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Old 08-31-2006, 01:18 PM   #1
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getting paint off of baseboards


What is the best method to get a few layers of paint off of metal baseboard heating enclosures? I've heard of using a heat gun, and also using chemicals. I'd prefer not to use chemicals unless I have to.

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Old 08-31-2006, 02:15 PM   #2
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getting paint off of baseboards


I would need more info to make a recommendation, like, is there anything on or around the enclosure you might harm? paint thinner would take off the paint, but would also take off paint if the register was painted too. Some paint will come off with warm water if its fallen on a surface that was not prepped for paint...

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Old 08-31-2006, 06:37 PM   #3
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getting paint off of baseboards


they are original baseboards (1955). they are recessed into the wall a bit. and they hook into a metal strip above the inside parts on the wall. i've taken all of these covers off so that i can get the paint off so i can paint/spraypaint a fresh, smooth, clean coat of white. i'll have to take a photo of a close up shot on saturday because it's kind of hard to explain it. here is a shot i have from when we first started to work on the house with them on the baseboard:



and a shot where you can see the covers in the garage (dont mind the garbage bags... long story, check my blog from my sig for an explaination haha!) where you can see how they are shaped from the side:


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Old 09-01-2006, 07:25 AM   #4
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getting paint off of baseboards


Wow, I must have been tired yesterday. I for SOME strange reason thought you were saying that you got a little bit of paint on the baseboards from painting a wall. You are looking to repaint the metal bases though.

IN that case, the big question is - How is the paint that's on them now? Is it flaking and peeling or is it smooth, uniform, but ugly?

If the paint is not flaking and there is no sign of rust or corrosion, you should be able to paint right over the old without priming. I on the other hand, am a proponent of priming regardless.

STill, to get back to the original question, you probably don't have to remove all the paint that's on there, but if there are problem areas - peeling, rust, bubbles, etc. You will want to sand those off and sand the area as smooth as you can. Other than that, a scuff pad could be used to rough the surface enough for a good bite for the new paint. Choose a strong paint, these are areas you'll want to prevent damage as much as you can. If you are gonna go spray paint, perhaps an enamel with a clear coat will be your best option.
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Old 09-01-2006, 01:48 PM   #5
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getting paint off of baseboards


haha i WISH it were just a spot i wanted to remove! the paint on there now is not smooth. i think from so many layers, it's very bumpy and wavy, like all the paint layers were just globbed on. they look very ugly, especially when we have fresh paint on the walls, the imperfections will really show. that's why i was considering the option of removing the paint down to the bare metal so i could start fresh and have a nice clear coat of white paint.
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:13 PM   #6
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I Beleive you will get the same results from simply sanding them smooth and not obsessing over getting ALL of the old paint off. Just getting it down to a level surface, scuffed slightly to give a good tooth for the primer, a quality primer and paint and you should be rolling.
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:59 PM   #7
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getting paint off of baseboards


i think i'll try doing that on one piece and see how i like it. i dont think i'll ever like the way they look (the holes look like dogbones to me), but i dont think it's something worthwhile to replace (i dont really see replacing the baseboards as something to add value to this house). i'll let you know how they come out.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:11 PM   #8
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Cool. you may be surprised. Its a really, really strange phenomenon how a fresh coat of paint can bring things to life. Sometimes even things that are kind of ugly in design can look much better painted.
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Old 09-01-2006, 07:15 PM   #9
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getting paint off of baseboards




Do not sand, scrape, media blast, use methylene chloride, propane torch or heat gun that operates over 700* F

Chances are extremely high those things are loaded with lead
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:10 PM   #10
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getting paint off of baseboards


oh man, good call -- the thought of lead never crossed my mind!! the heat gun method is my only method then (since i want to avoid chemicals). when you do this, what happens to the paint, does it just melt and run off the metal?
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:35 PM   #11
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getting paint off of baseboards


Are you removing paint from the part you removed, the part still on the wall, or both?
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Old 09-02-2006, 03:45 AM   #12
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getting paint off of baseboards


slickshift could be right about the lead part. i was told back in the days that there are lead in the paint. 1955 is pretty old to me so there is a possibility of lead. I never tried to remove paint with a heat gun, but paint remover works like a charm but the smell is horrible. use a respriator/mask for extra protection. lead can cause brian damage and etc. but i hope theres no lead in the paint you have. good luck on ur project.
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Old 09-02-2006, 06:58 AM   #13
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getting paint off of baseboards


i just want to paint the part you see -- the part i removed.

i think they stopped using lead paint in the 70s. like i said, there are quite a few layers of paint on them. from a first glance, i can see a white layer, a mint-green layer, a pink layer, and another white layer (so at least 4 layers of paint).

if i were to use chemicals, i would work outside and definitly use a ventilator. now i'm pretty paranoid about lead...! so i guess i need to use whatever method that will minimize my exposure.

ideally i would love to just replace the covers all together, but i can't find the right product. since our baseboards are recessed into the wall, i think if i were to just replace them, i'd have to replace the whole baseboard system, including hiring someone to move the pipes forward, etc. right now, we dont have the $ in our budget for a project like that. maybe down the road.
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:10 AM   #14
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getting paint off of baseboards


Try a stripper called Peel Away. Brush the stripper on, cover with the supplied paper, wait, then peel off paper and the paint comes up also (usually). We have used this product on detailed trim moldings with pretty good results. I would think that using this on a flat (no detail), metal (no absorbtion), baseplates would be a breeze. After you pull the paper there should be minimal scraping and wash well. As with any stripper wear gloves and let the chemical do the work. The longer you can leave it on without drying the better. Good luck.
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Old 09-02-2006, 10:54 AM   #15
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getting paint off of baseboards


Use a chemical paint stripper, There is a possibility that the exsisting paint is lead based ( Not sure cos i'm in UK and lead has been baned in paint since the late 60's early 70's. don't forget you're gloves.

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