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water_cutter101 05-07-2008 02:21 PM

OLD Paint Removal on Interior Doors
Hi All,

I have a old house with beatiful doors that we want to keep, but they have layers upon layers of old paint on them (probably lead paint too).

We want to have the paint removed. I got one quote for $300 per door, but I could basically buy new doors for that and nice ones too.

We don't want to sand and release the dust into the air, but is it reasonable to use a heat gun and get the old paint to soften up and peel off with a putty knife??

Has anyone tried this before? Or does someone know a reasonable paint removal place in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada.


bofusmosby 05-07-2008 06:20 PM

I would remove the door, lay it down, and used some liquid paint stripper. It may take a while, and you may have to use a number of coats to do the job, but in the end, it will be worth it. I had to do the same a few years back. After leaving the stripper on a while, I had to remove the "lifted" paint, then put on another layer of stripper. I used a putty knife to remove the paint. Don't be in a hurry, because the wood fibers will start to get soft, and it will be easy to split, or gouge the wood. The only sanding I had to do was at the end, and this was done very gently by hand. BTW, make sure the wood has dried good before sanding. As far as a heat gun goes, I have never used one, but would be curious as to how well it does the job.

slickshift 05-07-2008 08:46 PM

*Lead Paint***
Unless testing proves otherwise, these doors must be considered a lead hazard
Those old paints, especially the gloss ones used on doors, could, and often do, contain lead

It is absolutely not safe to sand, scrape, media blast, use methylene chloride, propane torch or heat gun that operates over 700* F on these doors

It is best to bring them to a stripper

Even if they weren't on the short list for lead, I would still suggest bring them to a pro

Stripping is a horrid, messy, incredibly time consuming job which ultimately, after multiple attempts with multiple hazardous chemicals, could simply leave you with and even bigger mess of half stripped doors now covered with non-removable old paint goo, and buckets full of removed glop that is considered hazardous waste...even w/o the lead

bofusmosby 05-07-2008 09:32 PM

I agree that the best way is to have them professionally stripped, but due to finances, these are things I have to do myself. However, when using a chemical stripper, there would be no lead dust to contend with, and unless it is ingested, would not pose a health hazard, as long as all paint were collected, and disposed of properly. As far as sanding goes, I was referring to a light hand sanding AFTER the paint was removed. As far as scraping them, when the wood is saturated with the stripper, there would be no danger of lead dust.

That being said, I completely agree about the time involved, and the BIG mess to contend with. I know if I had the money avaliable to pay for the job, I would have rather hired a pro to do this. My answer given was because this is a DIY forum, so I simply answered with a DIY answer. I do feel however, that the original doors should be saved if at all possible. They add to the historic charactor of the house, and are probably made better than most doors that are made today...not all, but most.

Slickshift, I do not claim to be a pro at this, so please excuse my ignorance, but if you would please explain why you say it is not safe to use a chemical stripper on lead paint. Is it the chemical itself, or are you referring to it being used on lead paint. I understand that using a chemical stripper can be a problem, simply because of the chemicals being used, but what is the problem when using this on lead paint? I am having to remove all the lead paint on the exterior of my house, and have read a considerable about on this subject before I ever started. I will never claim to know everything, so if you could explain, I, along with many others I am sure, would like to know this.

Leah Frances 05-08-2008 03:20 PM

I've stripped one old door chemically. What a mess. The next 13 are going to get done with an IR stripper.

Lead Paint = Bad. Don't eat it, wear an approved breathing device. Don't work with it in your living space. For gods-sake don't sand it or use a high temp heat gun. Don't wear your paint stripping clothes outside of your work area. But the single most important thing you can do while removing it is to Wash Your Hands after working with old paint. A simple and cheap way to keep you and your family safe.

slickshift 05-08-2008 08:27 PM

It's not a great DIY project anyway, but it's the lead
You still need to use all the haz-mat precautions when using a chemical stripper on lead paint
Suit, respo, clean room, etc...
It's only slightly safer than sanding
With some strippers, like those that contain methylene chloride, it's just as bad or even a worse hazard

RDS 05-09-2008 12:44 PM


Originally Posted by Leah Frances (Post 121850)
I've stripped one old door chemically. What a mess. The next 13 are going to get done with an IR stripper.

Curious: What's an IR stripper? In my worlds those initials stand for either "infrared" or "international relations", but neither one of those seems likely...:)

slickshift 05-09-2008 05:32 PM

Infrared strippers are used for safer lead paint removal
They work well
A little slow perhaps, but much safer than pretty much any other method
They are not cheap, however
One would have to do a few houses a year to make it worth the investment

This is not the brand I'm familiar with, but it's similar
Basically they all work the same
The stripper must sit over each spot for a while, that's why they have those attachments to hold it
It gets rather heavy rather quickly

bofusmosby 05-09-2008 05:59 PM

I appreciate the info and link slickshift. I have been seeing these for a little while, and wondering if this would be better that what I am using. I am using the "paint-shaver" with the paint going into a HEPA vac. Virtually no dust, but at the edges is a different story. There are limitations. I wonder, once the IR remover has heated the paint (and wood) how much time do you have to remove the paint? Looks like you only would have a few seconds before it would harden up again. Hmmm, not you got me a thinkin.

slickshift 05-09-2008 09:51 PM

You are correct about the "working" time, but I have not used one in the field for an accurate assessment (demos are one thing...real world another)
It certainly seems to have potential inasmuchas a total strip of a house is often the best course of action, and is excruciatingly messy (chips and dust)

I'm not sure how much time it saves in actual stripping, as the going is slow with these things
(the vid doesn't show 5 minutes of the tool sitting in one
But I'd think it would

I'd say the time in clean-up would absolutely be reduced

Then of course there's the lead does look promising for that

If I had more total strips lined up I would probably consider investing in one
Well...obviously I've looked into I'd say I'm considering investing in one
But total strips are something I try and avoid really...not fun

bofusmosby 05-10-2008 07:30 AM

Yea, I know what you mean. The house I am removing the paint on (my house) is my avitar. As you can see, I have one heck of a job in front of me. The paint shaver I am using does a great job, but as I stated before, it can't get into every nook and cranney. I am considering the IR remover on thesae spots the paint shaver can't get to. Any way I look at it, its a huge job. There are just soo many layers of paint, I have no choice. What kind of prices have you seen on the IR paint removers? Probably out of my budget, at least the prices on some of the ones I have seen advertised are.

Leah Frances 05-10-2008 05:22 PM

There are two competing models out there that I know of: Silent Paint remover and eco-strip. Range in price $400-$700. DIYers also make their own. I am going to buy one of the silent paint removers this month and I will let you know how I like it.

Check out this guy's site re: paint stripping
It's a great informative site.

slickshift 05-10-2008 08:17 PM

Although the one I was looking at (
technically is about 400 USD for the actual unit, realistically you need the attachments
That thing is just too heavy to hold hovering over siding all day
Even cherry picking the attachments a la carte, I couldn't see getting an reasonably well operating system going for less than 1200

bofusmosby 05-10-2008 09:41 PM

Well, I guess thats out of my budget. You are correct about the weight. You can see in the videos that this thing is not really light weight. The brackets for holding it are a MUST I believe.

slickshift 05-10-2008 09:46 PM

That was what I concluded
At least some, if not most, of the big guys would be needed
And the whole $2K kit wasn't a bad idea

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