Stripping versus sanding for repainting old trim

byzantineMay 2, 2014

This is the first house I've ever owned in that had painted trim. From the looks of things, it's had quite a few coats, but I've tested peeled pieces for lead and they are clean. It's obvious that the house used to have dark, stained wood trim but that the previous owners' DIY projects resulted in mismatched trim and the solution was thick applications of white enamel. Which is now the lumpy, hideous disaster you might expect.

I'm going to hire someone to remediate this after our kitchen remodel is complete, and I'm here to fish around for advice on stripping versus sanding. The paint is peeling and bubbling in many spots, and my gut instinct is to use something like SoyGel to remove all the paint and start over. Will a paint contractor prefer to scrape and sand, and will I have trouble finding someone to strip the trim? Or am I just daft for asking? Thanks!

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From your description, it sounds as though they missed the "transitional primer" when they went from stained to paint.

So, if the profile is the same throughout, and you are happy with it, them obtain bids for stripping, because sanding will not address the priming issue.

Also, obtain bids for replacement, in kind. You may be surprised.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 6:05PM
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Thank you, snoonyb! I hadn't considered replacement, though there are numerous places where we obviously have to replace or repair things, anyway. There are places where the white is stained pink from something leeching up underneath the paint, so you're likely dead on about the failure to prime.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:23PM
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I'd vote for replacement unless it is something very old and special. Some years ago, thinking that things like moldings and casings were very expensive, I stripped a couple of large windows. Gave myself a case of carpel tunnel syndrome scraping, and God knows what happened to my lungs as I inhaled quarts of the stripper. Now, I'd just find some new casings, prime them and paint one coat off the wall, and put second coat on after installation. LOTS faster and easier.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:30PM
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I have a 40 year old home... nothing special about the molding. Home Depot fare.

Did hardwood floors last year - replaced all of the baseboard and door trim with PVC moldings. super easy, cuts like wood. Mar resistant, and paints easily without sanding.

This post was edited by saltidawg on Sat, May 3, 14 at 10:38

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 8:27AM
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I should have mentioned in my first post that my house was built in 1920. Having said that, not all of the trims and moldings are original. I used to have a source in Chicago for older style woodwork, but they went out of business before we had enough money to start remodeling. Go figure. I'll ask my GC if he knows of other similar places.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 1:53PM
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If not, if the knives are still available you can have them made.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 2:06PM
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these are chemically stripped, not sanded.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 5:53PM
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    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 9:52PM
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Stripping paint takes time / product / muscle.

In the summer you can use Zip Strip (methlychloride) which is effective.

Another is Peel-Away.

But it takes time and more than one application.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:43AM
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snoonyb on
Sat, May 3, 14 at 14:06

"If not, if the knives are still available you can have them made."

That is true. And a real woodworker can make duplicate knives available.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 5:18PM
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We had some new replacement trim cut at Janik Millwork in LaGrange. We're super pleased with the service and quality. No, I don't work there.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 10:19PM
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