How To Get Paint Off

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Old 11-05-10, 02:17 PM
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How To Get Paint Off

I pulled up the old rug and found tons of white paint on the hardwood floors. What's the best way to remove it?
 
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Old 11-05-10, 02:41 PM
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Do you know what type of paint it is? Is the wood finished or is it raw wood? How much paint is it?

If it's just splatters here and there you might be able to remove them. Products like 'goof off' and 'oops' work well at removing latex paint. Sometimes carefully scraping them off works best. If it's a lot of paint it would be best to sand and refinish the floor.
 
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Old 11-05-10, 02:41 PM
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If you are planning to keep the hardwood as your floor...then sanding is probably your best option. Drum sander quickest...but best left to a skilled person. They make large random orbital floor sanders that won't gouge...but it would be slow going.

Oops...saw marks post...

Yep..."tons" is kinda relative...I assumed you had paint over most of it. Back in the day..they built houses with local wood..then painted over it. Grew up in a house with mixed maple, walnut, oak and apple floors....gorgeous!
 
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Old 11-05-10, 03:38 PM
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From what I can tell, the walls have only been painted white once, which was about 15 years ago. So I'm assuming it's the latex flat paint that's on the walls. It looks like somebody splashed paint on the walls without caring about drips. The floor next to every wall and about a foot out is pretty well covered. About half of it looks like they tried to wipe it up but just smeared it more.

The floors were finished, but in bad shape. But I think most of the paint is on varnished wood.

If I do end up sanding it, what grit paper would work best?
 
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Old 11-06-10, 03:43 AM
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It's hard to say how much sanding needs to be done without being there to see it. The coarser the sandpaper, the quicker/easier it will remove the paint but if you are only sanding the areas with paint you'll need to be careful not to sand thru the poly and into the stain [if any]. It's also hard to say if you can get by with just sanding those areas or if you need to sand thru all the floor. Since floor poly doesn't lend itself to touch up the whole floor would need sanding and recoating although the main body of the floor might just need a scuff sanding. Sanding the entire floor with a buffer like Vic suggested would be the safest bet. Again the sanding would start with a coarser grit and finished with a fine grit to remove any sanding scratches.
 
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Old 11-07-10, 09:11 PM
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Lillylilly:

Don't sand unless you need to. Both xylene and MEK (methyl ethyl ketone) will remove latex paint from old varnish or polyurethane without significantly harming the underlying varnish or polyurethane. But, I also agree that a sharp paint scraper to scrape off the latex paint is often the best approach.

If either xylene or MEK dull the gloss of your old varnish or polyurethane, you can restore it by simply wiping on some Minwax "Wiping Polyurethane", made for furniture refinishers and available at Home Depot and most home centers.

PS: Post again if you want to know how MEK is related to acetone. Basically, they are chemical cousins. It's not hard to understand, promise.
 
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Old 11-08-10, 10:34 AM
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Thanks for all the tips everyone.

Unfortunately, now I've pulled up the carpet in another room and found a big oily-looking stain. The varnish or whatever it is is worn pretty bad, so it's in the wood. It's about a 3' by 1' area. Can this be cleaned?

I'm not married to the idea of refinishing the wood floors, I could also paint them. Considering there are a few pretty big gouges that will have to be filled, plus the boards are uneven and would take a lot of sanding to get perfectly smooth, plus the oil stain. What would you do? The only thing I won't do is put down more carpet.
 
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Old 11-08-10, 02:10 PM
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I'd either sand and refinish them or lay a laminate over top of them.
 
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Old 11-08-10, 02:37 PM
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Can I put a varnish over the oil stain? Or are you saying sanding will remove it?
 
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Old 11-08-10, 02:39 PM
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My opinion may not work for you, as my thought process would quickly include new carpeting

That said, I'd go to the work of refinishing these floors or put down new carpet
 
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Old 11-08-10, 02:52 PM
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Oil base poly/varnish should adhere to an oil stain providing it's dry but unless the stain covers the entire floor - it won't be pretty. Generally sanding will remove stain, paint and most anything else on the surface of the floor.
 
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Old 11-08-10, 02:55 PM
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Depending on what made the stain, some wood bleach might be in order - sanding often works but there's a limit as to how deep you want to sand
 
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Old 11-08-10, 03:36 PM
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So far, no one has been overly excited about painting the floors. Is that a matter of personal taste, or are there problems with painting them that I'm not aware of?
 
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Old 11-08-10, 04:24 PM
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Painted floors won't look as good as finishes that shows the natural beauty of the wood, in my opinion. You have been given some excellent advice. Drum sanders are not easy to use ( if you decide to go that route) and you can ruin the floor if you don't know what you are doing. I'd pay a pro to do it. The chemical strippers mentioned might work but I'd be real careful about the fumes. Read the labels and follow all safety precautions to the letter. If you have pets, you will need to protect them as well.
 
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Old 11-08-10, 11:37 PM
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I'd never use a paint stripper to remove the Carnauba Wax or polyurethane from a hardwood floor. You use AMMONIA to strip Carnuba Wax off a hardwood floor and a drum sander to remove polyurethane from a hardwood floor.

Real varnish, which is nothing more than unpigmented linseed oil based paint with more copals dissolved in it than would normally be used in paint, was never used on hardwood floors (althought it's possible that a DIY'er coulda done that.) It's a pretty safe bet that you have either Carnauba Wax on your hardwood, or polyurethane, either one, but nothing in between. Polyurethane replaced both Carnauba Wax (which was used on hardwood flooring and was soft enough to respond to polishing with a light weight polisher) and real varnish (which was used exclusively as a clear coat over wooden furniture) in the 1960's. Nowadays we figure people used varnish on hardwood floors just like we use polyurethane on both hardwood floors and furniture, but people in the 1960's didn't think the same way. They used Carnauba Wax on hardwood floors so that the wax could be stripped off and polished to make the floor shine, and varnish on furniture (which was extemely seldom stripped and too hard to respond to "polishing"). It's only since the Bayer company (the same people that make Aspirin) patented the first "urethane modified alkyd" resins (pronounced "polyurethane") in 1956 did we had ONE product that would provide good service both on hardwood floors and furniture. It was Bayer's "urethane modified alkyd" resins (pronounced "polyurethane") that replaced both Carnauba Wax as a floor finish on hardwood floors, and real varnish as a clear coat on wooden furniture as the coating of choice for both purposes. People back in the 50's and 60's woulda never though to use Carnauba Wax on furniture, nor varnsh on hardwood floors. They subsequently learned to use polyurethane on both.

Just thought I'd explain that the liklihood of finding real varnish on a hardwood floor is slim to none, and so stripping off that floor finish with a methylene chloride based paint stripper would only work if the finish was polyurethane. Otherwise you'd use ammonia to remove the Carnauba Wax on the floor. And, it would be faster, cleaner and probably safer to simply sand off the polyurethane with a drum sander.

Painting the floor is only a reasonable option if the paint you use on the floor is as durable as the polyurethane that would be used on that floor if refinished. This means that you have to use a polyurethane floor paint, which is really nothing more than polyurethane hardwood floor finish with pigments added to it to give it colour and opacity. The problem is that most companies that make polyurethane floor paints will offer a very limited selection of colours. You might get: light grey, dark gret, navy blue and reddish brown. Maybe some will also offer chocolate brown.

The reason for this is that the paint tinting machine in your average hardware store has 12 different colourants in it. The carrier fluid in those colourants is glycerine, or more correctly, glycerol, because it's technically an alcohol. Glycerine is used as the carrier fluid in paint colourants because it's equally soluble in both water and mineral spirits, so the same colourants, and hence, same paint tinting machine, can be used to tint both oil based and latex paints. Glycerine is very slow to evaporate, so that if you were to tint your polyurethane floor paint to the colour you wanted, the drying time would depend on the amount of colourant you added when tinting the floor paint to the desired colour. The more colourant added, the longer the drying time, and the longer it would take before you could walk on the floor. Paint companies try to solve this problem by offering pretinted floor paints so that no colourant has to be added to the paint in the store, but the colour selection is extemely limited, as described above. You CAN tint polyurethane floor paints to a different colour by adding colourants from a paint tinting machine, but the more colourant you add, the longer it will take for the floor paint to dry, and the longer you have to wait before you can walk on that floor paint.

Just thought I'd explain the difficulties with simply painting over the existing floor.

Don't even think of painting over the existing floor with a latex paint. Latex paints are too soft to stand up well on a working surface like a shelf, window sill, mantle or least of all, a floor. A latex paint will get embedded with dirt underfoot and you'll soon see the traffic pattern showing by the pattern of dirt embedded in the latex paint on the floor. And that's true even if you use a Porch and Floor "Enamel" paint. (Post again if you want to know what the heck an "enamel" really is, anyway.)

The only paint that would stand up well on a floor would either be a conventional alkyd based polyurethane floor paint, a moisture cured polyurea floor paint or an epoxy floor paint. Painting latex paint onto a floor is a waste of both time and paint, and would just require that one strip off that latex paint and put on something more durable. An alkyd wall paint will work on a floor, but not for very long. You really need good hardness on any paint that's used on a floor, and so real flor paints generally fall into the catagory of "Industrial Coatings" rather than "Architectural Paints".

I agree that stapling down new underpad and stretching new carpet over that hardwood is a feasible option. I'd do that before refinishing the floor if the problems with board height and stains are as described.
 

Last edited by Nestor; 11-09-10 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 11-09-10, 06:02 AM
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No, I would not paint the floors both due to durability issues and the idea I hate to see good wood covered with paint
 
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Old 11-09-10, 08:14 AM
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Hey Nestor, thanks for all the info. I'm afraid I use "varnished" as a catch-all phrase for "shiny wood surface." Thanks for the differentiation. I don't think it's wax. If I scraped it with my thumbnail would I scratch off some of the wax?

I can't put down carpet because I have a cat with urinary tract issues who loves to pee on the floor. It's impossible to get the odors out of carpet and padding. Pulling this stuff up I noticed every inch of the the raw wood of the stripping was pretty much peed on at one time or another, and certain favorite spots had started to rot. So that's why carpet is out.

Retired Guy 60, I would LOVE to pay a pro to do it and I will, just as soon as the lottery gods smile upon me. Until then, I'm stuck with doing the best I can with as few bucks as possible, and hope it's livable.

Thanks everyone. I'm all ears for any more ideas or tips.
 
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Old 11-09-10, 10:09 AM
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Only remaining idea I can think of is get rid of the cat

Sounds like you've already rejected that one
 
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Old 11-09-10, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mitch17 View Post
Only remaining idea I can think of is get rid of the cat

Sounds like you've already rejected that one


Yeah he's getting old, 18, but should still be around a few more years.
 
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