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Removing Ancient Paint from Stairs

We recently bought an old house circa 1908. Most of the renovations are going well but we have hit a problem with the stairs. There was this very odd shiny grey paint on them. Someone had painted over it with latex and it was coming away in sheets. They had used the same paint on some of the moldings and while additional layers had difficulty sticking it wasn't nearly as problematic. We thought originally that this paint may have been oil based, but now we are wondering if it isn't some older formulation.

We tried removing it with paint stripper and it ignored it. The pain stripper soaked into the paint covered wood and did literally nothing.

We would like to get as much of the paint off the stairs as we can. Right now we are sanding, but that too is far less effective than hoped as well. Any chemistry suggestions?


Re: Removing Ancient Paint from Stairs

It could be Buttermilk Paint most paint removers will not remove it.
They do have a butterMilk paint remover I have ordered from PA. THIS TYPE REMOVER IS VERY TOXIC.

Re: Removing Ancient Paint from Stairs

It sounds like you are describing hide paint. The hardest paint there is to get off in my experience. A heat gun is one option because hide glue melts but would still need scrubbing with paint stripper. You might start here http://www.ehow.com/how_6509398_remove-hide-glue.html


Re: Removing Ancient Paint from Stairs

Hyde glude paint is soluble with water in the South it is known as rabbit paint made from the skins of rabbits mixed with lime and used as a paint also known as Calcimine paint.
Warm water will remove this type coating.
Buttermilk paint will require a mixture of Potash & Lime ( LYE ) to be removed.

Re: Removing Ancient Paint from Stairs

If you suspect lead, test the paint before sanding.

Sometimes keeping the old is a lot of work. When to replace is a question you can answer.

It may be easier to dis-assemble then remove the paint with a planer or heavier sanding equipment.

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