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  •  paint stripping is not fun (9+ / 0-)

    I've used the nasty and toxic methylchlorene based strippers. They work, they smell and I will probably drop dead eventually for all the years I used them without taking any precautions whatsoever to protect myself from them. Who knew that all the cancer inducing crap went right through the skin? Not this fool.

    I have also used the "Safer" type paste/gel versions, which take longer, requires patience and probably won't kill the cat. When I miss the old nasty methyl version, I take a deep breath and reapply. One thing that isn't mentioned is that the non-toxic scents can actually be more of an irritant to asthma folks (and others) than the more volatile smells.  The stuff with orange smell I have found to be especially wheeze inducing.

    The thing that I would probably suggest  that you try would be the very basic version of Peel Away . This kind of product works especially well on textured or incised detail. It's pricey, but the convenience of having a paint stripper that is easy to control in a finished space is hard to beat. The stripper and paint literally peels off attached to the plasticized paper and can be jammed into a trash bag and out the door fast.

    "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser." Mother Jones

    by histopresto on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:48:39 AM PST

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    •  By the way- if that wasn't latex... (9+ / 0-)

      I would recommend that you just go buy an infrared paint remover.  They work like gangbusters on old crappy paint, especially oil based, but not so good on latex and varnishes.  

      What does work on latex finishes is the newer home brew steam stripper method. However, for french doors or windows that really takes some practice because you can break the glass without too much effort.  Basically, there's some historic preservation types out there who have done some really good work to customize the use of high powered commercial fabric steamers. You use the tools that come with shop vacs to direct the steam to your particular profile and get it soft enough to scrape off.  It works and it requires no toxic products, but its probably more than most folks would want to take on for a small job.

      "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser." Mother Jones

      by histopresto on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:58:38 AM PST

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    •  Thanks for the info, both of you... (7+ / 0-)

      julep and presto. Heat gun would probably do a huge part, since some of it is "loose" anyway.

      I tried a small (expensive!) can of the "natural" stuff on the fireplace mantel and it took a whole day and a whole can to remove about a 6" x 6" square. Not gonna use it again... And I think that was the one that smelled like a rotting orange grove.

      Looks like it's going to be elbow grease and some Peel Away in the corners and on the pediments over the doors for me. I may take the French doors down and drag them outside, and use the traditional strippers there.

      Thanks!!!  :-)

      Everyone, rich or poor, deserves a shelter for the soul. -- Sam Mockbee ~~~For handmade silver jewelry, click here.~~~

      by Lorinda Pike on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 09:03:15 AM PST

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      •  My best paint removal tool? (9+ / 0-)

        That would be the antique and highly prized Tupperware orange peeler that my mom got as a door prize in about 1978. Works like a charm.

        The steam stripper method is the one that I'm dying to try out. I took a class from the guy that's popularizing that method for HP folks and it was remarkable. After spending a couple of years working at the mall steaming clothes for retail, there's some irony here 20 years later in pulling out that damned steamer again for a more worthwhile use. It does work great though- if you wanna see. go google for video from John Leeke.

        "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser." Mother Jones

        by histopresto on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 09:08:02 AM PST

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      •  That heat gun? Should work, but be careful inside (6+ / 0-)

        The thing about using a heat gun or plate is that lead vaporizes at a relatively low temperature. Propane torches, the old guy's best paint stripping pal, do get hot enough to vaporize lead.  My dad stripped with those a lot, but mercifully for us, he did it outside.

        If that bottom layer or two of paint is lead, then keep in mind that some guns and heat plates can occasionally get hot enough to vaporize lead. Buy a new one, not used, and if you haven't tested the paint in a couple of spots, just assume that it's probably partially lead-based given the age of your house. Then take the precautions you would if you were dealing with lead if you don't do some testing.

        Not sure where you live, but there are some city and county health departments that will come do it for you with XRF machines.  The swab kits that you can buy don't tell you how much lead is present. For friction areas like doors or windows, the presence of lead alone may be enough to make up your mind on the safest methods to use.

        "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser." Mother Jones

        by histopresto on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 09:56:41 AM PST

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        •  Oh yes, bottom layers (at the very least) (5+ / 0-)

          are lead. And there are probably more than 3-4 layers. It's really thick in places, but that makes it much easier to chip off. That's also the reason that I am trying to scrape in chunks rather than sand, even with a mask. Chips are easier to deal with than dust!

          I'm not even sure I want to remove the original dark layers when I finally get there - maybe just even it up, and give it a rubbed finish or something like that. It's beautiful, at least to me; nice and old-rich looking. So much more in keeping with the style of the house.

          I use a torch on a regular basis (have several, from small to great-god-almighty) and I don't think I would even attempt to use one to remove paint. I'd burn the house down...

          Do like the steamer idea though. I'll look up the method. Thanks!

          Everyone, rich or poor, deserves a shelter for the soul. -- Sam Mockbee ~~~For handmade silver jewelry, click here.~~~

          by Lorinda Pike on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 10:18:18 AM PST

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          •  IR or steamer should work great then (5+ / 0-)

            The thing that you can't really get until you see these things in action is how damn easy paint stripping becomes. No digging into the wood, no chipping away- it just comes off wood like the skin off a big bowl of pudding. The older and crappier the paint, the easier it works (not milk based or varnish though).

            The investment in equipment is a couple of hundred bucks, but the time you save is incredible. And it cleans up easy, especially if you want to do it while the stuff is in place. You just have to NOT break glass with heat sources. Figure out how to shield your french doors before you start, but the steam method and IR can even soften up old window putty so you can re-do that too while you're at it.

            "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser." Mother Jones

            by histopresto on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 12:59:41 PM PST

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            •  This is waaay late, but... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              histopresto, boatgeek

              My house is 100 years+. To re-sell (or even re-insure it) I need a lead-certification. Bought as a foreclosure, didn't get one when I bought it; currnet MA law says lead has to not only be fully removed up to 6 ft, but now fully gone period.

              Do you think an IR would be able to take off the ancient lead pain without disturbing horsehair plaster? It sounds like you have some experience with this one. If I ask for a lead-cert and doesn't pass, it could be literally thousands of dollars to rectify to State standards. If there is a way to bring a century-old house to modern code without breaking the bank, that would be best.

              Thanks in advance (if not late for this roll!).

              "The less time you have, the more you need to use it wisely." - Cpt. Avatar, Starblazers

              by DeathDlr73 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:55:42 PM PST

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              •  Mass is not my state, so can't help too much (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                But- I am betting that there's an interim degree of protection that can be used to meet the requirements. It's literally not possible to make a historic home lead free without gutting it and that's an extraordinary level of action to force a homeowner to take. More to the point, that level of action would tend to make more nasty stuff fly around the house than would occur by just leaving it in place with interim control measures.

                I have used the IR method on significant wood trim and windows/doors, but the more typical treatment for flat plaster surfaces is to either 1) use an approved lead encapsulant paint (for surface-intact plaster) or 2)to pull the trim/casings, enclose the wall with dry wall (because that's an interim measure that typically ensures the stability of the material) and then reattach the trim/casings.  The most critical areas to make close to lead free as possible are surfaces that experience friction in daily use- i.e. windows and doors, flooring, wood cabinets, etc. That's where lead dust and chips are the biggest hazard and should be as close to fully remediated as possible.

                In Ohio, the state health department actually publishes a list of approved lead encapsulant paints. This is something you're going to have to start calling around your own state about, because it sounds like a state policy measure that will have its own guidance and hopefully some friendly bureaucrats to help explain it.  Also- try calling the Massachusetts Historical Commission and ask for a staff member who works with residential rehabs. They may be able to give you some advice about dealing with this issue to meet your state codes while preserving your lovely plaster.

                Locally, you may also have historic preservation professionals in your community's government that can help, particularly if your home is located in a historic district. They would likely be reviewing your rehab under local architectural board of review or landmark commission regs anyway.

                Finally, take a look at the HUD residential lead safety guidance online. Their standards got upgraded recently and not too many states are going to go beyond that level of protection.

                "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser." Mother Jones

                by histopresto on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 11:18:49 AM PST

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