I've got a lot of wood (doors,frames,architrave,skirting,stair
bannisters) in an Edwardian house to paint. It's currently painted in
white (gloss I think) but may have serveral layers underneath.
I want to paint it in white also( probably not gloss) but I'm not sure
how much sanding I need to do before I can start painting. I'm also
worried that lead paint may have been used on some of the wood.
Is it sufficient to clean the wood and lightly sand it to ensure the
new paint gets a grip?
Yes - a clean (if grimey, a more aggressive cleaner such as sugar soap
can be a real win) followed by a light sanding. If it's all curves and
mouldings, I find it least frustrating to use one of those 'flexisander'
drill attachments - thin (3mm?) strips of abrasive-on-paper, or in the
flashier variety little round 'fingers' of nylon or similar with
abrasive embedded, radiating out from and "well secured" in (so wear
goggles ;-) a central hub on the end of a shaft. Yer arms ache after
holding it over your head to do the moulding at the top of the door, but
it's quicker than sandpaper and has a better chance of giving you a key
for the new paintwork further into the little grooves. Of course, if
you're into Full Restoration, you can spend a couple of days stripping
back to bare wood with your choice of chemical stripper (pricey, gungey,
but thorough) or hot-air/blowtorch and curved scraper (can be faster,
can leave some gouge marks till you perfect your technique, can be a
real downer when (not if!) you discover the bottom layer is some weird
half-varnish-half-shellac-half-polish-totally-horrid gunge which softens
but doesn't really come off, and rather likes working its softened way
into the grain... been there, done that).
As to lead - it'd matter if you were a painter-n-decorator sanding down
lead paint every other day. For a one-off domestic exposure, you've
inhaled a lot more from pre-low-lead-petrol days than you'll get from
the sanding. Wear a mask if you like.
HTH - Stefek
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