Latex over enamel paint

richardkAugust 31, 2002

A painter failed to detect that the trim in our house had enamel paint on it. She painted latex over it with predictable results. We are not able to deal with her now. In places the latex paint pops off if you look at it too hard. In most places it can be hard to scrap off.

What is the best way to remove this latex? Water-based paint stripper, scraper and hard work, electric sander? We have talked about hiring another painter to fix this but what could a professional do other than many hours of scraping or sanding?


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We had the same problem in our last house--we just wet-stripped the WHOLE THING. (Quietly cursing the idiot who painted with latex over shiny enamel w/out prming in between.) It was NOT a pleasant experience. That took care of the problem--but we also primed very carefully once we were finished. You shouldn't need to do an enormous amount of sanding if you strip it properly-- just light sanding afterwards. The question is-- do you want to spend your free hours doing prep work? If you can afford to pay someone--DO IT. We were so house poor (it was our first home) we had to do the work ourselves. Stripping is NO FUN. Good luck! Melanie

    Bookmark   September 1, 2002 at 12:39PM
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Help me avoid this mistake - how can you tell the paint is enamel versus latex?


    Bookmark   September 3, 2002 at 4:24PM
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An easy way to tell if you have latex or enamel paint is to take a cotton ball dipped in alcohol and lightly rub it on the painted surface. If the cotton ball has paint on it, it is latex, if not, it is enamel.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2002 at 11:47AM
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Thanks Mary Ann. I guess if it is white paint I'll need to use a black colored cotton ball! OK, maybe a dark colored cotton rag.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2002 at 8:32AM
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