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Old 02-03-2010, 11:58 AM  
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Default Trim Restoration

99% of my experiance is with new new trim, in my house that I am remodeling, it has all oak trim that has multiple coats of paint on it. I want to restore the look of the original wood. Whats the best method to remove the paint?

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Old 02-03-2010, 02:35 PM  
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Default well

Outside if you are going to use a gel stripper, or a heat gun.
I always remove the trim on an old house, label the back, pull the nails through the back of the board and start with the gels. Put some plastic down, follow the directions and have at it.
Plenty of work to do, but the results are pretty good.

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Old 02-04-2010, 09:29 PM  
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Just Hatched:

It all pivots on whether or not the paint on the wood is oil based or latex.

If it's latex, then I would use xylene to strip the latex paint off the wood. The xylene will etch the gloss of any varnish or polyurethane under the latex paint, but don't worry about that for now. Once you get ALL of the old latex paint off the old varnish with xylene, then just use a wiping polyurethane and give the trim a light coat with a brush roller or rag just to restore the gloss to the surface of the trim. (This is how I clean dry latex paint spatter off of varnished mahogany (really luaun) interior doors, but I have to apply wiping poly to the whole side of the door because otherwise you just get glossy spots where the wiping poly is, and that looks worse than the latex paint spatter.)

If it's older trim with real varnish on it, and if the first coat of paint on it was a linseed oil based paint, then you're SOL and you've got to strip the wood using chemicals or heat as InspectorD advises. You see, from a chemical standpoint, oil based paint and varnish are almost indistinguishable. Basically, real varnish can be considered "clear" linseed oil based paint, so there's no chemical that will dissolve one without also dissolving the other.

Quite honestly, if it wuz me, and you're planning to take all the old trim off to strip it with chemicals, I would just buy new oak trim to replace it. It'll cost a lot of money, but it'll save an awful lot of work.

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 02-04-2010 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:53 AM  
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You can get rid of the paint from trim by using a ZAR wood stain and when you got rid of the paint after that, brush the stain all over the trim, then to do dry the brush and after the stain dried out final coat it with a poly or varnish.

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Old 02-26-2010, 09:36 AM  
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I have also used stripper and a heat gun. Can be done in place, but you need a lot of ventilation to do it safely. I would argue that it is worth saving the old moulding. For one thing, the grain is often different than new oak (I don't recall the terms or definitions, but something about quarter sawn). The other thing is patina. Old wood develops a beautiful warm glow that you can only poorly imitate through staining. The final argument for restoration is environmental. Throwing out wood to me is just not good if there is any way to save it.

The environmental benefits of saving the wood may be outweighed by the polution caused by strippers, but you can mitigate that by using the heat gun first (use it on low to avoid vapourizing any lead in the paint). I usually remove the bulk of the paint with the gun and then finishing with a good stripper. Sounds like a gangster's Saturday night huh? You can also get organic strippers, but in my experience they don't work that well.

When it is all done, you will have tiny specks or stripes of paint remaining (where the wood has been dented or cracked). You can dig these out with dental tools, of simply buy small containers of paint matching each of the colors in your wood and paint the little specks so they don't show before coating with poly.

Remember that any stripped paint is likely to be hazardous (i.e. will contain substantial lead), so your municipality may have regulations on disposal. At the very least protect yourself and your family by wearing a mask, sanding as little as possible (not at all indoors) and carefully collecting and disposing of the waste (I've heard of people dumpiong a pile of paint chips in the garden).

This is a lot of work, but it will look a lot better than new moldings, unless they were done very poorly to begin with. my 2cents.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:22 AM  
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Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
buy new oak trim to replace it. It'll cost a lot of money, but it'll save an awful lot of work.
How much for new oak, how much time & mat'l cost to strip the old oak? Minimum wage for MD in 2010 is $7.25/hr.

For the time est., there is setup/takedown time and time per piece.

Last edited by Wuzzat?; 02-26-2010 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:43 PM  
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Well I guess Nestor has some really good point on that. Buying a new one can save all the work. Imagine the time and effort that you need if you won't buy a new one.

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