Best Way to Remove Old Veneer

I found a beautiful vanity.  Well, it wasn't beautiful, yet, but I knew it would be.  I got it home and noticed that the veneer was lifting up.  Here is the bottom half of the vanity.  See the peeling veneer?


Since I was painting the piece I decided the best thing was to remove the veneer.  I have removed the veneer before.  Sometimes a paint scraper can just lift it off.

 That was not the case for this piece.  I also decided to try the wet towel technique.  You get a towel really wet and wring it out and just set it on the veneer.  In two to three hours you take it off and the veneer should easily peel.  It didn't work either.   I even left the towel on the piece overnight but it still did not work.  What a mess.  The veneer was wet but would not come off.  Ugh.


I decided to try the steaming technique using a damp towel and iron.  (Make sure the iron you use is an old one.  You cannot use it to iron clothes after you use it for this purpose.  Check your local thrift stores or garage sales for a "veneer iron".) Put the iron on the hottest setting and leave it on the towel on the veneer for a couple of minutes.


When the veneer is ready you will see a change in color.  The topcoat turns cloudy from all the steam. I got out my paint scraper and the veneer slides right off in big chunks.

Using the iron with the towel was so much easier.  I should have gotten out the iron right away.  Now I have a nice smooth side.  I just needed to clean it up a little to remove the veneer glue and patch a few spots and sand and paint.

Don't you love how the vanity turned out?

 Next time I need to remove veneer I am grabbing the iron first.  I hated wasting a day waiting for a damp towel to work. Ironing makes it SO much easier and quicker.  I hope this trick will help you with your next project and inspire you to take that piece with peeling veneer and give it a makeover.  You can do it.  Happy Painting!



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