Stripping Woodwork

chipster_2007November 21, 2007

I am planning on stripping woodwork that has been painted several times over by previous owner. I am sure there must be some lead paint there too. I don't know whether to use an infrared heating instrument I have seen in my google searches or a stripper such as a soy based stripper or Peel Away 7. I want to get it down to the natural wood and put a coat of varnish or stain/polyurethane it. I have used Peel Away 7 in the past to remove several coats of paint on a door frame but it left somewhat of a white wash residue on the wood. Is Peel Away 1 better to use? What is the most effective/efficient way of removing it and what other steps should I do before staining/poly?

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I got down to the bare wood with 2 coats of soygel. I removed at least 5 coats of paint and a coat of shellac or varnish. Trick for me was to apply a thick layer and then cover it with saran wrap and let it sit overnight. Scrape off as much as possible and apply a second coat and saran wrap. Let sit again then scrape again and wipe down well with a water soaked rag. I had alot of detail work so I scrubbed out residue with a nail brush. Worked wonders. I like this stuff because of low odor and no need to ventilate and water clean up. I'll post pic later if you're interested. I don't have any experience with Peel Away. Oh mine was all lead based paint too

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 3:56PM
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Have you investigated simply having the old trim duplicated?
I rarely strip any more.
It takes time and money, along with the mess.
Old patterns are often still available off the shelf, and any real lumber yard with a mill shop can run any molding pattern you want.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 7:29PM
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donna322 - I'd be interested in seeing a pic if you wouldn't mind.

We are facing this daunting task in a few months (after we move) - see the pic.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2007 at 11:35PM
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I was bent on keeping the original woodwork just like I kept the original floors. Lots of work but very satisfying in my opinion.

after 1 coat of soygel

1 Like    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 6:25PM
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donna322, do you have any pictures after you had finally finished with it? Would like to see them. Thanks for the ones above. Lokks like that stuff really works.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 6:11AM
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"I was bent on keeping the original woodwork just like I kept the original floors."

I keep floors since they are a clear finish and new material is often very differnet in grain then older material.

"Lots of work but very satisfying in my opinion."

Nothing beets crisp new wood in the exact same pattern for painted work IMO.
No dings, no damage.
Striping in place can result in lead contamination of other areas.
At the very least pull the molding and strip it in a controlled location.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 9:27AM
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dings and damage are all part of the charcter of an "old" house as far as I'm concerned....I'm still in the process of the final finishing of my project. Will post pctures when definitely done. It's all personal preference when all is said and done. ;)

1 Like    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 9:14PM
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ANY chemical stripper will leave a residue if you don't clean it off. You need to really get in there with denatured alcohol. I tried every nontoxic stripper available and found PeelAway 7 best. The only real disadvantage is that it works slower than more toxic varieties. (Soy gel, despite its wholesome-sounding name and advertising, has a "causes birth defects" warning on it.)

I created a "How to strip" pictorial on my blog that has several more pointers (based on my trials and errors). See link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to strip paint from old-house woodwork

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 11:09AM
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"dings and damage are all part of the charcter of an "old" house as far as I'm concerned..."

I call that beat up when it comes to woodwork.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 12:20PM
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Stripping lead containing items in situ is going to result in contamination of the area.
You can try and put down all the plastic and tape and everything else you want (even a suction blower) but it is very hard to prevent dust and debris containing lead from being spread.
A single footstep outside the containment area will spread stuff from you shoes and clothes.
Tyvek jump suits run about $8 each, respirators, plastic drop sheets (not the thin stuff either), all add up to a huge effort.

It is far safer to remove lead paint trim that will be salvaged and strip it in a separate controlled area, preferably a place that will NOT be used on a daily bases especially by children.
Any small residual contamination from the work area is not in 'living space' and further reduces the chances of ingestion of lead residue.
A poor isolation job can result in more lead spread around than leaving the lead in place and covering it with another layer of finish.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 9:27AM
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Here's another option. We removed what painted woodwork there was in our home (really only two rooms) and took it to a Dip 'n Strip company. Baseboards, windows, doors. It came back clean as a whistle and we didn't have to work at it! Of course, it costs money and, thankfully, we didn't have all that much to do - but it is an alternative to consider. We like the original old woodwork, dings and all. But there were also certain spots in the house we had wood milled to match the original or found crown, etc to match at specialty lumber yards. So, you can do a combination of stripping and replacing. When you replace it you can get very good results, but now days you'll never find the close grain patterns of old growth lumber. Good luck with it.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 12:45PM
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You can remove most residue, as well as any remaining shellac, with denatured alcohol, scotchbrite pads, and rags. I do a final wipe with a water/baking soda mix. Let dry thoroughly, do a light sanding w/180 grit to knock down any grain that might have gotten raised. Then, stain/shellac whatever. I like to put down a thin coat of "sanding sealer," which is really thinned dewaxed shellac, first.

As for the replace/strip question: yes, tis true, it's cheaper and easier to replace old molding, IF someone else would be doing the stripping. BUT, if you're doing the work, then the labor costs are nil. I personally find paint stripping very therapeutic mentally. I do, however, always use a VOC respirator, open windows, and use a rotating fan, and keep all my work clothes in the room and wash them every day. I have kids and do worry about lead contamination, though if you're using any kind of chemical stripper it's not really a problem, since the paint is encapsulated into goo.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 9:33PM
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