I just moved into a house that was built in 1958 and the paint on the garage door is peeling. It's probably been painted quite a few times by now I would imagine. what is the best way to deal with this? Should I just try to sand it smooth and repaint over it? Use a heat gun and scrape it? Paint stripper? And what if it's a lead-based paint? Does that make a difference? The door is in great shape for being the original wood door, so I'd hate to replace it.
You will want to check for lead first. Anything painted before 1978 usually has lead paint on it somewhere. If it has lead, you will need a respirator and long-sleeved shorts and long pants to protect yourself from lead dust.
Use some warm water and a scrub brush to clean the door. If there is stubborn dirt, you could use some cleaner like Krud Kutter in your warm water. Rinse, and allow to dry thoroughly.
Use a carbide scraper to scrape off any loose paint. If you need to sand, you can use some 80 grit paper on an orbital sander or sand by hand to remove any loose paint leftover after scraping.
Prime the bare spots with oil-based primer. The oil base soaks into the wood and prevents tannin bleed which is a tea-colored stain that can wick through water-based primers applied to old wood. You could test a few spots with a latex primer if you aren't comfortable using an oil. Sometimes the old wood doesn't leach tannins through the primer.
Allow the primer to dry for 24 hours. You can apply the topcoats using a 6 inch Whizz mini roller and a 2 1/2 inch nylon brush. Apply 2 coats and your job is done.
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