Poorly painted old trim

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drw158

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We are moving into a 1938 house with some of the original trim intact. This house was poorly maintained over the years, including the trim.

The trim has been painted with a glossy white color, and there are all sorts of drips and built-up paint (about 4 layers of paint). There are holes everywhere with some dents and gouges. They just painted over most of it. It looks really messy. Attached are some photos.

What should I do to prep this trim? We would love to restore it to the original wood finish, but we don't have a lot of time and I think the trim might not be in good enough shape. We'll probably paint it a white color that's not as glossy. What level of gloss would you recommend?

Do we just scrape and sand? Can we use an orbital sander? Do we strip the paint with a chemical?

Thanks for any advice.

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beachguy005

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You don't want to use an orbital sander because of the detail of the trim. Same goes for scraping, you can do more damage. I would try a nontoxic paint stripper first.
 
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havasu

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I can assure you that you have lead based paints on a few of those coats. Just said as a reminder...
 
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chrisn

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If you are looking for perfection(or close), then replacement might be a better option
 

CallMeVilla

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OK, here is the straight talk ...

1. If you truly want to preserve the casing, reconcile yourself to a slow, tedious, meticulous process that will take longer than you imagine.
2. There is lead paint in there due to the age of the house. You must take precautions to protect yourself. DO NOT sand. Wear protective gloves, clothing, respirator.
3. To remove the first (larger) layers of paint, use paint stripper. Apply it and let the chemicals do their work. Be patient. Use simple scrapers and green scrubby pads. No sanding.
4. With the bulk of the paint gone, go to a heat gun. Use specialty curved scrapers to get deep into the detail of the old casing.
5. Now you can go back and use fresh green scrubby pads with acetone to remove the remnants. ALWAYS WEAR protective gloves and get ventilation.

At this point, the wood should be bare of old paint. NOW you can fill holes and spot sand the flat areas to remove old damage.
Apply a quality primer and paint with semi-gloss latex paint.

Get back to us in a year and let us know how the project went ... :D

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joecaption

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I've proven many times when trim is that bad it's faster and comes out far better to remove and replace.
Prepriming and painting one coat before it goes on saves a lot of time because there's only one coat to cut in.
 

drw158

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I tested all layers of paint for lead. There is no lead in the trim paint according to the test. And yes, I made sure all layers of paint were visible when I did the test :)
 

joecaption

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OK so now you faced with weeks of stripping, sanding, filling, sanding again, priming, going back and redoing the areas you missed, priming again, then painting.
Or just removing and replacing all the trim.
There's nothing special about that trim, it's all stock molding.
No way would I be wasting time trying to restore it.
 
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chrisn

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I tested all layers of paint for lead. There is no lead in the trim paint according to the test. And yes, I made sure all layers of paint were visible when I did the test :)
1938 house with no lead paint on the trim?? :confused: hard to believe, unless it was stained and just painted (badly) recently about 10 times

As I said the first time and which has been backed up repeatedly, replace it with new
 

beachguy005

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While it's easy to tell you just to replace all the trim, it's pretty costly and laborious to do so. Depending on your skill set and how deep your pockets are it might be a good idea, but if you're a DYIer that hasn't done trim before, try stripping one of the windows first.
You don't need perfection or restoration. You want a smooth surface to repaint. You won't need to remove every last speck of old paint.
Apart from labor and cost of just replacing the trim you may run into other issues such as having to custom mill the trim to fit because stock trim may not fit properly on your old windows.
 

DFBonnett

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Since you're sure there is no lead to deal with you might want to consider removing as much of the trim as possible and sending it out to be stripped. That would leave you with a lot less to deal with in place by stripping, sanding, or a combination of both. You could also sand the flat areas and just use stripper on the detail. Your call. Either way the project will be time consuming.
 

joecaption

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No way would I be spending the money to send old trim like that to be stripped.
It's just common stock trim.
 

drw158

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Thanks for all of the advice everyone. Very helpful.

Isn't there some added value since the trim is over 70 years old? Wouldn't it be worth it to preserve the original wood trim?

If I wanted to replace the trim: How common is this trim? Could I buy it at HD? It seems like I would have to get it custom made.
 

DFBonnett

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Thanks for all of the advice everyone. Very helpful.

Isn't there some added value since the trim is over 70 years old? Wouldn't it be worth it to preserve the original wood trim?

If I wanted to replace the trim: How common is this trim? Could I buy it at HD? It seems like I would have to get it custom made.
Some trim configurations are no longer commonly available and replacements would have to be custom made. Some are available. You'll have to determine this locally. Check with real lumber yards, not HD, about this.
 
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chrisn

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Some trim configurations are no longer commonly available and replacements would have to be custom made. Some are available. You'll have to determine this locally. Check with real lumber yards, not HD, about this.[/QUOTE]

:agree:
 

beachguy005

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Thanks for all of the advice everyone. Very helpful.

Isn't there some added value since the trim is over 70 years old? Wouldn't it be worth it to preserve the original wood trim?

If I wanted to replace the trim: How common is this trim? Could I buy it at HD? It seems like I would have to get it custom made.

The value isn't in the age of the trim. It's value is based on the wood type and style of the trim. Lots of older homes had much more intricate trim. While there are some purists out there that want any original parts of a home restored regardless of what it looks like, unless the house is of some historical significance it's really not that important to most buyers.




'
 

joecaption

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It was common long ago that the trim was made by a local planner mill that sometimes made there own knives.
I used to work on nothing but 100 + year old house and ran into this all the time.
I had to just work a little harder to check out some of the old time lumber yards to find matching trim.
99% of the time I found it sitting on the rack without having to have it made.
No one's going to care how old the trim is or what it's made of when it comes to just painted trim, all there going to see is the profile.
Someone may suggest some places to look if your location was in your profile.
 
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