PeelAway 1 – Revealing the Beauty of 90 year old Windows


The Project

In the left corner, 90+ year old sash windows, heavily coated with decades of paint. And in the right corner, PeelAway 1 Paint and Varnish Remover.


The task at hand was the removal and restoration of some 90+ year old sash windows in need of some TLC. After trying conventional paint stripper with no such luck, there seemed only one product for the job. Upon trying test patches, drying times and thicknesses of the buttercream-esque consistency of PeelAway 1 were decided. With so many layers of paint to eat through and the required thickness of PeelAway required, it was going to take three days for it to fully dry and “peel away”.

A quick abrade to the surface and brushing away cobwebs and loose dirt was key as even the slightest contaminants can affect the performance. Applying the product was like icing a large wooden cake with a smelly, aggressive icing, which seems quite the opposite to conventional cake decorating. Then covering the windows with the blankets, tucking it into bed and saying goodnight to the old coatings as when you see them again they will look very different. The product underneath had already started to brown after several minutes on the surface. This was a sure sign of the chemical reactions needed to take place for maximum efficiency.

The Big Reveal



72 hours later it was time for the big reveal. Sure enough, as it’s name suggests, the product peels off from the surface of the wood taking most of the product with it and hardening into a plaster-like consistency, which made it super easy to remove the crunchy blend of product, old coatings and blanket. Wearing gloves and using the Peelaway Easy Grip Stripping Knife, removing from the surface was almost as satisfying as pulling an old scab or removing PVA glue from your hands as a child. Satisfying, but messy.

Once all of the old, hard product and blanket(s) had been removed and disposed of responsibly, the sanding and finishing touches can begin. Before sanding, one final stage is needed…neutralisation. A 50:50 mix of neutraliser and water must be applied to the surface and allowed to dry. It’s a good idea to then check the pH of the surface with some litmus paper otherwise you might run into trouble when applying a top coat.

Final Sanding


Starting with P80, through P120 and P240, the golden colour of these antique windows starts shining through once again. It’s hard to imagine that these windows are almost a century old when the wood looks this good. With good care and regular maintenance, these windows might just see another hundred years!

The Results


And here they are, as good as the day they were made, fully stripped and ready for re-finishing.

For paints and varnishes manufactured since the mid 1970’s we recommend PeelAway 7 Paint and Varnish Remover. This works better with the modern chemical formulations of today’s paints and varnishes.

Need Help with Which Paint Stripper to Use?

If you have a project and are unsure of which PeelAway product to use, we recommend trying the PeelAway 1 and 7 Sample Twin Pack. Some projects that have decades of paint layers may require both formulations. PeelAway 7 for the top layers and PeelAway 1 for the deeper layers.

Do you have a varnish or paint removal project in mind and unsure of which paint stripper to use? Our team of wood wizards are on hand to talk things over with free, expert advice. If you have a question about PeelAway or any of our wax, varnish or paint removers contact us here.


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