Scraping along...

scarlett2001September 22, 2011

My latest job at the Hell House is to scrape and sand the old woodwork. Looks like it originally had oil based paint and at some point somebody painted over it with latex. The latex is peeling in many areas but the old oil base is on there really tight.

I just want to make it smooth and paint over it with white. So what is the best way to do this? There is a TON of woodwork to do.


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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

beware of lead

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 3:26AM
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I started that way.. but soon realized it was not going to look great, so I decided to strip back to bare wood. It's a LOT of work, time consuming and sanding is messy.. but I'll be happy in the end. I found using a heat gun worked the best. I take as much caution as I can with the lead paint, but I'm not as careful as some people would be.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 7:06AM
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If you have access to a steamer you might try that. Some times when there are multiple incompatible layers (oil/latex) of paint a steamer disturbs their bonds enough for it to come off in large (4 x 5 inch) plates of several layers all at once. Pure joy when that happens!

The steamer I have used for this is a Lady Bug, but I would try a couple of models if the first one doesn't work as the temps vary. You could ask around to see if someone you know has one you could borrow to try it out.

At least when you use a steamer you lower the lead paint risks compared to scraping or sanding it off (providing you handle the removed-paint detritus carefully). You will still have some scraping/sanding to do when you use a steamer, but it is much, much, less.

Steamers do not work on milk paints, however.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 11:29AM
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Since you aren't trying to remove all the paint, I'd remove what comes off, do a light sanding where the edges show, and cover it all with deglosser before repainting. That should help the new paint stick better.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 1:56PM
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Is deglosser better than primer - stupid question, I guess. But I was going to sand like you said and then prime - will that work?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 9:12PM
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From what I can recall, deglosser removes all oils and grime, and gives the surface some 'tooth' to allow better adhesion of the new paint. You can prime after it, but on my pantry cabinets, I just put the new coat right on top.

P.S.: I love original details, but I discovered that my pantry cabinets had never been varnished when I removed the hinges to get the paint off of them--they are nice butterfly hinges of brass.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 10:33PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Is deglosser better than primer

No it is not, It really is a waste of $. You need to clean with a product such as Dirtex, sand, clean the dust , then use the appropriate primer, then paint

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 4:56AM
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Is TSP as good? I never heard of Dirtex.

And assuming there is lead involved, then what do I do??

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 2:21AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Tsp is fine but you REALLY need to rinse it off, then rinse it off again and again. Dirtex should be sold right close to the TSP. As to the lead, here is all the info you need. Br prepared to spend the next couple hours reading

Here is a link that might be useful: lead

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 5:23AM
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When I paint over old paint, I barely even clean, much less use TSP, and the paint sticks just fine, so as long as you take the peeling latex off you should be fine. On my wood panelling upstairs in fact I have what you have, a coat of latex over oil, and new latex paint sticks perfectly well. Only my old latex wasn't peeling, so maybe yours was put on over glossy oil paint.

One thing that I've never seen discussed is that one thing that very effectively softens old paint is... new paint over top. So where there are drips, or thick ridges of old paint, I paint over them first, and then within a couple of days I scrape or cut the bulge off quite easily. 50-year-old ridges and drips are hard as rock, but more like butter (OK, refrigerated butter) once you paint over them and let the new paint dry. So it is possible that if you paint on a coat and wait a day, you can get the more stubborn bits of latex off more easily.

The only time I use TSP is when I have wallpaper residue to take off first, and that never applies to trim.

If scraping off the peeling parts of the latex leaves you with changes in elevation on the surface, you could use putty to smooth them. Unless you really want to strip back to the wood, all you want is something that will be smooth, I take it.

It is a pain to consider lead, but whatever method of paint removal you use, I see no reason at all to sand anything. I strip paint with a combination of heat (an IR unit) and chemical (EZ Way) (and mostly with the trim removed), and have never had to sand anything until the wood is all clean and I am filling the gigantic nail holes; then I sand the putty to fit the profile.

Karin L

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 9:03PM
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You can buy a "no-rinse TSP substitute." There are a number of brands available, and you can buy it in a spray bottle, like windex. Spray on, and wipe off, and then let the surface dry. I find it works quite well for cleaning and deglossing and providing a very clean surface for primer.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 4:33PM
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