Friday, January 13, 2012

Paint Stripping: How Much is Enough?

Sharon has been trying to decide how much paint stripping to do in the master bedroom. She spent another 14+ hours this week carefully going over half the the woodwork in the room, scraping and digging paint out of nooks and crannies.

But there is always the decision about how much is enough. There are some spots that refuse to strip clean without removing the woodwork. The paint is so embedded in the wood the only way to remove it would be to sand down through the upper layers or dig it out, probably noticeably damaging the wood.

We'll probably have to settle for leaving these spots as is and just stain over them.

Hopefully Sharon will have the energy to spend this next week finishing up this room.


  1. The only way to remove all the paint is to dig it out, then you will need to fill it. Since you will need to fill it anyway, just dig out enough for the filler to grab. Your diligence is really paying off — your house is beautiful.

  2. Agreed- you guys are doing a fantastic job. It's very impressive (I'm not worthy!). I always wonder when to say "when." I think it was the 1912 bungalow where they removed what they could and used a different color paint (closer to the final finished color of the wood) to touch-up the remaining paint that was stuck in the crevices. It seemed to work well as a camouflage.

  3. It looks great Sharon! I've always rationalized that if I got all the paint out, somebody might think the trim is new and won't appreciate all the work I've I leave a bit in here and there. :) But like Leslie said, a bit of tiny touch-up paint works wonders. I even saw this technique on a restoration of a 17th Century home on This Old House. So not only does it work, but it's acceptable in the eyes of restoration folks.

    Good luck and it looks wonderful as always.

  4. your house and works are beautiful.

    a bit late, but for future reference:
    don't sand the woodwork if at all possible; you lose the raised grain patterns from the heartwood and sapwood eroding at different rates through the last 100 years. it WILL come back after sanding... it will just take a few decades! :)

  5. I LOVE your woodwork. Ours is very similar but we no longer have the picture rail. You are doing a great job!

    You are definitely keeping me motivated knowing that it will be worth it in the end! :)