No-Sweat Paint Prep
PRO: Roger Simon, housepainter, Fort Washington, Pa.
SECRET: Don't use a chemical stripper to remove chipped, alligatored, or otherwise marred paint on porch posts, first-floor door and window casings, and other high-visibility exterior surfaces. Instead, simply skim it with a coat of wood filler, such as Elmer's Interior/Exterior Carpenter's Wood Filler, to obscure defects and create a smooth surface on which to apply glossy paint. Simon's sequence: Scrape loose paint (be sure to wear a respirator to guard against lead dust); prime; skim with filler; sand; prime again; top with your finish coat of paint.