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mccentric 05-21-2012 07:35 PM

Caulking instead of sanding hard edges?
We had a 100 year old house with lead paint that is failing in many places. I had a contractor come over for an estimate. He said that after scraping and removing any loose paint he would then caulk the hard edges between the painted and unpainted surfaces. I am aware that sanding is usually done to "feather" these edges, but he does not like to sand lead paint because of the health risks (which I fully appreciate). I can't seem to find any information about putting caulk on these hard edges to smooth them out instead of sanding. Any thoughts on this? Does it sound like a good idea?

Brushjockey 05-21-2012 09:04 PM

You might ask him to check out a thick primer called Peel Bond- it was made to do just that ( mostly on exterior- but I have used it for just this purpose)
In many ways it is like brushable caulk- but it will level out. You put it on as thick as you can.
Great stuff.

Here's some info:

chrisn 05-22-2012 03:03 AM

Caulking? no way. It would be much better to skim the edges with joint compound and or use brush's method

jsheridan 05-22-2012 05:33 AM

Unless I'm missing something about the uses of caulk, I think you should not consider using that particular painter. I can't imagine either doing that myself or think that it would be effective, for either locking down rough paint edges or feathering them out for a cleaner look. While I have tooled caulking with a knife, it's not easy, so I couldn't see doing that on such a large scale. I don't think that either caulking or spackle will lock down an edge that is bent on curling up. If the use of caulk is for locking down edges, Brushjockey's advice is the best route, short of completely stripping the finish. If it's for the aesthetic look, then Chrisn in right on.

mccentric 05-22-2012 11:37 AM

Darn. This is the 6th contractor we've talked to, and it sounds like we're probably going to have to do this job by ourselves, since we cannot seem to find a contractor that knows how to (or cares enough) to do it correctly. What is with that?!

Thank you so much for your responses, I really appreciate it. :thumbup:

I checked out the Peel Bond info, and it definitely looks like a possibility.
Do you have any specific joint compound product recommendations?

user1007 05-22-2012 03:28 PM

For feathering edges like you describe, I would use a hot mud compound rather than a pre-mix because you can control its density. It is harder to sand but that is no really big deal with carbide paper.

It comes in plastic lined boxes (5 minute) or sacks with cure times from 5-90 or even 120 minutes. I would get a cheap Rubbermaid type container to store the sack. For a first time DIYer I would go with the 20 or even the 45 minute. You can always wait for it to set. The 5 minute is not for the faint of heart.

Hot mud starts curing the minute moisture hits it. You don't want to mix more than you can use before it sets. I usually mixed batches in my drywall pan unless I had a laborer I could trade of pans with and that did nothing but keep mixing.

Whatever compound you use, you should get yourself a nice, wide, drywall blade with some flex to it for this. I liked one the width of my drywall pan but if that is two big for you to handle comfortably you can cut back. If you try to use a 4-6 inch taping knife to blend or skim coat you will end up having to do a lot of sanding and the nice thing about a wide blade is it catches enough wall surface to give you nice even transitions.

As for your question. Blending in defects like yours on old walls went with the territory when I was painting and amounted to some work but I never viewed it as problematical. Are these painters quoting for you familiar with working on old houses and their walls?

By the way, be mindful of lead in the existing paint if you are sanding down that far. Abate as needed. Where protective and disposable clothing and use a dust mask. Turn off your HVAC system so you do not circulate the dust.

chrisn 05-22-2012 05:22 PM

carbide sand paper?

you mean this stuff?

No Load Medium 100 Grit Silicon Carbide Sanding Sheets

$33.98 a sheet?????:eek:

mccentric 05-22-2012 05:33 PM

Thank you so much for all of that info!
This contractor says he is very familiar with old houses and restoration practices. Everything else he said sounds right to me:
-recently re-certified with the EPA and very concerned and educated about lead safety precautions
-use of high quality oil primer and lifetime durability elastomeric sealant
-two coats of high quality acrylic latex specially formulated for our region

It's just that small matter of wanting to caulk the hard edges after scraping. I am hesitant to question a contractor and his methods.

I realize I forgot to say that this is for the EXTERIOR of our house. Does that discount the hot mud compound?

Thanks again for all the responses.

user1007 05-22-2012 05:38 PM

Chris, that is outrageous! I was thinking more like 5" discs for my variable speed, orbital sander. I can slow it down to hand sanding speeds. Disc run ~$20 for 100.

chrisn 05-23-2012 03:29 AM


Originally Posted by sdsester (Post 926641)
Chris, that is outrageous! I was thinking more like 5" discs for my variable speed, orbital sander. I can slow it down to hand sanding speeds. Disc run ~$20 for 100.

I thought so. The disks would work if you had a whole bunch of sanding to do. I don't find ( for the amount I use) sanding the hot mud all that hard

As to the OP question about exterior, the guy is scraping the lead based paint anyway( thus releasing lead dust) a little more sanding is not going to hurt things any more if properly done using RRP regulations. If this guy is serious about the law, he would know this. He would ( should) know that caulking the edges is just ludicrous

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