In order to stain wood you need have a fresh and clean wood surface. The loose paint chips on the siding of my house had to be removed completely but I felt I needed to go further in order to get the best results from the stain. Sand blasting was an option but I questioned how much it would remove, maybe to much. There's also the issue of clean up and all the dust created by sand blasting. I didn't think the neighbors would enjoy having the dust settle all over their houses. My uncle said when he had this done at his house the workers set up scaffolding with plastic draped over the whole house, that's not what I wanted to do. I started searching for paint removal tools.
Let me say first that in order to do this job on the scale of a whole house you will need a power tool. Hand scrapers are needed to get the job done but they don't really work when scraping off layers of paint. The first tool I found that showed some real promise was the Porter-Cable Paint Remover
This sounded like exactly what I needed but after reading a few reviews and considering the cost of replacement blades I decided to keep looking. I then found the Metabo Paint Remover
Reading the reviews for this tool led me to the Paint Shaver Pro
After reading the reviews for this tool and finding this Purdue Report
I decided to bite the bullet and get it. I have not regretted this decision, even though is has a price of $800, it has preformed exactly as it is described and is purpose built to do the job of removing paint from lapped wood siding. I would absolutely recommend this tool for anyone doing this type of work. To prep the siding before using the paint shaver you must also set all the nails below the surface of the wood. This requires a nail punch and hammer. A scraper is also good to knock off large very loose paint chips before shaving.
While the Paint Shaver pro does a great job of removing all paint from wood, it is also very easy to gouge the wood and leave tooling marks. These look like a series of half moons in the wood and need to be removed by sanding. I knew I was going to be doing a lot of sanding so I looked for a powerful sander that would cover a large area. I chose to get a Porter-Cable 6in Random Orbit sander
I also got a large pack of 40 grit sanding discs for the sander.
Another extremely important thing to have when using both of these tools is some sort of dust collection system. Both the paint shaver and the sander came with 10ft hoses to connect to a vacuum. The paint shaver will produce a lot of wood /paint shavings and the sander will throw a lot of dust. To handle this I got a Dust Deputy
I attached the DIY cyclone to a 5-gallon bucket, then attached that to a bucket vac. This proved to be a great combination and you can see some of the pictures where I collected an entire bucket full of shavings and saw dust. The Dust Deputy kept this out of the bucket vac and almost nothing but the finest dust makes it to the vacuum filter. I was able to do about a 15ft by 5ft section of siding, both shaving and sanding, before the cyclone bucket would fill up. At that point I would dump the bucket of shavings and also shake out the cloth filter on the vacuum.
The other thing I had to consider was how to reach all the way to the top of my house, about 25ft up. I also had to be able to cover large areas when high up on the wall because going up and down a ladder to only cover a couple feet at a time was not very efficient. I got a great deal on two 20ft extension ladders and with those I decided to get a set of ladder jacks and an 8ft scaffolding plank. I still needed get higher in order to get the peak of the wall so I also had to get a 28ft extension ladder. I also borrowed a 8ft a-frame ladder then later bought a 6ft A-frame ladder. I used ladder stabilizers for both the 20 ladders as well.
I also had to power the tools and vacuum so I used a 50ft extension cord with three receptacles. Personal safety is very important so I always wear a pair of safety glasses and ear muffs when running the tools. The combination of the tools and vacuum was pretty loud and the paint shaver will throw chips right in your face if your not careful.
So to recap here is everything I have used while refinishing the siding:
Paint Shaver Pro
6in Random Orbit Sander
Dust Deputy with a bucket vac
50ft extension cord
Two 20ft extension ladders and a 28ft extension ladder
Set of ladder stabilizers
Set of ladder jacks
8ft Scaffolding Plank
8ft and 6ft A-Frame Ladders
With the exception of the ladders, which will depend on your house, you will need all of these items to do a job like this.