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Removal of old paint on trim...

Hi !

We are first time homeowners and are refurbishing our home built in the 30's on our own. I'm looking for a way to remove the old paint from the trim around the doorways. I tried a heat gun, but the fumes were pretty bad. I'm looking for a way to do it without harsh chemicals and fumes.

The trim Is about 4 inches wide and has grooves. There appears to be about three layers of old paint...most likely oil based?

Re: Removal of old paint on trim...


I wish I could tell you there is a magic bullet for stripping woodwork, but unfortunately I know of none. Stripping is a very time consuming and messy job, usually accomplished with the use of caustic chemical strippers.

Short of stripping, if the existing paint is oil paint, it will sand and feather out well. You might consider investing in a "pad" sander. These use a quarter sheet of standard sandpaper. A decent pad sander can be had for under $50.

Often a really good sanding, followed by a coat of oil enamel undercoater and oil enamel will really bring back old woodwork.

You can tell if the paint is oil by rubbing it with denatured alcohol. Alcohol will rapidly start dissoving latex paint, but will have no effect on oil paint. "Goof-Off" will also tell you if the paint is oil or not. Goof-Off does not attack oil, but rapidly dissolves latex paint.

One caveate: due to the age of your house,some of that paint may well be lead paint. If so, nix the sanding and return to the stripping plan.

The major pain of stripping might be alleviated by removing the door casings and doing them out in a work area which allows for the mess without damaging the surrounding area. The removed casings might also be brought to a strip tank operation. These companies submerge the wood into hot lye which removes the paint clean as a whistle.

Just a few options. Hope this helps.

Tacoma John
Re: Removal of old paint on trim...

Almost everything Ordjen daid is ture, except for the Goof Off. Use the waterbased goof off, the one in the plastic container, not the one in the metal container. As the goof off in the metal contaner is a solvent and could attack oil paint as well. Sould you choose to remove the trim, which I recomend, score between the wall and the trim first. This will break the bond of old paint and caulk that hold the two together and lessen the chance of damaging the trim and or wall. As Ordgen said, there is a good chance of lead paint. Get a lead test kit from a paint store or box store to make sure you know what you have.

Re: Removal of old paint on trim...


I never had any problem with the original Goof-Off. I used it frequently to get latex paint off the top of varnished base boards where past "painters" had let it get under the tape. I suppose it would eventually attack oil too, but it readily takes off the latex products. It does not seem to harm the PVC plastic windows either. IOn any event, as I said, always test the product first and always start with the mildest solvent.

Re: Removal of old paint on trim...

I think if we are doing paint of the house then old paint should be removed and then only we apply new on it. If we trim it, It does not give it a real touch. So, I think removal of old paint will be the best.

Re: Removal of old paint on trim...


I would agree that the end result would be superior after stripping, if you are content with doing all that work and making that mess.

When stripping over hard floors which might be damaged by the stripper, such as hardwood or vinyl, I always covered the floor with a double layer of rosin paper. The edges were first taped with blue tape and then two layers of regular masking tape. The stripper will eat its way through a single layer of tape and possibly damage the vulnerable flooring.

If working over carpet, you will have to hold back the nap of the carpet with multiple layers of 2 inch masking tape. Ideally, this is best done at the time of carpet replacement. Again, the rugs must be protected against all the crude which is coming off the woodwork and has a tendency to be tracked around the room.

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