Hot Topics: Removing Paint from 1920s House Hot Topics: Removing Paint from 1920s House

Here on DoItYourself.com we enjoy providing a place where home improvement novices and experts can come together to share ideas and advice. Inside our Forums, users can browse threads to see what exchanges are taking place on a topic of interest or start their own dialogue by posting something for the community to take part in. With over 250,000 members and counting, this resource is quite active so each week we highlight conversations that may just help you with that next DIY project.

Original Post: Old 1920 home with old paint

Newhomeowner3 Member

We recently bought an older home and as we were trying to patch the holes on a wall we realized that the paint was peeling. It peeled so easily the we could stick our arm in elbows deep and peel that paint. We then ran into an issue where it only peels every other "area" and we think the prior owner had some crazy pattern or something. The other areas are really hard to peel. We'd really rather not use chemicals and the walls are also plaster so I don't know if that will mess them up. I attached a picture as it's really hard to explain what they had going on. You can see that the owners tried to cover everything in white and the white paint only stuck on certain areas. The areas it did stick on well are where there was a red color underneath, but the red still shows a little. (This pattern goes to the ceiling and we think they wanted it to look like a circus tent.)

What is the best way to fix the holes and prep this room for some fresh paint?

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

That is a strange pattern; could it be wallpaper still on the wall?
The peeling paint is likely latex, but the original paint was probably lead-based. Lead-based paint is always oil-based, although not all oil-based was lead paint. These instructions will let you determine if it's oil-based. Sending a sample to a lab is the only way to know if it's lead-based:

https://www.doityourself.com/forum/painting-staining-all-interior-exterior-surfaces/230633-my-paint-latex-oil.html

Skimming the affected areas with joint compound will level the wall out, but we need to know what you are dealing with first.

Viriliter_Agite Member

I feel for ya. Our home was built the same year. We've had to deal with multiple layers of paint and wallpapers. Some pretty sad style choices, too.

I think whatever you can't scrape off with a good tool, you'll have to use a stripper on. There are several safe products out there. It's not so convenient this time of year because you will need to leave windows open for ventilation. Some people say to overlay a thin layer of Sheetrock, but I hate that idea.

stickshift Group Moderator

I can't see using a stripper on Sheetrock. Scraping what's loose and skim coating smooth with joint compound would be standard practice.

Newhomeowner3 Member

marksr - So in your opinion, determining if it's oil-based or not will dictate how I go about fixing the solution? If it is, what would be the steps or what about if it's not oil-based? I'm working on getting that figured out.

Viriliter_Agite - When you used the stripper, which kind did you use and then how did you deal with the lead-based paint? And did the stripper not mess up the plaster at all?

stickshift - The walls are plaster, so I don't know if using a stripper will be a good idea or not.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Ideally, you'd sand the walls a little (to rough it for better adhesion) prior to applying joint compound, but you do not want to sand lead-based paint.

Newhomeowner3 Member

marksr - What joint compound would you recommend?

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Any joint compound will work, the green lid all-purpose has the best adhesion properties.

Viriliter_Agite Member

I did not use a stripper. A scraper, a wallpaper perforator, and some wallpaper adhesive remover was all I needed. Then some mud to repair the gouges. Like you, I have plaster walls, not Sheetrock. I just want to say there are some strippers out there that are safe for humans and pets if you want to go that route.

Newhomeowner3 Member

Thank you marksr—and once that is done, then I prime and paint, right? Sorry, this is all so new to me and this is one of my first big projects in our new home.

Viriliter_Agite Member

Yep. prep work is the most important part of a paint job. The final coat will show flaws in your work. Some paints include primer, but I'm not sold on them yet. I see more advantage to priming, looking for flaws, touch-up, and then final paint.

Newhomeowner3 Member

Once you did that, did you jump straight to the paint or did you use primer first? I don't think my case is wallpaper. I think the paint only stuck in certain areas, so I don't know what to do with the paint that is really stuck on. Do I just paint over that?

Viriliter_Agite Member

If you can blend it in with sandpaper with the rest of the wall, it should be ready to prime. For depressions or other other imperfections you may need a local skim coat of mud. You can't put it on thick or it will crack when it dries. Larger fills need to be done in multiple coats of mud.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Paint doesn't always sand well, so often it's beneficial to apply a thin layer of joint compound to smooth out the transition. Joint compound often needs sanding and the dust removed prior to priming.

To read the rest of the thread, look here: https://www.doityourself.com/forum/patching-plastering/600519-old-1920-home-old-paint.html

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!

Topics:

hot topics