Steam paint removal - Should it be this difficult?
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kimitchell



Joined: 28 Sep 2014
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:50 pm    Post subject: Steam paint removal - Should it be this difficult? Reply with quote

We recently purchased an 1881 home in Colorado, and I have just begun working on restoration of my first window. The windows in this house have been painted and nailed shut, then further sealed with one-half to a full inch of caulk at every corner and joint! I have removed the upper and lower sashes, then removed the glass panes, and have started working on steam paint removal (using Jiffy steamer and Save America's windows/practical report methods).

Compared to John's video on paint removal, my work seems much more difficult. I have 4-5 layers of paint. I steam for 3 minutes, then with significant elbow grease, I can remove 1-2 layers of paint. 3 more minutes of steaming and scraping gets me down to wood if I'm lucky, but just on >50% of the steamed area 1-2 layers of paint still remain. Plus, it's virtually impossible to avoid wood damage as the grain is quite wet and raised after 6 minutes of steaming.

Is this normal in some window situations? It is very dry in Colorado, so I don't know if this affects old paint strength, but the paint sure seems much stronger than the wood!

Is it OK to leave some old paint in place, or should I use a dry or wet sanding method to remove the last vestiges of paint? It almost seems like I would have less wood damage if I only steamed for 3 minutes, and then sanded the rest of the paint. Any suggestions?

Thanks, Kim[/img]
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Victor



Joined: 07 Aug 2010
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific North West

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I've eventually settled on as the quickest easiest way to remove paint is to first start with a nasty toxic caustic chemical paint remover.

Let it do its job, and basically dry out so all the nasty solvents evaporate. It needs to be dry to minimize potential damage in the next step.

The next step is using infrared heat, (and a hot air gun where necessary) and scrapers to remove the rest of the paint.

Then sandpaper. And prodigious amounts of vacuuming with a hepa vac to minimize lead dust.

It seams old dried out paint is the hardest to scrape. So I've found softening it first seems to help considerably. Then letting the paint remover dry out and scraping with heat to break the bond of the paint to the wood eliminates the mess of entirely using chemical paint removers.
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2944
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kim,

Thanks for getting the book and watching the videos.

After I get the glass out I often switch to another method for paint removal, such as infra-red heat lamp (SpeedHeater) or hot-air gun.

These are both dry-heat methods that soften the paint for easier scraping without the "threading" wood damage that can result in some cases of steam paint removal. They also dry out the wood after steaming out the putty.

Keep at it, after your second or third window you'll know the right combination of methods and pick up on the techniques that make them work well.

If you can, attach some photos of your operations.

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by hammer and hand great works do stand
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2944
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I would have less wood damage if I only steamed for 3 minutes, and then sanded the rest of the paint. Any suggestions?


Yes, this is the way to develop the techniques and skills that will work. Think of an improvement, try it out, judge the results and decide to keep doing it, or try again with something different. This is how we all figure it out.

Report on your results back here and we'll help you through it.

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by hammer and hand great works do stand
by pen and thought best words are wrought
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