I'm in the process of refinishing the woodwork in my house. The woodwork
was originally painted with an alkyd paint which has significantly
yellowed and darkened. I don't ever want to go through this effort
again, so I'm using a latex enamel.
Prior to painting, I've roughed up (ie, de-sheened) the woodwork using
sandpaper. This sanding prep work is really tedious and has to be done
by hand (eg, the baseboard has 5 faces, two of which are curved, and 3
very small ledges where faces join).
I don't know how much more of this prep work my hands can endure. Is
there some sort of magic non-toxic goop I can apply to the woodwork to
minimize the amount of sanding I have to do? (Note: I do not want to
totally strip the woodwork of paint, I just want to rough up and
de-sheen the surface so the new paint can grab.)
hehehe...wait until you try to prep *that*
TSP (trisodium phosphate)
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I will assume that the existing paint really is oil and that it is not
pealing or cracked. To keep the latex from pealing, you must do a good prep
job. This means sanding, deglossing / softening, and priming. To make the
sanding easier, try one of those sanding blocks that degrades until it fits
the profile of what you are sanding. There are also clays that you can fit
to the baseboard which then harden. You can then fit a piece of sandpaper
to the hardened clay and you have made yourself a custom profile sander.
Once sanded, you can use something like Liquid Sandpaper which will also
soften the oil ever so slightly. Traditionally, an oil base primer is then
used but I have heard of some water based primers that can be used in this
situation. The best thing to do is to follow the directions on the latex
can or to ask someone in a paint store. You may not get good information in
a big box store.
Wow! Those are excellent suggestions - especially the one about making a
mold of the baseboard. I've never heard of "liquid sandpaper" - is it
non-toxic and generally available (like at Home Depot)?
I asked the folks at several stores (Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams,
Lowes, Scotty's) about what was necessary to paint over oil-based with
latex. I was told that all I needed to do was sand the old paint to
roughen up and degloss the surface, and that no primer was needed. So
far this approach has been very successful and the latex has adhered
very well (...Well enough that when I was moving furniture back and
accidently whacked the baseboard with a bookcase, the bookcase got
scuffed but the painted baseboard was undamaged).
You can get a product meant exactly for this from places like
I've never heard of "liquid sandpaper" - is it
Liquid Sandpaper is a mixture of ethanol, acetone and toluene. Not
great to inhale but probably not much different than nail polish remover.
You should call around to your local Big Box, hardware, and paint stores. A
paint store may have an alternative product that accomplishes the same
In theory, only sanding / deglossing should be necessary. In practice,
applying the proper primer over sanded / deglossed oil paint will ensure
that there will be no problems in delamination down the line. I know that I
don't like to spend all that time painting only to realize that taking a
shortcut caused problems.
In theory, I agree that priming is best ...but I have over 300 feet of
baseboards to do, and 11 doors & door frames that I want to repaint.
With all that woodwork, I'm willing to take the easier road (thoroughly
sand and repaint) versus the optimal path (thoroughly sand, prime, very
lightly sand and smooth primer, repaint).
There actually is a product called "Liquid Sandpaper" and other
similar cleaner/deglossers. I've had mixed results with them, but if
all you are doing is trying to knock down the gloss so the paint
sticks well (and not removing a lot of loose or rough paint), one of
the liquids will probably do the trick. Ask at a good paint store and
give it a try. If it doesn't work, you're only out a few bucks.
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