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Removing latex over oil paint

4 years ago

Hi everyone,

I have an old home that we purchased from a bank. The bank did some quick sprucing and improvements before they put the home up for sale, but it was all “lowest bidder” quality work. So, they put a fresh coat of white latex paint apparently directly over oil paint on all the trim (and even over glossy poly in some spots). Seems this was all done with no prep work or primer.

The latex layer of paint is now peeling in a number of places, like a bad sunburn. It’s going to have to come off bit by bit so the trim can be repainted properly. But, the trim does have lead-based paint in the lower layers—not the top layer(s) of oil paint though. Because of this, it’s safest to take just the top layer of latex off rather than stripping the woodwork. Sometimes this pulls off pretty easily in long sheets but usually it tears into little shreds.

Does anyone have suggestions for the quickest, most effective way to remove? Sometimes it seems like it helps to spray it with water first, but that might be in my imagination. I haven’t tried a hairdryer, could that help? Looking for any suggestions to make this process less painful.

I so wish the bank had just left the paint as-is so we could have done it right the first time!

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