How to Remove Laminate from Wood [In 2 Effective Ways]

Do you want to learn how to remove the laminate from a wood with some DIY jobs? Well you are in the right place! The biggest challenge in removing laminate is the glue that bonds it to the wood.

Removing the laminate is a laborious and problematic task, but if you follow a certain sequence of actions, you can easily cope with everything.

To remove laminate from wood you need to apply heat to the damaged wood area to soften the glue of the laminate. When the laminate begins to flake, simply pull on the end of the laminate and remove it from the wood. Try removing the laminate sheets parallel to the grain of the wood.

How to Remove Laminate from Wood

Step 1: Prepare the laminate surface

Before you start to remove the laminate from the wood, the surface must be loosened. If the wood furniture has been in the room for a long time, then most likely it will be quite simple to remove the laminate from wood. 

But if the piece of furniture was bought recently and the coating is damaged, you will need to try hard to remove it.

Wear protective gloves, chisel and goggles: it is very important to prevent any damage or injury by wearing the right precautions. Then choose a tool suitable for this type of work like the chisel.

It is also necessary to carefully clean the part to be removed, to be carried out by passing a cloth moistened with 95 ° alcohol on the surface in order to completely remove any paint present.

It is important that you perform this step carefully before moving on to the second step to avoid causing unwanted damage.

Position the furniture so that the laminate layer to be removed is facing upwards, this will make it easier to do the job.

Step 2: Soften the laminate

To weaken the laminate from the wood, it is necessary to cover the piece of wood for about two hours with a damp cloth soaked in warm water. Squeeze it so that it becomes wet and does not drip.

When the cloth is removed, cracks should appear on the laminate sheet, which will allow the laminate to be removed.

Leave the water-soaked towel on the cabinet for about an hour, the goal here is to soften the laminate by making the following easier to do.

Step 3: Remove the laminate from wood

To do this, you will need gloves, goggles and a chisel (chisel or putty knife). Using a chisel, it is necessary to begin to remove the laminate coating from wood as carefully as possible, being careful not to scratch the wood.

Scrape the surface laminate with the chisel: this way portions of the laminate should start peeling off automatically.

Keep the spatula as level as possible so as not to damage the surface of the wood. Try removing the trowel parallel to the grain of the wood. When the laminate begins to flake, simply pull on the end of the laminate and remove it from the surface.

How to clean laminate in difficult places where the glue hasn’t dried at all? To do this, heat the steam iron, and through a damp cloth, heat the wood area for two minutes. After that, the laminate should come off easily. 

It is worth noting that the steam iron will then be unusable, so it is best to buy a cheap model in the store, which you will not be sorry to throw away later.

Step 4: Clean the remaining laminate

Attach 80 grit sandpaper to your orbital sander. Turn it on and put on your ventilation mask and goggles. Start sanding the wood. Repeat the process with 120 grit and 220 grit sandpaper until the wood surface is smooth.

When you remove the laminate completely, you have two options. You put a new laminate or install a new material such as metal or acrylic.

Step 5: Apply a new laminate layer

Once the laminate has been removed, it is necessary to check that the wood of the furniture is healthy. If there is any damage, it is filled with commercial or homemade wood paste, based on sawdust and carpenter’s glue.

 Then the entire surface is sanded to match it and, finally, the original paint is removed with a stripper.

Speaking of homemade wood paste, here is a simple step by step guide how to make yourself wood filler!

If you prefer, instead of laminating the wood again, you can paint the surface, but first you will have to apply a layer of filler and another of primer. If you want to laminate the furniture again, you must first distribute glue evenly over the entire surface of it.

Methods How to Remove Laminate from Wood
1. Using Hot Air and WaterUse a damp towel to cover the wood surface of the laminate you want to remove. Let it soak in for several hours. 
Then heat the laminate using steam iron with the cloth in between (use cotton).
Now you should be able to loosen it well with a spatula.
2. Using Solvent-Based ProductsAgain, let the laminate soak accordingly. Take precautions to prevent the solvent used from evaporating (cover).
Turpentine (not white spirit) would be suitable. Use a putty knife or spatula to remove the laminate from wood.
3. Manually using RouterFor small areas you can set a router so that you remove the laminate accordingly. 
You can also sand down the laminate, but this can be very time consuming.

Method 1: How to Remove Laminate from Wood using Heat

This process must be carried out carefully to prevent the wood from being damaged.

To do this, place a damp cotton cloth on the damaged laminate. Turn on the steam iron and let it heat up. The water/moisture seeps through the laminate and dissolves the water-based adhesive found on almost all laminate.

Another way is to place the steam iron on top of the damp cloth and move the steam iron for about 2 to 3 minutes. The glue under the laminate will heat up and it will stick again. To do this, press down firmly with a board after ironing and fix in place.

Now remove the damp cloth and check that the adhesive has dissolved. 

Then scrape the laminate with a spatula or a wood chisel (be careful not to cut into the panel underneath) for areas where the adhesive has not yet completely dissolved. You should be able to remove the laminate layers from wood like paper using your hands.

Repeat this steps over the entire laminate surface. When the laminate is removed from wood, clean, scrape or sand off the old glue.

If using a stripping gun, be careful not to overheat the laminate, as this will set it further.

Another trick to achieve a good result is to work in zones , so that the wood area that we have just heated does not cool down again if we go on to heat another zone. 

Therefore, when we have heated an wood area sufficiently and we see that the glue is yielding, we will use a spatula to lift the plating. All with care not to scrape or damage the wood of the furniture with the spatula.

Want to remove chalk paint from wood? This is an simple tutorial how you can do it!

Method 2: How to Remove Laminate from Wood using Turpentine

Another method of removing laminate from wood is to use solvents like turpentine.

Using a putty knife pinch the laminate surface and pour the turpentine in.

Let the turpentine to act on the glue and wait for 3 to 5 minutes to take effect and melt the glue residue from wood surface.

Using a putty knife or a metal chisel to start scraping the laminate layer gently from the wood. Use a hammer if the laminate is hard to pry up.

Remove the various pieces of laminate with your hands: when you reach some more difficult point, dwell on it, but avoiding too much force. Instead, make quick, continuous movements.

Now all that remains is to remove the imperfections and traces of glue or scratches caused during this steps . Then clean the dust caused and the wood is ready to continue with the restoration or renovation.

The synthetic resin glue used in new furniture laminate is much tougher than old leather glue. Therefore, the removal of wood laminate may require more drastic measures.

How to Remove Laminate from Wood Furniture

If you have a piece of wooden furniture with laminate and want to paint it, I advise you to peel off the laminate before the painting step. The technique for removing the laminate is quite simple.

Tools required:

  • a pair of gloves
  • one painter’s knife
  • a bucket with water
  • one cloth with fine textile( cotton type)
  • one steam iron. 

Be careful, the sole will become dirty and sticky at the end of takeoff. Either you will have to be patient to clean it (see at the end of the article) or you have an iron for DIY, and in this case, no problem.

Safety tips: Always wear gloves when tinkering. Never leave an steam iron unattended.

Steps how to remove laminate from wood furniture:

  1. Wet your cloth, wring it out and lay the damp on the laminate.
  2. Put your very hot iron, in steam mode on the cloth, without moving the steam iron on the cloth. The heat and steam will dissolve the glue.
  3. Wait a few seconds then remove the steam iron and peel off the laminate from the wood by placing the painter’s knife underneath.
  4. The glue can be difficult to dissolve, in this case, repeat the operation and leave the steam iron a little longer.
  5. Always repeat the operation by wetting your cloth.
  6. Be careful, the soleplate of the steam iron will become sticky, be careful not to burn your cloth and that it is always very damp.
  7. Then remove the remains of glue: moisten the surface with your cloth, scrape with the painter’s knife and wipe.

Once this operation is complete, your furniture is ready to be revamped.

To clean the soleplate of your steam iron: wait until the iron soleplate has completely cooled then wipe a cloth soaked in white spirit and scrape gently with your painter’s knife, repeat until the soleplate is clean.


By now you definitely know how to remove the laminate from wood. All that remains is to decide what to do with it. Do you want to continue the restoration work by sanding the furniture or do you want to rely on an expert? 

If you also want to try your hand at a grinding job, you will need to purchase a special tool, such as the grinder.

Adrian Tapu

Adrian is a seasoned woodworking with over 15 years of experience. He helps both beginners and professionals expand their skills in areas like furniture making, cabinetry, wood joints, tools and techniques. Through his popular blog, Adrian shares woodworking tips, tutorials and plans related to topics such as wood identification, hand tools, power tools and finishing.

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