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eddy_money96

Restore Woodwork or Repaint - Unsure of Direction

last month
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Hi,

So, for the last 2.5 years (can't believe it has been that long) I have been renovating a 1920s duplex in Detroit. I started with no experience and despite doing a lot of work myself things have turned out really well. I finished the lower unit and have it rented and am now living in the upper unit as I work on it. I have most major work completed (90% of bath/kitchen, all floors, etc.) and am starting to get rooms fixed up and painted and am currently focused on one bedroom that will ultimately serve as a lounge/relaxation room for me.


As you can tell from the photos below, I am fortunate the have pretty nice woodwork throughout my house, however unfortunate in the regard that the entirety of the woodwork and doors have been painted over (which I'm sure we all can grieve). In the lower unit, I simply chose to repaint the wood trim white as the integrity of the paint was fairly strong (apart from chips here and there). Upstairs, as you will note in the photos, is a pretty different story. I have noticed in many spots throughout the upper unit that the paint is extremely flaky, and there are many instances where I can easily peel paint off and get back to the original finished woodwork. There appears to be only two layers of paint - one really crummy latex paint on top and a layer (likely) of lead paint on bottom (don't worry, I am taking necessary precaution) that is fairly even. While initially being excited about how easily the paint came off, this has become a two-edge sword:


1) on one hand, the paint comes off extremely easily (it literally flies off) in a lot of spots and the woodwork underneath is truly BEAUTIFUL in spots as you can tell (I believe if I were to re-paint regardless that I would have had to remove this paint given its condition). At one point I felt inspired to remove all the paint and get back to the original woodwork, at which point I would lightly sand and refinish everything without needing to go back to bare wood and re-stain/refinish. Side note: My grandpa had a lot of success with this once upon a time, granted he was using old methlyene chloride the strip the paint, though he never had to go back and re-stain the original woodwork, he simply was able to topcoat it and got beautiful results.





Above are spots where all I did was scrape gently and the paint flew off and examples of the great grain beneath.

2) However, on the other hand, in other spots the paint does not come off that easily. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a few chips/nicks and stuff like that and even using heat guns/etc. it's very time consuming. If both layers of paint come off at the same time, it's not as difficult (which it does in many instances), but when the bottom layer remains it can be very difficult to get off. In some instances, the bottom layer will scrape off easily as well but the finish appears to come off also, which is not ideal if I want to refinish.







So I am kind of getting a little discouraged and stuck as to what direction I should take, and there appears to be to potential options:


- Restore the original woodwork/stick to my original plan. My question is, ss there any realistic option where I remove the paint and can restore the original woodwork/trim without sanding back to bare wood, and if so, what steps are necessary to make it look good? What's the best way to remove paint from the nooks & crannies without damaging wood below? The flat surfaces are pretty easy to remove.

- Bag the woodwork restoration and repaint. If I were to paint over the trim, do I need to remove every layer/piece of paint at this stage in order to get back to a good base to work off of?


As mentioned, I'm 2.5 years into this ordeal and eager to have some more rooms set up on my side of the house. While I love restoration work .... I'm just starting to think that restoring the woodwork may be too tall of a task/time consuming for now, but then again I've gone through all the effort of removing a lot of the old paint on this woodwork and painting back over it feels like a cardinal sin. Regardless, any one with perspective on the best path forward, the true amount of work required in either direction would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much and sorry for this novel smorgasbord of thoughts.

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