I know, I know. Bad joke. But come on, when writing a blog post about stripping paint, there has to be a few pauses for dramatic effect. :) Oh and if you reached this post by typing in "how to strip" my apologies, unless you are also doing home renovations!
So we're hanging out in the guest bedroom right now trying to get it all fixed up so those that do come out to visit us do not have to hang out in a pink room with yucky old wallpaper. Take a jaunt back to 2009 when we tried to clean it up a little for my brother and sister-in-law to stay in for their 10th wedding anniversary. Can't believe that was FOUR years ago!
After we removed the wallpaper we had to decide what to do with the trim. Sand? Strip? Replace? I was going to try options 1 and 2 before going with replacing because...well I'm cheap for one, and replacing and cutting trim is a PITA. Seriously.
I tried a stripper first and it worked great!! It's a nasty nasty job, but I stuck with it and all of the trim is cleaned and ready to paint, no replacing needed!
To strip what is likely multiple layers of paint off your trim (if there is only one layer I suggest sanding) you'll need:
- Heavy gloves
- Stripper (there are many options including some that are a little less toxic but not as effective such as "Citristrip")
- Cheap CHEAP paint brush
- Metal container for stripper
- Metal scraper (not pictured)
- Wide painters tape (not pictured)
- First OPEN A WINDOW AND GET A FAN!! You need to do this in a well ventilated area. Next, protect your floor! Because our flooring is hardwood that will need to be refinished I was careful and put down painters tape, but I didn't have to be TOO careful. If you have nice flooring or carpet you'll need to do more than this. Like taping down a plastic painter's tarp or putting down some butcher paper.
- Next, put on your gloves, pour the stripper into the metal canister and use your CHEAP brush to start applying the stripper to the trim. You should start seeing immediate results like this:
The instructions on the stripper say to spread on in one direction. I would make one change to that and say "glop on" in one direction. The more you apply the better it works. I did one wall at a time, doing the entire room would be too much at one time.
- Let set for at least 15 minutes. REALLY LEAVE IT!! The longer you can wait the better. When you go back it should be looking like this:
If you go in and there are spots that haven't bubbled or crinkled like this:
Go ahead and reapply some stripper to that spot and wait a few more minutes.
- Now comes the messy part, scraping. The stripper essentially liquifies the paint again so it will get all over you and everything if you're not careful. I used a paper bag to put the scrapings into. Put your gloves back on, grab your metal scraper and start at one edge. Hold your scraper at about a 45 degree angle and push with medium strength.
(I realize I'm not wearing gloves in these pictures, I learned my lesson running out yelling "it burns!!" when some a stripper/paint glob fell on my hand. WEAR GLOVES!)
- Lather, rinse, repeat. Unless you are planning on staining the wood, DO NOT try and get down to bare wood. This will end up in injuries and gouges to your wood. Aim for the first layer of paint and plan on doing more than one pass at the stripping. Nicole Curtis on HGTV said once to plan on doing a layer of stripper for every layer of paint. I didn't have to do quite that much, but it made me feel better about doing two passes and not getting it all on the first try.
The trim on the right has been stripped and scraped twice and on the left once. After you've gotten most of the paint off let it dry for a day and then sand down the paint that is left to make it smooth for repainting. You cannot do it the same day because the paint that is left is still kind of soft thus it will clog up your sandpaper and not get smooth.
I cannot emphasize that this is a yucky job and tedious job. I did it over a course of 3 or 4 days because it was just too much to do it all in one day. But now that it's done I'm super happy that we saved the trim!