Great Outdoors -- Citristrip Paint and Varnish Stripping Kit
By: Amy Jacquin
Spring means outdoor projects. We're going to help you with some of them, by sending Amy Jacquin outside for a week's worth of "Does it Work" tests. She starts with Citristrip Paint and Varnish Stripping Kit.
Makers of Citristrip Paint and Varnish Stripping Kit claim it has an advantage over other strippers... It's a gel that's supposed to cling to vertical surfaces, and stays wet and active for up to 24 hours.
Amy sorts through the $14 kit, and pulls out a small bottle of the gel, along with a detergent to wash the surface after stripping, and a scrubbing sponge with reusable handle. But Citristrip has no methylene chloride, making it safer to use.
"I can smell it from here," she says, as she empties the box. "It doesn't smell bad."
The gel is thick enough to pour directly onto a brush, and then dab onto the wooden pillar we're using for a test. It's also safe for metal and masonry.
"It's supposed to be thick enough to stay on vertical surfaces, so we'll see," says Amy as she begins to work.
But Citristrip starts sagging right away. And we're supposed to layer it at least 1/8 of an inch thick... but the thicker we put it on, the more it slides down the pole.
"Don't rush yourself or the gel," Amy reads directions. "Allow it to penetrate at least 20 to 30 minutes."
We wait a half hour... but you can wait up to 24 hours, to really let it soak in.
"You can see where it's bubbled up in a few places, where the paint already was chipped," Amy explains as she examines how Citristrip is doing. "We expected that. But over here, where the paint was not cracked, it's bubbled up. So we consider that somewhat successful."
She begins scraping, and calls it "gummy."
Right away, Amy says she wishes she had a metal scraper or wire brush, because that would be easier.
"See how I'm pulling it away?" she asks photographer Ron Wilson, as she peels back the top layer of paint. "It's picking that up almost everywhere, so it's starting to work."
And directions say you may have to reapply and let it penetrate longer. We don't have time to try it, but based on these early results, Amy believe it would work.
However, you'd need quite a bit more than the $14 kit offers, so it could get pricey. Plus, it's not quite as convenient as they make it sound.