Home>Discussions>EXTERIORS>Stripping the floor and ceiling of a 100-year-old porch
3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Stripping the floor and ceiling of a 100-year-old porch

I've started to refinish my front porch and I'm looking for advice on stripping the layers of paint from the floor and ceiling.

I've tried a heat gun, which did nothing on the floor. It was slightly effective on the ceiling, but it's a pain trying to use a heat gun above your head and to get into the grooves. I've also tried Ready Strip from Back to Nature, which is supposed to remove up to 15 layers. It did nothing on the floor. It worked moderately well on test area of the ceiling, but it only took off about a layer or so. And it's a pain to try and get out of the grooves between the wood.

Any ideas? It's lead-based paint, so I don't want to sand.

Has anyone used SmartStrip? I've heard that you can use paper with it (similar its "sister" product Peel Away) which makes it easier to remove, but I'm not sure how accurate that is. If so, it seems like using the paper might make it a little easier to remove from the grooves, etc. I'm skeptical about these miracle products.

Between the floor and the ceiling, I have about 350-400 square feet to deal with. I don't want to spend all summer on this (nor do I want to break the bank).

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!

Re: Stripping the floor and ceiling of a 100-year-old porch

If the floor looks entirely like that part in the photo, I'd just rent a floor sander and abrade the whole thing to 80 grit and paint. It's pretty far gone for gentler means.
I once dry-scraped two porch ceilings totaling 1000 sq ft. I used a 1 1/2" scraper, kept very sharp with a file, and made a specially shaped scraper for the beads. There was 100 years worth of white paint on it and it was very alligatored and ready to shed off. It took about 3 days. An incredible upper body workout. It was an 11' ceiling so I was standing on staging at an optimal height to work. I had to wear a respirator, of course, and I was completely bathed in lead and sweat after every session. I think I filled two 50 gallon trash cans with paint chips on that job.
Chemical strippers on ceilings would be IMO even more loathsome a job than manual scraping. As one who has used a lot of peel-away, It is hell when it completely dries out. Not to mention that it stops working when dry. I would be concerned that under hot, dry, summer outdoor conditions it would dry out long before it had done much work. The soygel types might do a lot better. But either will require some kind or water-rinse.

Re: Stripping the floor and ceiling of a 100-year-old porch

I agree with all the above advice. We live in a Queen Anne with a huge front porch and a beadboard ceiling. As I was agonizing over what to do with the alligatored paint on the beadboard ceiling we had a house fire and all of the beadboard ceiling had to be replaced. That was actually the only solution anyway. Working overhead is extreme hard physical labor. Ripping it out and replacing it is actually less labor intensive and it will be all brand new.

On the porch; I sanded it with a floor sander - A Clarke that collects about 90% of the dust in a bag, primed it and painted it. Remember to use sand in the paint mix on the final coat. You can obtain the correct sand at a good paint store. You need the sand to give the floor decent traction otherwise every time it rains or snows your painted floor will become a skating rink.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.