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Silverpointe 06-04-2013 09:52 PM

Nightmare Trim
First, I want to disclaim that I am a total newbie to DIY home improvement outside of basic painting so any "dumbing down" is appreciated.

Recently purchased an old 1910's colonial house and while repainting most of the rooms, I discovered several problems with the trim. It's really the trifecta of problems.

1. The painter's tape lifted off portions of the existing trim paint in several areas - windows, fireplace, crown molding, etc. In these areas, you can literally peel it off in sheets. Once this happened in one room, I didn't tape the other rooms but it is already occurring on the window cases throughout the home.

2. The trim in every room is a different shade of off-white except for the living room which appears to be more recently done. The other rooms are all varying shades of mid to dark beige which I really dislike.

3. The third problem is that the previous homeowners did a less than stellar job of painting and their wall colors bled onto the trim in many areas so there are no sharp lines between trim and wall. If the color was consistent from room to room I would consider trying to match the color and spot paint these areas.

Whatever the remedy is, it needs to be something that I can do myself and replacing it is not an option, unfortunately. I realize that fixing just the problem areas is a temporary measure but it may be all I can do.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

chrisn 06-05-2013 04:06 AM

Hate to tell you but, it sounds to me like somebody painted latex over oil without proper prep. The only solution is to remove the peeling latex and start over with PROPER prep work. Sorry.

Jmayspaint 06-05-2013 06:32 AM

Yea, Chrisn is right. And that's a disaster not easily fixed, or even patched up decently.
Another real bummer in your situation is the original paint on the trim is almost certainly lead based.
This is a common problem. People often will slap a quick coat of paint on an old house without proper prep to increase the sale value. The thing is, if you know what your looking at, it really decreases the value because it costs way more to fix this problem than to paint it right the first time.

Another pro stated on another forum that with only minimal scraping, he has primed all the trim with an oil bonding primer (Not kilz) then finished with a good latex, and had decent results.

There is really nothing you can do short of stripping all the loose paint off and starting again that will eliminate the chipping problem. Partial removal, and the method above might improve it somewhat, but its not a fix.
Whatever you do, educate yourself on lead paint first.

Hey Chrisn, what about wallpapering the trim? Think it would stay if you glued it on real good?

Jmayspaint 06-05-2013 06:38 AM

I don't know how to post a link to another thread, but there is a recent one entitled 'Trim Not painted properly' that deals with this issue.

ToolSeeker 06-05-2013 08:42 AM

Could you not use something like a peel bond rather than sand or scrap. Really don't have to go down to the bare wood just the peeling. Then with mask all the sanding would be to feather the edges a little. Then good bonding primer and paint.

jagans 06-05-2013 09:00 AM

If your house is that old it probably has plaster walls. You are going to end up painting the walls anyway, so I would try mixing up hot water and TSP and try washing off the paint on the trim. Put down drop cloths and plastic, and duct tape plastic to the wall under the windows to direct your solution away from the walls.

The paint guys here know of a wash type stripper that is even better than TSP, and does not require extensive rinsing. Im sure they will post it here soon. If the paint is coming off with an adhesive as weak as that which is on painters tape it should wash off. Maybe even white vinegar in hot water will work. Buy some scotch brite pads, and rubber gloves.

Sorry someone left you such a mess.

user1007 06-05-2013 09:03 AM


Originally Posted by Jmayspaint (Post 1195516)
I don't know how to post a link to another thread, but there is a recent one entitled 'Trim Not painted properly' that deals with this issue.

Off the thread for a second but the way to post it is to copy its URL and paste it in the link button of the new post. The system seems to spot it as internal and will post the thread title for you.

Back on thread, I agree if it is latex over oil missing something like an equalizing primer/underlay---either alkyd or high bonding latex acrylic (if using latex acrylic paint) there is not much you can do now but peel the failed paint off. The good news, I guess, is that you say it comes off easily. It could just be dirt cheap paint over a non-prepped surface too.

The other clue that it might have been an oil finish is that you indicated it seemed to be yellowing/discoloring or something which is a characteristic of oil based paint. Given the vintage of the home, you may also have a lead paint issue. Was this disclosed at closing?

I do not know how you feel about working with oil-finishes but if the surfaces of the existing paint not yet painted with latex seem alright (just yellowing and chalking a bit), you might be able to scruff them up for adhesion and apply a nice oil-based finish. If you can still get such things where you are.

First thing I would do, so you know, is test to see if it is oil or latex. A decent way that usually works is to take a bit of nail polish and rub it on a tiny section. If the surface stays glossy, you most probably have oil. If paint or gloss comes off, it is probably latex/acrylic. A real paint store will have more exact test kits.

TSP is not a paint stripper. It will clean and can etch surfaces for prep but would not be a choice for paint stripping.

For something like you face? Invest $20 (Just looked and they are like $13/retail on Amazon) in a pull type contour scraper set to get what does not pull off out of the way. The set shown has 12 contours. Resort to chemical or heat guns only if necessary. Infrared strippers are the new magical breed. I loved mine but you do not need one for this. Just the scraper set mentioned and some fine grit paper.

Blade gets screwed on with the sharpened edge up. You rest your thumb on the top of the blade, then pull the blade to you as you scrape. It will not work pushing it forward and you could cut your self.

chrisn 06-05-2013 04:48 PM


Originally Posted by ToolSeeker (Post 1195577)
Could you not use something like a peel bond rather than sand or scrap. Really don't have to go down to the bare wood just the peeling. Then with mask all the sanding would be to feather the edges a little. Then good bonding primer and paint.


Silverpointe 06-05-2013 10:27 PM

The link contains pictures of the problem areas

Not sure if it will help make more obvious the best course of action.

Jmayspaint 06-05-2013 10:55 PM

The first coupe pics I thought you got lucky and just the top layer or two was all that was loose?
The third pic seemed to show peeling all the way to the wood/varnish.
See if you can tell where the failure has occurred. Is it coming off (with scraping)primarily at the wood? Or is it in the layers of paint?
If the wood was originally varnished trim, and not painted till much later, that would somewhat decrease the chances the paint is lead. It's worth testing (easy,cheap) just to know.

ToolSeeker 06-06-2013 09:29 AM

And if the varnish was not prepped right could explain some of problem. Really looks like first coat didn't bond well in places and the last coat didn't bond at all. The first could be because of the varnish if they used oil based paint and primer for first coat that may be why most of it bonded. Then the last coat looks like latex over oil without prep. Maybe I'm just not seeing it but it looks like no primer on the last coat.

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