Okay, so time to share another big painting mistake. When we ripped out the carpet in the living and dining rooms to make room for my new painted subfloors, a big gap was left between the bottom of the molding and the floor. We quickly saw that we would need to add shoe molding around the bottom of the existing trim.
But an even bigger problem also became quickly apparent. The paint on the current trim was peeling off – a lot.
When we moved into this house three years ago, the walls were painted dingy pastel colors and all of the trim was painted to match the walls. These rooms were painted bright yellow with yellowish trim. I quickly painted the walls blue and the trim a nice crisp white.
Unfortunately, I didn’t bother to check what kind of paint the trim had been painted with previously – I just got myself a nice can of semi-gloss white paint and blissfully painted away.
Which brings me to the present and the badly peeling paint. If you so much as scratch the trim with your fingernail, the nice white paint peels right off. And that is what led me to realize that I had made a colossal mistake – I painted latex paint over oil-based paint with no primer in between.The latex paint did not really bond to the oil paint at all. Big problem.
I, of course, turned to the knowledge of the world wide web to find solutions to this problem and none of them sound very fun. These are the suggestions I found
- Sand off all of the latex paint and then prime with an oil-based primer and repaint.
- Strip off all of the latex paint using a chemical stripper and then prime with an oil-based primer and repaint.
- Replace all of the trim.
Well, #3 is out for sure. And I’m not a big fan of chemical strippers – especially not in such close proximity to my newly painted floors, so sanding it is. Boooo. After sanding I will use my favorite oil-based primer before repainting.
Now to save you from making this same mistake. Almost all trim in older homes is painted using oil-based paints and a good portion of the trim in newer homes as well. Before you repaint any woodwork, there is an easy test you can do to determine what type of paint was used in your home.
Pour a small amount of denatured alcohol on a rag and gently rub the painted surface. If the paint is softened or color comes off on the rag, it is latex paint. If the paint appears unaffected, it is an oil paint. Be sure to use a dark rag for light paint and vice versa so it will be easy to tell if the paint is coming off on the rag.
Anyone else make this mistake before? Any tips on removing latex paint or other tests to see what kind of paint you are dealing with to begin with?