Removing Old Paint on Windowsills

  • I am stripping the old layers and layers of paint off my kitchen windows and sills down to the nice wood, but wow, its taking forever. All the layers, I'm using a product called Dads. But does anyone know of a better one? This one does work ok, you spray it on. I used it on a dresser, with only one layer of paint. But this is alot of work. Then, its getting on the walls, that paint is bubbling. I am repainting the walls, but now I will have to work on that area. Then there is caulking on the window sills, which I will have to put back on - I guess in clear, because I want the natural wood look.
    I'm also going to strip the doors down, which I will remove the doors and take outside, since the odor gets to you after awhile. But there is not so many layers of paint on those that I can tell.
    Anyone start a project that you thought was easy and it turned out to be more than you thought?
  • Speaking from years of experience working on an old house, everything takes 4 to 10 times as long. You could try to put tape against the wood to save the walls, and i always used CitriStrip, and then covered it with plastic and let it set for a day or so. The longer it sat, the deeper layers the paint it would remove. I have heard there are better materials out there now, but have not personally used them. It took a whole summer to take the old paint and varnish off stair balusters, but they are gorgeous. So it is worth it, just takes time, and time, and time. Don't give up, the results will be worth it. In case you want to know, you tape the plastic over the citri strip, and put it on thick, the Citri Strip, that is.
    Hope this helps.
  • Oh, yes! But take heart since you will eventually see the benefits of your labor... I stripped most all of the woodwork in a 100 year-old house that we were renting over a period of almost six years. My husband griped at me for doing work to someone else's property, but it got depressing living in an environment with chipped gross painted woodwork, and was really rewarding for me during a difficult period. Besides I got to refinish two fireplaces--a feat I felt that I would never be able to do again, and I was right about that thought! The paint was at least 10 layers thick with the greenish lead paint base and sometimes took very little to chip away. But most of the time I relied on using a paint heat gun which made short work of what could have been an endless situation. There are a lot of pros and cons using either liquid paint strippers or a heat gun when removing paint, so the best approach is an educated one of course... I preferred the heat gun because of the toxicity of strippers. But also had to contend with the fact that fumes from heated paint were not the most pleasant experience I ever had. And scraping the softened paint away sometimes resulted in occasional burns to myself, or unintended gouges to the wood. But I was extremely pleased with the end result and with myself for accomplishing the entire project. I even took pictures of everything before and after so that years later I could remind myself of the trials and tribulations of wood refinishing. I had to have something nice to remember about the house since it was such a pitiful excuse for a dwelling anyway!
  • Well that is encouraging Indigo Tears! Ours has all wood work and Id like to eventually strip it all down. I found the kitchen wood is in bad shape. Lots of putty filing, etc... No wonder they painted it. But, my curtians will hide alot of it.
    The living room appears to only have one or two coats of paint around all the wood trim, thank god.
    You are an inspiration!
  • Thank you! My main goal was to alleviate the constant paint chips that kept littering the three layers of carpet on the old wood floor. It constantly looked unkempt and was depressing. I would have preferred refinishing the woodwork trim using a stain and poly/lacquer finish but there was a LOT of damage to the underlying wood in places that just couldn't effectively be covered up when filled with filler etc. And I knew that the house would be rented after we left, most likely, to people with children in the family. And the flaking paint was a hazard that my landlords didn't seem to be concerned about (They just kept painting over it... The house was in a small unincorporated very rural area.), so I policed the mismixed paint found in nearby towns and using much better quality paint at lower prices, I put a solid, clean finish on the wood. The landlord was "tickled pink", but when I showed her the beautiful job I had done on the living room fireplace and she admitted she was impressed, but stressed I was doing everything on my own and to expect no compensation, which I already understood. But she also said, "As far as I'm concerned no renters should ever have access to these fireplaces, and if there was any way I could, I would remove them!" She had gone through the house when they first bought it and removed as much as possible that was antique etc. But both fireplaces had been filled in with concrete so they were unuseable anyway, so I have no idea what she meant... Hey, even my husband was stunned by the massive improvement after I did everything!!! Just keep at it! We looked at one house to buy when we were finally in the market and the owners were still in the process of stripping the woodwork of paint. They were using commercial chemical stripper and the job was unimpressive. Lots of times there are gouges, dents, etc, that were constantly painted over as time went on, and believe it or not, these people were putting the poly/lacquer finish over the wood without making sure all of the paint had been removed from these problem areas... I was heartily disgusted after working so hard on our previous house, to see an actual home owner showing such little concern over rehabbing an historic house! Anyway, one thing that WILL help the feeling of the neverending job at bay is to periodically take photographs of your work as you go along. Don't forget to take pictures of the mess on the floor, the pile of tools, rags, etc.; the half stripped/fully stripped/ finished portions---Everything! Have the developed pictures handy so that when you feel like you just can't go on, grab a cup of tea, or whatever and flip through the pictures. When you are doing everything yourself, you don't get the full impact of how GOOD you are doing. You can't step away and evaluate all you have really accomplished while you are trying to push ahead to the end... But having that record at hand to muse over periodically will drive the fact home that you CAN and already HAVE accomplished a monumental feat. And bringing in neighbors or company who are acquainted with the house as it was in its previous state--even before you are finished--and hearing them remark about the improvement they see is another way to keep your courage fired up!