Help with 1926 bungalow trim!

loriellenApril 4, 2011


We have a 1926 bungalow with wide but very plain trim throughout. The trim is a very dark, glossy, nearly black stain. We believe the original wood is pine, but some modifications to the home mean that some of the trim is new, cheap pine. The doors are all original and look like a nicer wood than the trim.

Throughout the house, a white haze developed over the doors and trim. I can make the haze disappear by rubbing the woodwork with oil, but the haze develops again within a month.

In addition to the white haze, much of the trim has embedded dust, dirt, and brush marks.

We have been told that we cannot safely sand the wood due to the probability of lead-based materials having been used on it in the past. We have a young child and the trim is very extensive, so chemical stripping would take absolutely forever.

The top finish comes off with rubbing alcohol, leaving a still-shiny, dark layer below that is impervious to the rubbing alcohol. That actually seems to resolve the haze problem, but it's taking huge quantities of alcohol to get that top layer off--I used an entire Costco-sized bottle on one side of a door, and that didn't even take off all the finish.

The debris embedded in the trim is not affected by the rubbing alcohol; it's buried pretty deeply.

I know it is sacrilege to paint the trim, but it looks pretty bad and I can't think of a good solution besides painting. It's not as though the wood grain is visible now--I'm not sure why there should be an aesthetic preference for almost black-opaque stain over paint.

I would like to keep the doors dark, so probably will take them down over the summer and soak off that top layer outside.

For the trim, I'm wondering how I can best prep the wood for painting. I have the process tentatively in mind:

1. Lightly sand to remove some debris and try to level the brush marks

2. Use a razor to try to gently scrape off the debris (without tearing up the wood)

3. Patch where necessary

4. Use a deglosser to remove any remaining shine

5. Prime with a high-quality leveling primer

6. Paint with a high-quality paint, possibly with Floetrol?

Does this all seem reasonable? My husband and I can't imagine other reasonable choices but we don't want to do something we'll regret.

I'd love to hear your thoughts/ideas/suggestions, as well.

Thank you!

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    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 5:15AM
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