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Paint Peeling Off Interior Trim: How to Fix

  • Transcript

    John in Kentucky is on the line with a trim question. What’s going on?

    JOHN: Well, I have got a house that was built in the 70s and it had really dark, varnished trim on it. And the guy that sold me the house – I guess when he decided to put it up on the market, he just painted all the trim white. And I think he just put one coat of latex on it or something.

    The problem with it is if you brush up against it, the paint peels off of it. And I’m exaggerating a little bit but when we’re moving stuff from room to room or something like that, yeah, you just barely touch it with something and it …

    LESLIE: Probably didn’t sand it or anything.

    JOHN: Right. He just made – because real estate agents will tell you to paint everything white.

    TOM: Yeah. But it’s probably – it’s like trying to paint over Teflon, John. When you don’t – it’s too smooth and it didn’t – wasn’t going to really bite. So what you have to do is really strip it off completely. You have to take off the old paint, you have to sand down into that varnish coat a bit to rough it up. And then what you have to do is prime it.

    The primer is very important, because the primer is going to be the glue that sort of makes the paint stick. It will adhere well to the old varnish and as well to the paint and that’s going to make the difference on giving this new paint some durability.

    JOHN: Yeah. Well, see, that’s what I don’t want to do, because it’s all the trim in the house.

    TOM: Right, OK.

    JOHN: And I can’t go and sand and strip all that. So what I was hoping could be done is – if there’s like a heavy enamel paint or something that would be tougher and wouldn’t scratch off as much?

    TOM: No, because you have a layer in there that’s not adhering to the substrate which, in this case, is the original trim. So anything that you put over that is only going to be as strong as the first layer that was on it and that’s not sticking. So I would not make the problem worse by putting another paint on top of that. It’s just not going to work.

    JOHN: OK. Thank you for your help.

    TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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