Stripping Paint on Molding
LESLIE: Margaret in Virginia needs some help with an older home and some molding that has been cracked, I guess. Tell us what’s going on, Margaret.MARGARET: The molding, the wood itself, is not cracked; it’s the finish on it that has that crackle effect.LESLIE: (overlapping voices) OK. Oh, OK.TOM: Ah, you mean the varnish or the polyurethane.MARGARET: Well, I don’t think so, from the age. It’s either varnish or shellac.TOM: Yeah, exactly. So, you’re going to have to do a stripping project here, Margaret.MARGARET: Aagh. (Leslie chuckles) Didn’t want to hear that.TOM: Yeah. Yep. Well, there’s no way to repair it. Basically, what you’re seeing here is deterioration of the surface and, you know, considering the age of the finish, it gets exposed to daylight over many, many years and, you know, with everything that’s in the air and the UV degradation that comes in through the windows and all of that, you know, it’s going to crack and deteriorate. And so, at some point you’ve got to cry Uncle here and get back to the basics. So it is a big project. You are going to have to do some stripping. But you know, it’s not impossible; it’s done all the time. It’s just very time-consuming. I think the key here is to break it up into smaller chunks and not try to tackle too much at the same time.How much of the molding do we have to do?MARGARET: There is a living room, which has two windows and three doors.LESLIE: Hmm.MARGARET: And all the baseboard. A front hall, which has a door.TOM: Oh, boy. I thought you were done but you continue.MARGARET: And a hall.TOM: Yeah.MARGARET: And a – what we call the family room.TOM: Wow. Yeah.MARGARET: So like it’s like a parlor and a sitting room sort of situation.LESLIE: Now Margaret, there are a lot of restoration companies that are out there that will actually come in and remove the pieces of molding, take them to their shop and work on them. Of course, then you’re going to be left with an opening around windows that might be some sort of an energy issue. But then at least somebody else would be doing it for you.MARGARET: Ugh. Right, at a great cost, I’ll bet you. (Tom chuckles)LESLIE: It can be.TOM: Yeah, of course.MARGARET: Yeah. OK. Well, can you suggest any products, if my family and I decide to try to do this ourselves?LESLIE: There are several different kinds. I mean there’s some that you spray on; there are some that you brush on; there are some that are like a putty. You’re really going to have to find the right one for the job and actually let it sit there and do its work. One I’ve used is Rock Miracle. I don’t know how effective it is with older finishes.MARGARET: OK.TOM: Yeah, this is really a situation that you’re going to have to experiment.MARGARET: Oh, OK.TOM: Some are really caustic and some are not so caustic. Leslie’s had good experience with Rock Miracle. It’s a case where – situation where you’re going to have to – I would start in an area where it’s not very noticeable; the back of a door or something like that. And it’s definitely worth taking some time and sort of practicing with a couple of different products til you find one that seems to work really well for you.