Removing a single layer of paint??

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nyoungsma
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Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby nyoungsma » Thu May 24, 2018 3:39 pm

Hello-

I have a 90yr old home and the trim and doors and hardware are all original to the home. The trim is the big, blocky, darkly colored trim of the era. I want to remove a single layer of latex paint (& possibly a primer) that is on the trim and doors. The paint is chipping in a few places on the doors and trim. I have pulled a few pieces off to reveal the original unsanded stain and varnish. I think is will be fairly easy to remove due to this fact and I have no time line so I just want to be sure I do it right.

I want to remove the paint without harming the stain. I'm not as worried about the varnish as I can always put a new coat on. But the stain looks original (there is some unpainted trim in the kitchen) and I don't know that I could match it. I also will not be removing the trim as I'm not a carpenter and do not want to risk damaging it or the walls. The doors can be removed but whatever I do with the trim has to be indoor friendly.

Any ideas on how I can break the bond on the paint and remove it without having to sand or use chemicals that will damage the stain?

Thanks,
N

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby AsonnyA » Fri May 25, 2018 11:56 am

As a DIYer, I think you will be hard pressed to remove the paint without doing some damage to the underlying finishes.

Since the paint is peeling in some places, it may be easier to scrape it off, little by little, yet not damage, too much, of the original stain. It would be a slow process, taking your time to remove just the paint.

Since we can't see exactly what you have (but your description is fairly clear), it's still hard for us to give you some definitive info, to significantly help with your project. The job might be a learning process for you, rather than how best we can advise you. You would probably need to use more than one attack plan, or technique, or a combination of techniques (in the different areas to be worked).... I would suppose one technique wouldn't work for all areas to be stripped. I suppose it might be a learning process for me, as well, if I had to tackle the project.

For what you seem to want to accomplish, I would least trust a chemical stripper. I don't think you could govern or control how deep the stripper would penetrate. You could test some spots, with the intent to do subsequent manual scraping/sanding, but I think controlling the effect of a chemical stripper might be a challenge in itself.

Try some different approaches/techniques and evaluate the results. If need be, give us some feedback. Maybe we could expand on/assist with your efforts, if we had subsequent info.

Sonny

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby AsonnyA » Fri May 25, 2018 12:01 pm

And certainly, one opinion (mine) is not not a sure-fire thing, either. Your local paint store folks might have some helpful tips or they might can refer you to someone with helpful info.

Sonny

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby nyoungsma » Fri May 25, 2018 12:38 pm

Thank you for your response. I am fully prepared for a long process. There is a lot of trim and I know what I'm trying to do is difficult. Especially without chemical strippers.

What about a heat gun? I've never used one so I'm not sure how strong the effects are on the wood but would that be something that would harm the stain?

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby AsonnyA » Fri May 25, 2018 3:18 pm

I've never used a heat gun, extensively, on woodwork and I don't recall ever using one for removing paint.

Of the videos I viewed, this one seems pretty good, though I can tell if the underlying wood had been stained, nor did the guy mention it having stain or clear coat under the paint. I don't know if a heat gun will remove stain.... though I suspect it would remove a gel stain coating. I would suspect it wouldn't remove penetrating stain or dye as readily as it removes paint or a clear top coat finish.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alAaC46obZc

I've just had another thought: Are you sure the wood has/had been stained? The original "color" you see, of your trim and doors, may be the wood's natural color and the applied clear coat makes it look (would make it look) darker. There is the possibility the wood is not stained, at all, especially in many older homes.... unless you can verify there is definitely a stain applied. As I noted above, we can't see exactly what you're working with/on, so I'm speculating.

Like old furniture, the original finish is simply a clear coat over the natural wood, no stain. Long ago, folks got tired of the dark furniture, the dull dark look, and the easy fix was to paint with a bright/brighter color. Many nice old homes had quality woodwork.... trim, doors, etc. Your home may be in that category. Do some testing of techniques, including the heat gun on more inconspicuous spots, if possible.

And we can't rule out that the original clear coat finish has been tinted, also, so removing that kind of clear coat would remove any/some stain/color, as well.

Bob may have some heat gun experience to share... or other stripping ideas.

Sonny

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby nyoungsma » Fri May 25, 2018 4:19 pm

I'm not sure about the stain. I honestly just assumed it was painted. I finally got some pictures attached. I was having issues with the file sizes. I included the uncovered front door that is the same color as the wood under the paint chipping off another door. The unpainted kitchen trim and a spot of the chipping trim.
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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby AsonnyA » Sat May 26, 2018 8:07 am

In your original post, you state, " I have pulled a few pieces off to reveal the original unsanded stain and varnish." So, you have removed a few pieces of trim, is that right? Look on the back side and see what "color" the wood is. Can you determine if the front face is stained or not? Either way, stained or not, this determination would tell you, or help tell you, what stripping approach you would/you might need to take.

If paint is flaking or peeling off in some places, then maybe you can assume the paint layers have not adhered, properly, to the underlying finish coat(s). This would facilitate the paint removal. Your pics don't give any further details or info, as to exactly what other advice can be given to you, to further or better facilitate the paint removal.

If you have lots of trim to work on, I highly suspect it would be more advisable to remove, at least, some of the trim (the easier ones), strip them, then reinstall them. If the paint removal becomes difficult, while still installed, then I suspect you would have lots more difficulties stripping/removing the paint, than if the trim is removed, stripped, then reinstalled. You could work on one or a few removed pieces, to see how effective this procedure would work out, before committing to the whole task. If you do decide to remove the trim, to strip, make sure you label each piece, so that you know where it belongs, for re-installation.

Seems the main issue to how best to remove the paint, without affecting the underlying stain. Again, it's hard to advise which method may be best.... or most convenient, manual labor-wise. Part of this determination might be whether to remove the trim, after all, as opposed to working on it while still installed. You will likely need to test a few paint removal techniques, to see which works best, then determine whether removing the paint while the trim is installed or to remove it, to remove the paint. Personally, I would likely removed, say, one doorway trim, strip and refinish it, then reinstall it, before moving on to the next section of trim. Also, work on one door at a time, before moving on to the next door.

For any stripping work, I suppose you know to remove any hardware, before doing any stripping work.

Do you have any experience removing trim work, without breaking it? Do you know what might be the best tools to use, to facilitate removal? Removal, without breakage, may also depend on how the pieces have been installed and where..... and relative to an adjacent piece of trim. It's usually not hard to remove, but often you have to be careful, take your time. The proper tools helps with the care to be taken. The removal and re-installation process might be easier and faster, than you think, as opposed to leaving the trim in place, for the whole of the refinishing/remodeling task, especially if you have multiple rooms to refinish/remodel.

Sonny

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby Bob Boardman » Sun May 27, 2018 12:04 pm

I think Sonny's approach is on the money. Especially his comment about "Look on the back side and see what "color" the wood is".

I don't have any experience with a heat gun, though I have seen them in action and was somewhat pleasantly surprised at the result. That being said, I never used one. My only thought about the use of a heat gun and removing paint, but not stain, is this.
1) After checking the back side and see what "color" the wood is, try to determine if
A) The stain was directly applied to the wood. If so, the stain (pigment and/or dye) would be absorbed by the wood, and would be close to the color on the front, In this case the heat gun probably wouldn't have (too much) impact on the color.
B) The stain was applied over a spit coat of shellac, or a pre-stain "conditioner", or even a heavily diluted coat of the stain. If so, the color on the back would be noticeably different than color on the front. The shellac or conditioner would be absorbed by the wood, and the stain would "sit" on top of the shellac or conditioner. In this case the heat gun would probably have a greater effect on the stain.

As in all cases - test this in small places before doing all the trim. Hope this helps
Bob "Boardman" Borders

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby nyoungsma » Thu May 31, 2018 11:16 am

Sonny- I haven't removed any trim. I was referencing where I removed some of the chipping paint. And my thought process was that the paint hadn't completely adhered to the trim since it is easy to chip away in several spots. Which lead me to the hope that I'd be able to remove it with out chemicals. I was hoping since the paint to trim bond is already weak I could find a way to loosen it and remove the paint. I guess that was my main goal.

As to removing it, the trim is original to the house and the house is 90 years old. I have zero experience removing trim of any kind so I'd prefer to avoid that. I can remove the doors to work on those but I won't take the trim off. As for the the hardware I have plans to remove all of that off the doors to clean it up. It's all 1930's Art Deco style door knobs-again original to the house. I've spoken with someone on how to best clean those so that's squared away.

The wood is all the same color where I've chipped away paint. Almost all the doors and trim in the house have a spot or two where the paint has chipped away. I've been told that the trim & doors are most likely red oak. I'm not sure how dark of a wood that is naturally.

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby AsonnyA » Thu May 31, 2018 2:05 pm

I don't suppose you are in the Lafayette, La. area, are you? I'd come by and see for myself, exactly what all is involved. I'd also show you how to *remove trim, probably at least some of it, fairly easily.

*Removing trim in an old home that has suffered foundation failure, i.e., out of square doorways, window frames, walls, etc., is, often times, a plus. Some of those issues could be repaired, as well. You haven't mention foundation issues, so I assume your home is in good stable shape, foundation-wise. Just thought I'd mention this. I'm trying to think of or consider all possible/potential parameters.

My first thought would have been that the trim and doors are white oak, but since someone has inspected, then we have to rely on that assurance. To me, red oak trim would show (more so) signs of warping, as opposed to white oak.

Since the early 1900s, any wood, including any oak, would darken over time. In those older homes, having no AC or humidity control (to mention a few) would contribute to the wood darkening over time. So, the dark "color" may not be wholly by use of a stain, if a stain was actually used in the first place. Unless verified that there is a stain applied, you may not need be worried about a stain application. It might be just darkened wood by virtue of time, the wood having darkened over time, prior to it being painted.

At this point, I think your approach of scraping off, what you can, is best. For problem areas, I suppose using a heat gun would further be the best of efforts. I am suspect of sanding, especially with a power sander, because of the potential of the old(?) paint being lead based. If you can confirm that the paint was applied before 1978, then the paint is likely to contain lead, which is not good for breathing in the lead-paint dust.

I'm not sure I've covered (or invented some, like the foundation issue) all your concerns .... I haven't reread previous posts, to see what I may have missed. Did I forget to address something?

Sonny

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby Bob Boardman » Thu May 31, 2018 3:55 pm

Sonny,
I'm intrigued by poster's comment that "paint hadn't completely adhered to the trim since it is easy to chip away in several spots."

Has me wondering if (one of) the reasons for this is that there's a waterbase paint over an oil base paint. If WB paint was applied w/o any primer there'd definitely be some adherence issues. It also could mean what you pointed out - that oil base paint, depending on when applied, could contain lead.
Also think you nailed it with wood being dark due to age
Bob "Boardman" Borders

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby AsonnyA » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:19 am

> Has me wondering if (one of) the reasons for this is that there's a waterbase paint over an oil base paint.

Yes, but I'm wondering, more so, and depending on when the paint was applied, that, in those older homes, the build up, over time, of a thin film of surface "debris" would prevent good adhesion, especially if the surfaces weren't cleaned well, before being painted. With long term chimney smoke, normal everyday humidity and dust, etc., etc., in the home's early years, that build up, if not cleaned well, would very well contribute to less than perfect adhesion. Even a primer would likely not adhere well. This idea is also experienced with old furniture, i.e., the build up of wax, oils, dust, etc., has to be dealt with, before refinishing, if one doesn't strip the furniture, first, before applying an additional topcoat.

Yep. No matter what the case, as to adhesion, it would be good to know when the paint was applied, for consideration of other issues.

Sonny

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby Bob Boardman » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:07 am

Good POint
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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby nyoungsma » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:42 pm

The paint is modern flat paint. Painted some time in the last 10-15 yrs. From what I have seen in the chips I've taken off there isn't primer on the trim. The one door that is chipping the most looked like there might possibly be a layer of primer under the beige flat coat. So yes it is water based.

Bob-there is only one layer of paint on the trim. I have confirmed this by removing several pieces of paint from the trim where its starting to peel. It comes off very cleanly and easily. There are a few large spots of chipping on the the trim as well as countless little chips on the doors and trim through out the house. My guess is those little ones are mostly from the previous owners moving out given the size and placement of them. I've checked each room and all the chips come away to reveal the original wood underneath.

I had thought, as well, when we moved in that there would be several layers of paint on the trim given the age of the house. I was pleasantly surprised to find only one layer.

No foundation issues the house is solid and well maintained. The doors and trim all line up still with little issue of misalignment.

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Re: Removing a single layer of paint??

Postby Ialokine » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:18 am

Thank you All for your response


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