Where to have interior doors dipped?
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Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 1
Location: South Portland, ME

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:03 am    Post subject: Where to have interior doors dipped? Reply with quote

Just about all the interior doors in my house have many layers of paint and most don't hang or close properly because of this. I also suspect that there is lead paint underneath. Therefore I don't want to strip the paint myself and would prefer to have them "dipped". I've only heard that this service exists, but have been unable to find a place in or near Portland Maine that does this. Can you give me some advice. Thanks
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Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 786
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i am not an advocate of dipping for a number of reasons.....until recently most chemicals were (are) very caustic and sucked every ounce of natural moisture/pitch from the wood...this result is not unlike soaking your hand in a vat of paint thinner and ending up with dry white skin that, if not treated with a moisturizer, will crack and 'fail'...dipping invites the chemicals deep into joints and cracks where rinsing or neutralizing is difficult...

i currently have two interior doors in my shop that have been dipped....paint removal revealed some crazy repairs made to the split panels in the past... the repair included drywall tape and a thick coat of drywall 'mud' to conceal the splits...beneath the areas that had been mudded (the dipping did not remove the mud), the wood was a beautiful rich reddish color and, next to it, the pale whitish color that had been affected by the chemicals...

the chemicals seep into the cells and pores of the wood...without proper neutralization, these chemicals MAY wreak havoc with the finish applied to the doors...the caustic chemicals or 'hot dip' require neutralizing...a 'cold dip' is Ph balanced and does not require neutralizing but should be rinsed and cleaned thoroughly with water...(abide by the manufacturer's instructions)...

if you have the time and/or inclination, you can purchase a product such as SOYGEL or SMART STRIP ($50-$60 a gallon) or some other Ph balanced paint remover and do the work yourself...the gel or paste keeps the lead dust down and confined to your work area...i would suggest leaving the paste on over night and, rather than paying top dollar for the 'special removal paper', cover the door in plastic...this keeps the paste moist and active...for most projects, a second coat of stripper will be required...the first coat should be VERY liberally applied......

i use a heat gun to remove the remaining paint...i wait til the wood is dry as scraping wet wood may result in 'threading' of the wood...my shop is set up for safe removal of lead and i wear a respirator rated for lead--P100 of N100...masks available at most stores are rated at 95, these are not for lead...95 refers to the percentage of protection of particles of a certain micron size...the 100 rating is actually more like 99.7%...but you get the idea.....

and there you have my long winded feedback!
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2980
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Usually doors with heavy paint buildup that causes jamming and lead-health issues do not have to be completely stripped.

The problem is usually where the edge of the door meets the frame of the door, along the jambs, header and threshold. If paint is removed from the dado where there door meets the jamb, and sometimes the hinge-edge of the door that is enough to relieve the jamming.

Sometimes, to make the work look good, all of the paint needs to be removed from the jamb.

In any case, this will cost a lot less than stripping and refinishing the entire door, which might not completely solve the problem. But, it does require a contractor who understands how to do "Lead-Safe" paint removal work in your home.

Steam paint removal methods,


or chemical stripping would be appropriate. Both require good ventilation and Lead-Safe operations.


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