painting woodwork

Sam39006June 15, 2012

I live in a house built in the 1880's. We might be selling soon. There is original stained trim in the entry way and office on the first floor. The rest of the first floor is painted original trim or painted new trim. (there was an addition at some point)

My question is about the upstairs. The upstairs hall is open to the stair case that has original stained trim. One bedroom door off the left hall has stained trim and a very poorly painted white door. Another bedroom has poorly painted white original trim and door. It is right next to a closet that someone put stain over paint. There is also a second closet with the same stain over paint. Then there is a 3rd bedroom with an original stained door but new stained trim that doesn't match. The hall it is off of has one side painted trim and the other new stained trim. Its a mess.

Should I paint it all white? I cringe just asking but I'm not sure how to make it look good. I don't have the time or skills to pull off the painted trim and door and strip them. I don't want to pay someone to do it because we need to spend money on new flooring downstairs.

Or should I just leave it alone? Afterall I bought it that way so maybe someone else will too? I appreciate any feedback. I'm really fretting over this.

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It sounds like it looks pretty bad...does it? If you can't strip it and stain it, and a lot of it is already painted...I'd probably paint it. It is a hard call in a historic home!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:09PM
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You could just strip and stain the doors, and paint all the trim white. I imagine doors would be easier because you would be able to do them outside.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:12PM
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The doors and the trim that was painted look really bad. Who ever did this last coat used flat paint and they've been painted multiple times but they just slapped paint on over already chipped paint. I've got one door off and managed to strip about 4 layers off but there is still at least another 2 layers of chipped paint to go. What a job! I'm just hoping to get them smooth enough to repaint.

It is a hard call. Should I post pictures?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:30PM
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pictures are helpful.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:32PM
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Well dang, now I can't find my camera. I'll see if my husband can take some with his phone. It takes good pictures.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:42PM
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Sounds like it looks really bad. I would paint everything semi-gloss white. That has GOT to be a real improvement. If the next homeowners want to strip everything and restore it to original, then they can still do it. I don't think your painting everything white would ruin anything or lose a sale. I happen to prefer white paint myself, and I think a lot of other people do too.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 8:50PM
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Here are the pictures. Let me know if they are too big. I think the wood looks better in the pics.

Her is the banister. I don't want to paint that. You can also see one of the closet doors that appears to have stain over paint.

Bedroom 1 with the badly painted white door.

Bedroom 2 with the new stained woodwork and original door, sadly scratched up. On the left you can see another closet with stain over paint.

Sorry so dark...trying to show the paint splatter on the original base. They must have used a sprayer.

The 3rd closed with stain over paint. (we have tons of storage!!!) And the 3rd bedroom that I took the door down. It was worse than the 1st painted door. You can see the painted trim.

The hall with one side base stained and the other side painted. (we are putting down new flooring)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 9:50PM
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Who are the potential buyers of your house? If the market of those looking at your home are newer house lovers, by all means paint to your heart's content. if, however, you believe that your potential buyers are people who love old homes, then ONLY repaint what's already white and leave the unpainted wood alone.

We're old house lovers and the #1 reason we bought our home is because the woodwork is unpainted. It's much easier to fix scratches than it is to remove paint.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 11:31PM
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I'm with jcm. I don't think they look that bad. And, it would be a shame to paint that detailed trimwork around the doors. Fill in the stain that is scratched and let it be for now.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:25AM
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I can't see your pictures.

What are you using to strip the doors? I used "Ready Strip" to get 7 layers (100 years worth) of paint off this old door.

Took about 3 coats, plus a wire brush and scraper. But it was worth it. I turned it into a table.

From what you describe I would not paint the molding. I am going to do it in my house, but that's because I have 1980's cheap building paint grade molding that was stained. It looks very dated. If I had nice stained trim I wouldn't touch it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 8:47AM
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Jmc01, I guess I don't know who my potential buyers will be but if I had to guess it would be one who like older homes. If you want a new house in this town I guess you are SOL. Right now the newest home on the market was built in 2004. Of the old homes listed ours has the most updates so I think who ever buys it will have to like old and new.

barbcollins, your door turned table looks fantastic! I am using citristrip. I'm going to keep working on the painted door and who knows maybe I can get them looking as good as your table.

Thanks for all of your opinioins. I'm leaning toward only re-painted what has already been painted.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Sam39006 - I tried citristrip. I didn't do anywhere near as well as the Ready Strip.

Also take precautions, because there could be lead paint on the door

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:07PM
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I'll look for the ready strip next time I'm at the store. I actually found some Dave's Easy Strip in the garage I swear wasn't there yesterday. Its on the door now doing its thing.

Thanks for the reminder about lead. I've been wearing gloves and a mask. Anything else I should be doing?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Re lead:

When stripping using chemicals, the face mask is mostly for the solvents, not so much for lead-protection, unless you are doing a lot of sanding. The main risk with lead (when not using heat) is the particles, scrapings, gunk, debris, etc., that gets ground into fine dust during scraping and removal and then tracked and carried around the house and property. That's what will create a difficult contamination issue. And you can't just vaccuum it up with most household vacs, which can actually make it worse.

It's best if you can do the paint removal in a closed outbuilding with floors covered with tarps and a top layer of disposable poly that you can just ball up and throw away. Wear Tyvek coveralls that you discard daily, or only keep for the duration of the project; do not launder them with your laundry. Don't eat or smoke during the work as you will transfer lead-dust to your mouth. What you're creating during lead pant removal (by any method) is hazardous waste. Depending on your local regs, this may need to be disposed of separately from you household trash.

I would just repaint the painted doors and maybe touch-up the non-painted ones and leave the issue to the next owners. Not all the woodwork has to match; for instance there's no need to paint the stair trim just because you have painted doors and window trim. The matchy-matchy thing is a modern taste resulting from the building-wide use of cheaper wood that needs to be covered up with something.

It's [ossible the paint is new enough that it doesn't contain lead. It can be tested. Rempving lead paint is something that I would only undertake for my own house, not for resale. If you have young children in your house with work going on inside, the lead contamination risk is higher - and potentially more damaging to their long-term health. As an adult you can have your blood tested, if you are concerned about past or present exposure.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 8:33PM
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