Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dining Room Facelift: Part 2 - Stripping Paint Sucks

Before Eric and I moved into the house, we decided we wanted to have it cleaned since it wasn't all that clean. There were hairball tumbleweeds rolling along and there was a fine layer of dust all over the floors. I tried desperately for a week to get a professional cleaning service come but we had waited too long and no one had any availability. My mom and I ended up cleaning the entire house top to bottom. Charlie helped by eating the paper towels:

It was a long day but in retrospect, I found it enlightening. I noticed several aggravating details I missed during the inspection:
  •  The stove hood which vented to the outdoors that I was thrilled to have because our cheaply built apartment just vented back into the kitchen (so useful, right?) still had its plastic on it. Yup. The plastic was still on it. It was installed with the plastic on it. It took about a half an hour and three people but we managed to get the plastic off without too much issue.
  • There are tiny bits of plastic varnished to the floor in the kitchen. I don't get how this happened but it's really obnoxious to me. Especially when I'm trying to use my Swiffer mop.
  • There are paint drips everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. They're on the floor. They're on the vanities. There were some on the mirrors in the bathrooms. It's a sloppy, sloppy paint job. Clearly the painter wasn't friendly with a drop cloth.
Now, speaking of sloppy paint jobs, we can move onto the real point of this post. In addition to getting paint drips everywhere, the trim was poorly painted a high glossy white. It has obvious brush strokes and there's hair and paintbrush bristles in it. As I was scrubbing the window casing trim around the bay window in the dining room, some of the paint started to peel off. I looked a little closer and I realized that the surface was never properly prepped. The polyurethane below the paint was completely intact and the paint had extremely poor adhesion.

This annoyed me.

A lot.  

A lot lot.

If it were just a single room, I think I could have gotten over it. Maybe. Probably not. But that doesn't matter because it isn't just the dining room. It's the whole house. That meant that when I started my work on the dining room a few weeks ago, I did so with the intent of fixing the trim. I figured stripping the paint would be the easiest way to get my trim to the state where I could repaint it properly. Thus I did a good amount of internet research and bought a sample of Peel Away 1 by Dumond Chemicals. It produced some decent results:

Unfortunately, it cost a lot more money than I was willing to invest. Thus I set out on a trip to Lowe's to find myself another paint stripper and the tools to finish the job. Amongst the array of options, I ended up selecting Citristrip because it was low v.o.c. and proclaimed to smell like oranges. I also picked up a cheapy chemical respirator because I didn't really want to die of orangey-paint-stripper fumes.

It was a messy, messy, stinky week but I got it done.

Paint be gone!
And I'm never doing it again. Ever. Jeez, what a huge pain in the butt.  I can't survive another week (or even a day, really) like that so I've enlisted the help of my parents and their tools to install new trim. I'm pretty sure that it'll be cheaper and easier in the long run. And so, it looks like part three of this new and ongoing series is going to be trim removal.

Stay tuned!

Part 1:  The Chair Rail