When the days are warmer and dryer it's the perfect time to tackle unsightly exterior window frames and doors. Woodwork is often overlooked when undertaking home DIY projects, but it is the wood that provides the finishing touches to your home. Flaking, chipped or poorly painted wood can contribute to a general feeling of neglect, while bright, well-painted wood can really add to kerb appeal.
In this series, we take a closer look at how to treat wood so that it stays looking its best for longer. The series will cover: Stripping Wood; Covering Old Paint; and Priming and Filling Wood.
The key to a good finish to wood is preparation. Sometimes it is possible to achieve a good finish by painting over existing paint (keep an eye out for our next blog), but often, the best way to get a high-quality finish is to strip the existing paint. If the existing paint is so bad that you can’t paint over it, or if you want a natural wood finish, then the best course of action is to strip the existing paint. Before you start, make sure that the paint isn’t lead-based (this is only likely in older properties). Lead-based paint can be harmful if sanded or removed using a heat gun.
Using A Heat Gun
This is the quickest and least hard work approach to stripping wood paint, but safety is essential. Make sure that you wear goggles, heat gloves and a mask and ensure that you never hold the torch to wood for a prolonged period of time. Ensuring that the heat gun is always a few centimetres away from the surface, gently heat the paint until it starts to bubble. At this point, use a shave hook or paint scraper to remove the paint. Once one segment is stripped, move onto the next until your surface is paint-free! This may be one of the easiest methods, but it is still time-consuming so make sure you have plenty of breaks to prevent accidents caused by lapsed concentration.
Using Paint Stripper Solution or Paste
Paint stripper is a serious chemical; if it can strip paint, imagine what it can do to your skin, lungs and eyes. Safety is tantamount, so don’t attempt to do this without goggles, mask and gloves. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on the paint stripper that you are using, but most will follow a similar format: use an old brush to paint a good coating of solution or paste onto your surfaces. Leave until the paint bubbles; this can be anything from 5 minutes to an hour, depending on the stripper application and quality, and the thickness of the paint. Once it bubbles, simply peel it away using a paint stripper and a shave hook. Once all of the paint is removed, clean with white spirit and cold water, or whatever is recommended by the manufacturer.
And, of course, if you are in doubt, why not get in touch with a trusted local decorator for advice and a quote?