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Stripping Tin

Q: My brother's kitchen has a pressed tin ceiling that has several layers of paint on it. What would you recommend for stripping the tin ceiling?

—Danny, Federalsburg, Maryland

A: Tom Silva replies: You've got your work cut out for you. There are products you lather on with a plastic putty knife, cover with a special paper, wait, and then peel away. But that's the easy part. Getting all the paint out of the ceiling's nook's crannies—the fine work—is the killer. Patience is the key here. An easy-sounding solution such as sandblasting will only destroy what you're trying to restore.

Don't forget that old tin ceilings are often covered with several coats of lead paint. For more information on lead paint, call the EPA hotline at 800-424-LEAD.

To learn more about tin ceilings, check out All About Tin Ceilings and How to Hang a Tin Ceiling
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