Strip, Prime and Paint Old Walls
LESLIE: Next up, a painting question from Edwin in Georgia.
Edwin, what are you working on?
EDWIN: Hey, Leslie. I’m working on painting my room. And I had painted this room a year ago and I had some – I started looking at the paint and I saw some cracking all the way throughout the paint. And I was just wondering – I never get the latex on oil or oil on latex correct. I was wondering if you could help me out with that.
LESLIE: Well, latex on oil is OK if it’s matte and it’s a primer, correct?
TOM: But what concerns me about what you’re saying, Edwin, is that you have cracking through this paint. Are there a lot of layers of paint on this?
EDWIN: This wall is probably 50 years old.
TOM: You know, what happens sometimes is when you get like that one-too-many layer of paint, the original layers don’t have any adhesion anymore and you start to peel it off in really, really bad chunks.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) So that’s actually pulling away.
TOM: And it might be that you’re getting to that number of layers. I mean in 50 years if you got painted every five years, that’s ten coats of paint. That’s a lot of paint.
LESLIE: (chuckles) And the room is probably an inch smaller all around.
TOM: (chuckling) Exactly, exactly.
EDWIN: (laughing) Yeah, it could easily be an inch smaller. That’s funny.
TOM: So if you’re feeling lucky, what you could do is prime everything and start again.
TOM: But if you get cracking after that, it’s time to strip the paint. And that’s a boatload of work but when you get to too many layers of paint, that’s the only thing that you can really do.
EDWIN: Yeah. And I knew I needed to pay attention to it before the cracks got big. I mean it seems like it was getting worse and worse and since I’d only painted a year ago, I knew that that’s not the right – that’s not good for that to be happening so soon.
Let me ask you this. If I was to peel the paint, how could I do it? What’d be the best way?
TOM: Well, you’d need a paint stripper to do that. You’ll need a good-quality paint stripper and you have to roll that paint stripper on and you have to let it sit for a while and then you have to let it do its job and then you have to peel it off.
TOM: Yeah. It’s a lot of work.
LESLIE: Make sure you seal off that room from the rest of the rooms in the house; otherwise, that mess is going to expand.
TOM: The cracks that you’re seeing, are they cracks in the paint or are they cracks in the walls and ceilings under the paint?
EDWIN: It looks like it’s a crack in the paint.
TOM: Yeah. Did you prime it the first time?
TOM: Ah. Well, why don’t you try that – it’s probably worth the primer step – and see how it goes. But if it still continues to crack, then I think it’s time to think about stripping the paint.
EDWIN: Alright, I think I’ll do that. Plus it’s easier just to apply the primer and one more coat of paint than to start stripping, so I’ll save stripping for last. (chuckles)
TOM: Absolutely. That’s the last resort. I agree. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Lots of questions about paint.
LESLIE: Lots of people are thinking about redecorating, so that’s good. We’re making an influence on people.
TOM: We’re making a dent. Alright.
LESLIE: That’s good.
TOM: But not a crack; just a dent. (both chuckle)
Edwin, thanks again for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?