I'm getting ready to paint a room. I was just pulling out an old
cracked window stool when I noticed that the paint around the window
would peel off very easily in six to eight inch strips. I probably
wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't been removing the trim. Should I be
pulling all of this off the wall before I paint? I've read that loose
paint should be removed, but "loose" seems to be indistinct. It's not
peeling, or anything, but if I slip a scraper under an edge, it glides
under the paint.
Some of it is more firmly attached, though if I'm a bit more persistent
it will come up, too. Am I just making more work for myself?
You're right - the term "loose" is very general. The definition can be bent
by various factors:
1) Is your perfectionist spouse watching?
2) Is there something else you'd rather be doing, like fishing?
3) Do you have sandpaper and a container of spackle handy, for evening out
the now-uneven surface?
4) Are you painting because you're having guests? Tomorrow? And you knew
about this a month ago, but now it needs to be done today?
Seriously, press gently on the paint. If it feels like it hasn't separated,
patch & sand as necessary and paint over it. The ability to get under the
old paint with a scraper isn't a good way to decide, since you can get under
lots of good paint that doesn't need to be removed.
Isn't that what home improvement is all about? Making more work for
It sounds like someone painted over gloss or semi-gloss paint and
didn't bother to sand the surface prior to painting with the new
paint. This is particularly egregious with latex paint over oil-based
Removing all of the paint would be a very big job and a major pain in
the ass. If the paint is separating between two older layers of paint,
not between the most recent paint you will be painting over and the old
stuff, you can probably go right over it after prep work. That would
entail, scraping off the obviously loose stuff, sanding the edges so
they're not sharp and sanding the newly exposed older paint surface to
give it some "tooth" that the new paint can adhere to. From there I
usually use Benjamin Moore's Frest Start primer to coat the newly
sanded areas. You particularly want to make sure that you are brushing
towards the undisturbed paint so that the primer is pushed into the
edge between the two paint layers in question. This will help bond the
layers together. Then I would use a patching/spackling compound like
Ready Patch to smooth out any imperfections. Lightly sand, another
quick coat of primer on the patches and then you're good to go with
your finish paint.
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