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How to Strip Sticky, Dirty Paint

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Anna in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    ANNA: Well, I have a problem with a painted banister. We have a white staircase – white banister – painted and after a while, we’ve been cleaning it and it gets a lot of dirt into the paint and the paint has become sticky. I need to know what to maybe seal it with or some suggestion.

    TOM: Well, at this point, if you’ve gotten kind of a sticky mess on your hands, there is no sealing. You’re going to have to go back to the …

    LESLIE: Yeah, you’ve worn through the finish.

    TOM: Right. You’re going to have to go back to the raw wood and get as much of that old paint off as possible. So I would use a paint stripper first. There’s a pretty good product called Rock Miracle that we like, that does a good job. Get as much of that paint off as you possibly can, then use a good-quality primer – oil-based is best – and go up from there. There’s nothing at this point – if you’ve got a goopy, sticky, yucky surface – that you should put on top of that. It’s only going to make the matters worse, Anna.

    ANNA: It’s not (audio gap), it’s more just sticky and it gets grime into it. It’s the only thing I can tell you.

    TOM: Yeah. Right. And …

    ANNA: I was hoping I could maybe save it but it’s an awful lot of stripping.

    TOM: Yeah, I understand that. But the problem is that anything you put on top of that is just going to make it worse right now. When the paint gets to be that – in that kind of condition, you’ve got to really start taking off some layers. You may not have to go down to raw wood but you’ve certainly got to get off the upper couple of layers and go from there.

    ANNA: Oh, OK. Alright. Well, was hoping you had a magic but …

    TOM: Sometimes we do but not always. Sometimes, the only magic is the hard elbow grease that has to go into a project.

    ANNA: OK. And what kind of paint would you suggest? An oil-base, I know that.

    TOM: Well, for priming, yeah. Just an oil-based primer. At least you get better adhesion with it.

    LESLIE: And then it’s better to use a glossy finish, because anything with a glossy finish has more layers of that finish in it to achieve that high gloss or a semi-gloss. And then it’s more cleanable or easily wipeable.

    ANNA: OK. Alright. Thanks so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Anna. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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