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amakarevic 12-09-2011 10:31 AM

removal of multiple paint layers from wood
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my house is 102 yrs old and i have 2 beautiful wooden doorways that seem to have been painted over a zillion times by the lazy douchebag who owned the house before me. i want to strip all the paint and expose the original wood with maybe some stain and lacquer. was wondering what the best product would be for removing the paint. i understand i will have to go over with Dremel afterwards to do the detailing.

thanks. see picture attached.

Brushjockey 12-09-2011 11:01 AM

Do you know what the wood is underneath?
Often I have see people jump into a massive project like this only to find fir or even maple can sometimes not be that great.
There is a product called Peel away that strips well and is fairly easy to use. Go to a real paint store- they will have it.
It comes for different applications- so ask at store.

amakarevic 12-09-2011 11:27 AM

I'm sure it will look good, at least with some stain. if not, in the worst case, i can repaint it and have ONLY ONE LAYER OF PAINT, which always looks better than lazy overpainting... which i'd be punishing with guillotine

my house is like a 20th century architecture museum. the older things are, the better and more solid they are, as they were not so mass produced like after baby boomers were born and this country started needing everything el cheapo.

some exceptions to that rule are drywall vs. plaster and copper vs. galvanized pipe. but everything else, especially brick work and woodwork was better back then, people used to build more sturdy and to last.

housepaintingny 12-09-2011 02:37 PM

Peel Away Smart Strip Paint Stripper, can be found at Sherwin Williams

Skuce 01-19-2012 01:57 PM

A variable temp heat gun on the lowest setting a a clean putty knife.

Warm the paint "just" enough that it begins to delaminate off the original lac or varnish finish. Then get under it with a putty knife and lift it off.
Start on a side that you don't care about as much until you get used to the timing of it all. Too much and the paint will gum right up. Too little and the paint is still bonded. You should get the hang of it in about a foot or so of trim

If you get lucky you might be able to save the actual original finish!! A wipe with alcohol 'should' clean up the grebbles of paint residue left.

If you want to strip it all right to bare wood and just start over from scratch. Silent Paint Remover and a Richard Scraper are your friends.

joecaption 01-19-2012 02:04 PM

Here the deal, what your going to be removing is lead paint, toxic.
If you plan on staining it then just remove it and install new wood.
It will be at least twice as fast and come out far better with no piant spots left behind that will not cover with stain.
I've proven this dozens of times to customers.
It's always best to prestain the wood before installing or even cutting so you do not get stain on the walls.

Skuce 01-19-2012 02:09 PM

Old Wood > New Tree-Farm Wood

"IF" lead paint is involved (you'd be surprised how many old paints do NOT have lead in them). Either a Wet process (steam or chemical) or a Low Temp process is needed to not put it into an aerosol form to be inhaled. It's not hard to put in lead containment procedures to save Real millwork.

Ironlight 01-19-2012 02:20 PM

I'm a huge proponent of saving the original millwork. Yes it takes more time but it preserves the character of the house. I was lucky when I moved into our current house from 1925. The previous owner had been in it for over 50 years and he saved ever piece of moulding and trim that he had ever removed for some minor renovations he had done.

I have used both heat guns and chemical strippers to do this sort of work and I think they both have their advantages. Skuce is right about heat that if you get it down and the paint layers cooperate, you can find yourself zip through it pretty quickly. Downside is that if you have lots of detail you have to be careful not to burn the wood. I would generally leave the heat approach to someone who really knows what they are doing.

Chemical stripping is relatively easy and straightforward and you can let time work for you. It's the method that I now use except when i have a broad flat expanse of paint that the heatgun will make short and easy work of. Lately I've been using citrustrip and I really like fumes, it's quick and effective, and washes off with mineral spirits.

All this said, this IS a lot of work and once you start you're committed. And think about whether your doorway is then going to sit well with your trim and other details such as the tin ceiling you have there.

Whichever way you go, invest in a contour scraper kit. It will pay for themselves in terms of time and aggravation in short order.

amakarevic 01-19-2012 02:39 PM

Ironlight, is that Tony Blair smoking a cigar?

Skuce 01-19-2012 02:42 PM

That's the crazy general from Dr. Strangelove!

joecaption 01-19-2012 06:42 PM

Come on people look at the picture. It's 1 X 6 flat pine with knot holes and what looks like base board for casing.
(hard to say from that picture)
It's not some fancy classic worth saving trim.
Remove it and install the correct trim.

Ironlight 01-19-2012 08:49 PM


Originally Posted by joecaption (Post 828258)
Come on people look at the picture. It's 1 X 6 flat pine with knot holes and what looks like base board for casing.
(hard to say from that picture)
It's not some fancy classic worth saving trim.
Remove it and install the correct trim.

That is completely beside the point and if you don't get it, you don't get it.

We all get that it would be 20x easier to rip it off and replace with new. But then it would be new. He doesn't want new. He wants his 100 year old doorway. Don't chide him for finding that rewarding.

And Ama, it's Col. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove:

Jay 78 01-19-2012 09:28 PM


Originally Posted by joecaption (Post 827977)
If you plan on staining it then just remove it and install new wood.


Originally Posted by joecaption (Post 828258)
It's not some fancy classic worth saving trim.

This is exactly what I was thinking.

Originally Posted by Ironlight (Post 828385)
That is completely beside the point and if you don't get it, you don't get it.

I guess I don't get it, either. All I see is flat pieces of wood, same as a million different doorways from any era. Replacing it with fresh wood will not affect the look in any way. Why make the job way harder than it needs to be just to say the doorway is original wood?

I get where you're coming from, it's the same thinking I had when I decided I wanted to keep all my old wood interior doors with clear glass knobs (or whatever material it is) and 'keyholes'. That's vintage stuff you can't just go pluck off the shelf at LowesDepot.

Big difference between that and a plain wood doorway, though.

mgp roofing 01-20-2012 01:52 AM

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The best method is the Coopers Restoration system, it removes ALL of the paint both on and in the wood without damage, in most cases you don't even need to sand the wood afterwards. I'm not sure if its available in your area, the website is
Here's a pic of a window I am restoring using this system.

amakarevic 01-01-2013 05:10 PM

What does everyone think of using Peel Away 1 for this particular application?

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