it more than two times. But which one is the best to use?


A synthetic compound made from petroleum is called acetone. It’s a strong solvent that can be used for a variety of purposes, including dissolving shellac. When using acetone to remove shellac, it’s important to work in a well-ventilated area and to wear gloves and eye protection. Acetone is flammable, so be sure to keep any open flames away from the area.

Paint Thinner

Another item that can be used to remove shellac is paint thinner. It’s made from petroleum and is similar to acetone in terms of strength and flammability. When using paint thinner to remove shellac, it’s important to take the same precautions as you would with acetone. Wear protective gloves and eyewear, and work in a well-ventilated location. Avoid having any open flames around.

Which One Should You Use?

Acetone and paint thinner are both less effective at removing shellac from wood. However, acetone is a stronger solvent and is more likely to damage the wood. Paint thinner is a less aggressive solvent and is less likely to damage the wood. If you’re concerned about damaging the wood, paint thinner is the better option.

Is the Process for Removing Varnish from Wood Furniture the Same as Removing Shellac Finish from Wood Floors?

Yes, the best way to remove varnish from wood furniture is similar to removing shellac finish from wood floors. Both processes involve using chemical strippers or sanding the surface to remove the existing finish. However, it’s important to test the method on a small area first to ensure it won’t damage the wood.

Removing old shellac paint Edited

Can I Use the Same Method to Get Shellac Finish off Old Wood Floors as I Would for Painting Wood Smoothly?

Yes, you can use similar painting wood smoothly techniques to remove shellac finish from old wood floors. Start by sanding the floors to remove the existing finish. Then, apply a chemical stripper to soften the shellac before scraping it off. Finally, sand the wood floors again for a smooth finish.


In conclusion, the best ways to remove old shellac paint from wood floors are to either sand or chemically strip the floor. If you choose to sand, be sure to use fine-grit sandpaper, so you don’t damage the wood.

If you opt to chemically strip the floor, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and always wear protective gear. Whichever method you choose, taking the time to remove old shellac paint from your wood floors will result in a much better-finished product.

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