I am so bad a titling blog posts. Anyway…
The tread stripping was finished a few weeks ago. But we had an issue with the railing. Well, two issues actually. One was that the previous ownersn had painted the railing with bright white latex paint right on top of yellow-ish oil based paint.
Latex paint doesn’t stick to oil based paint, it just sits on top and waits for something to rub it, at which time, it will roll up and peel right off.
The second problem was that they just did a horrible job painting it. It was so streaky and bumpy that oils and dirt settled into every ridge and it was impossible to keep clean.
Because of these two issues, just painting over it wasn’t an option, all the layers had to be stripped off for a fresh start.
My favorite way to remove paint is with a heat gun, because it’s chemical free and fast (and it’s fun). If you haven’t used a heat gun to remove paint, it’s pretty simple. You point the gun where you want to start scraping, turn it on and wait for the paint to bubble. When it bubbles, you scrape it off. Easy peasy.
If you have a straight path, you can go slowly, heating with one hand and scraping with the other and get whole sections done at once.
For grooves and hard-to-get-to areas like the second photo above, what worked for me was this: warm the area with the heat gun, then turn the gun off and let the wood cool for a couple minutes. Go back with your scraper and get a corner started, then you can just peel it up with your hands.
(A note about using the heat gun though, don’t hold it on one place too long or have the heat higher than it needs to be, because you can scorch your wood.)
Once it was all scraped, I gave it a light sanding, cleaned it up and it was ready for fresh paint.
And I didn’t get any pictures of the whole railing stripped. Oops. But here it is with it’s nice fresh paint. The baseboards going up the stairs also got a fresh coat and caulk between the trim piece and baseboard.
Now I just need to touch up the risers and the stairs will be finished. Finally!
This is the heat gun I use, and I love it. It has two span feeds and a temperature dial, so you can really fine-tune the amount of heat, and how far it goes. As long as you use it properly, you won’t scorch your wood, and you won’t ruin paint finishes on nearby surfaces because it’s blowing too hard.
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