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How to Uncover Trim Details That Have Been Disguised By Years of Thick Paint

By September 12, 2019August 24th, 2022No Comments

Older homes and furniture often feature intricate details and fascinating designs in the wood. Over time, multiple layers of thick paint fill in the grooves and carvings making the designs difficult to see.

Why Not Use Other Paint Stripping Methods?

It’s extremely important to take extra care when removing paint from detailed trim. Using the wrong method can damage the surface and completely destroy the details you’re attempting to uncover. This is especially true when dealing with grooves, wood carvings, rosettes, and other intricate designs which are not level surfaces.

Traditional heat guns can scorch wood at their high temperatures resulting in the need to sand away the burned wood before repainting. Even if the wood isn’t scorched, it’s difficult and time-consuming to sand irregular, non-flat surfaces and not to eliminate the designs cut into the wood.

Chemical strippers may require several applications to release all the paint in the curves and crevices. Wet stripper and goopy paint in these irregular surfaces are more difficult to contain and to remove completely. Also, the chemicals, neutralizers, and rinsing water soak into the wood softening it and making it more vulnerable to scraping damage.

How to Strip Paint From Trim Details

Speedheater™  Infrared Paint Removers and specialized scrapers provide safe, quick, and effective methods for removing multiple layers of paint from almost any wood surface. The Speedheater™  uses infrared rays to gently warm paint just to the temperature at which it can be easily scraped away. In addition, infrared heat opens the grain of the wood, brings the natural resins deep in the wood up to the surface, and rejuvenates the old wood. Paint adheres better to wood of this condition.

The goal with the Speedheater™ Method is to heat the full surface only one time and remove the paint from all of the levels. First scrape the deeper surfaces and keep the surface closest to the bulbs covered with paint. If the paint from the higher wood surface is stripped first and reheating is needed to soften the deeper levels for scraping, the top level is already bare wood and may scorch.

What Paint Scraper is Best for Details?

Using the correct paint scraper edge ensures complete removal of existing paint without causing damage to trim details in the wood. When used with SpeedheaterÔ Infrared Paint Removers, the Speedheater™ Paint Scrapers remove years of thick paint quickly and easily. All the scrapers have long ergonomic handles and a laser cut, Swedish steel blades. The Boomerang Scraper is perfect for revealing details covered with layers of paint. The blade of this scraper is shaped like a Boomerang. Its two outside, convex edges form a ½” curve at the bottom making it perfect for narrow grooves in baseboards and window and door trim. The inside, concave edge works well on thin spindles and louvers of shutters. The tips of the blade are 1/8’’ and rounded. They reach into very tight spaces and into carved woodwork details like rosettes and floral designs. Once all the paint is removed, users can either repaint the clean, smooth surface or varnish it to enjoy the natural wood and designs.

Special Considerations

Lead is always a concern when removing paint from older wood. If the top layer was applied recently but one of the lower layers was painted before 1978, you need to take special precautions to protect yourself and the environment from lead exposure.

Lead turns into toxic fumes around 900 degrees Fahrenheit. The Speedheater™  warms paint only to 400-600 degrees Fahrenheit, eliminating the chance of toxic lead fumes. Speedheater™  products create soft paint clumps and reduce the amount of dust and chips left in the environment. While the Speedheater™ Method is safer than other paint removal methods, it’s still important to wear protective gear and properly clean up all paint debris when working with lead paint.

Speedheater™  products ensure fast, clean, and safe paint removal. Please contact us for more information about our paint stripping products.