LESLIE: Ross in Wyoming is working on some wrought iron stairs. What can we help you with?
ROSS: Well, we salvaged it out of a school to use in our house and it has a lot of old paint on it and of course there’s a lot of pieces every four inches. And wondering what’s something that we could use; the easiest way to strip that old paint off. And since we have it out in the open, maybe we could spray it with something or pressure wash it or something.
LESLIE: I think the best plan of attack is probably going to be – I mean are the layers so thick that if you sort of scraped away and sanded away the areas that it’s flaking away from and then made it smooth, would you have a big difference in the texture of the surface?
ROSS: Yeah, I think it’s really flaky. I think I’d have to take it all off I think.
TOM: Well, I will say that pressure washers are pretty handy tools for paint strippers when you need to take the paint off of a wrought iron railing. I’ve used a pressure washer to strip paint off a radiator and it worked great; didn’t damage the metal.
LESLIE: Really? It got all of it off?
TOM: Got all of it off; hundred percent.
ROSS: But did you spray it with some solvent or something?
TOM: Nothing. Just the pressure of the water. It’s a little messy, you know, because the water hits it and …
LESLIE: And it goes everywhere.
TOM: It goes everywhere. But it was fun at the same time. That’s why we like using pressure washers. It’s the kind of tool that once you get going, you don’t want to put it down.
LESLIE: And then I think if you – you know, it’s like Tom says. If you’re able to get a lot of it off, then what you would want to do is sand the areas where you still have some residual sort of stickiness of the paint …
TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, exactly.
LESLIE: … just to sort of smooth that edge so that you’re not dealing with a chunk of paint and then new surface; just so you sort of make that transition better.
TOM: But the most important thing is, Ross, when you get that paint off, is to make sure you prime the entire surface again. Don’t just paint on top of it; make sure you prime it. Because once it dries real well, you can prime it; use an oil-based primer. I mean Rust-Oleum is a really good product. Let it dry and then you can put any kind of topcoat you want after that. But you’ve got to prime it because the primer is kind of the adhesive that makes the paint stick.
ROSS: Right. OK. Thanks a lot.
TOM: You’re welcome, Ross. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.