Getting the paint off old beams

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Bitstreams

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Dec 4, 2007, 5:51:13 PM12/4/07
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The beams in my cottage have been "painted" with a dark brown
substance that looks like something from those stop smoking adverts
twenty years ago. It's not quite gloss paint (though it is glossy) -
where the Neanderthal who applied it has gone over white lighting
flex, it looks a bit like thickly spread marmite.
I'd like to remove it and get the beams looking a little healthier.

What can I try ?

Simon

Frank Erskine

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Dec 4, 2007, 6:06:38 PM12/4/07
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Your best bet might be to try chemical paint remover (Nitromors or
similar) and steel wool or a wire brush.
Obviously you'll want to replace the lighting flex :-)

--
Frank Erskine

The Medway Handyman

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Dec 4, 2007, 6:34:48 PM12/4/07
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Probably the only solution is sandblasting. Creates a hell of a mess, but
very effective. Not really a DIY job though.


--
Dave - The Medway Handyman
www.medwayhandyman.co.uk
01634 717930
07850 597257


The Natural Philosopher

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Dec 4, 2007, 7:36:13 PM12/4/07
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Professional sand blasting company, or nothing.

If the beams were new and planed, then they wouldn't be painted. If they
are old and pitted, nothing else gets the paint out of the grain.

Steve Firth

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Dec 4, 2007, 8:30:23 PM12/4/07
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Bitstreams <bitst...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

I'd ignore reccomendations for sand blasting or at least leave it as an
absolute last resort. I've just finished cleaning the chestnut beams in
my farmhouse and it has taken "quite a bit of time" to do a good job.
However having seen the mess that sandblasting made of both the wood and
the fabric of the house of a friend I was determined not to sand blast
these beams.

I cleaned them by hand using wire brushes. I could do about one room a
day which is as good as sandblasting can achieve. In fact better if one
factors in the clean-up costs. You will be eating abrasive grit for
years to come if you sand blast the beams, the grit gets in everywhere
and it's impossible to vacuum it all away.

I suggest that you test a small area to see how well it takes to a wire
brush. We also found scotch abrasive pads (not the pan cleaners, large
pads impregnated with abrasive) and wirewool to be useful. However some
finishes have a consistency like tar and wire brushes just smear it
around. For these Nitromors is possible or even alkaline strippers. Your
eyes are at particular risk if you try to use these methods on beams, so
you will need full-face protection when using them.

Sand-blasting is IMO the refuge of an oaf and it will result in damage
to the beams no matter what anyone tells you.

The Natural Philosopher

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Dec 4, 2007, 9:08:55 PM12/4/07
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Steve Firth wrote:
> Bitstreams <bitst...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> The beams in my cottage have been "painted" with a dark brown
>> substance that looks like something from those stop smoking adverts
>> twenty years ago. It's not quite gloss paint (though it is glossy) -
>> where the Neanderthal who applied it has gone over white lighting
>> flex, it looks a bit like thickly spread marmite.
>> I'd like to remove it and get the beams looking a little healthier.
>>
>> What can I try ?
>
> I'd ignore reccomendations for sand blasting or at least leave it as an
> absolute last resort. I've just finished cleaning the chestnut beams in
> my farmhouse and it has taken "quite a bit of time" to do a good job.
> However having seen the mess that sandblasting made of both the wood and
> the fabric of the house of a friend I was determined not to sand blast
> these beams.

Use calcium carbonate next time. And a decent company.


>
> I cleaned them by hand using wire brushes. I could do about one room a
> day which is as good as sandblasting can achieve.

Try three 30 sq meter rooms in one day.

And you would be nearer the truth.


We tried wire brushing. Iy looked like about 3 weeks work for all the beams.

> In fact better if one
> factors in the clean-up costs.

True.

You will be eating abrasive grit for
> years to come if you sand blast the beams, the grit gets in everywhere
> and it's impossible to vacuum it all away.
>

It gets everywhere and its simple, if time consuming, to vacuum it all
away. BUT you need to clear the rooms first. Again doing that is usually
not a problem if its a major refurb anyway. If it isn';t, you still run
the risk of splashing any chemicals you may use everywhere, and havinga
shitload of paint flakes in your sanwiches for sverel weeks.


> I suggest that you test a small area to see how well it takes to a wire
> brush. We also found scotch abrasive pads (not the pan cleaners, large
> pads impregnated with abrasive) and wirewool to be useful. However some
> finishes have a consistency like tar and wire brushes just smear it
> around. For these Nitromors is possible or even alkaline strippers. Your
> eyes are at particular risk if you try to use these methods on beams, so
> you will need full-face protection when using them.
>
> Sand-blasting is IMO the refuge of an oaf and it will result in damage
> to the beams no matter what anyone tells you.

So will any abrasive that is good enough to pull the paint off.

A good blasting company will try different abrasives to get the one that
pulls the paint off with minimal damage to the wood. If you don;'t want
to use abrasives, dismantle the house and get the beams soaked in
caustic stripping tanks.

Or replace/cover with new wood.

Your choice.

Adrian

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Dec 5, 2007, 3:13:03 AM12/5/07
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Steve Firth (%steve%@malloc.co.uk (Steve Firth)) gurgled happily, sounding
much like they were saying:

> Sand-blasting is IMO the refuge of an oaf and it will result in damage
> to the beams no matter what anyone tells you.

I must admit, I _hate_ the look of sandblasted beams, often seen in pubs
that have been "done up". That "throbbing vein" look of the grain
standing proud, and the poor battered fibrous look. Eww. Makes me feel
sorry for the wood.

Jonathan

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Dec 5, 2007, 3:23:50 AM12/5/07
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We found that tough circular sanding discs worked well on our oak
beams. We have then waxed them.

ma...@atics.co.uk

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Dec 5, 2007, 3:35:43 AM12/5/07
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On 4 Dec, 22:51, Bitstreams <bitstre...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

Dear Simon
I wholly endorse the spirit of Steve's post if not the phraseology!
Sand blasting is not reversible.
You need to get rid of the YUK paint and if possible leave the patina
of age just underneath
That is the work of a careful picture restorer!
So choices are
chemical removal with care
paint over the yuk paint

Assume the former
Two generic types of paint remover - caustic soda (sodium hydroxide)
or nitromors type (methelene trichor - as far as I rememember (open to
correction - but basically organic chemical as opposed to inorganic)
Hydroxides extract hemicelluloses out of the wood and are not good
unless used with huge skill
Trade examples are Peelaway etc
Nitromors type are good (but smelly and messy) as they will remove in
layers

Suggest you try mechanical scraping with chemical softening and just
bite the bullet time wise

Any other solution will adversly affect the look of the final product

If you choose to paint consider a lime wash if the house is really old
Chris

Message has been deleted

ma...@atics.co.uk

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Dec 5, 2007, 6:41:45 AM12/5/07
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On 5 Dec, 10:35, Stephen Gower <socks-netn...@earth.li> wrote:

> <m...@atics.co.uk> wrote:
>
> >Two generic types of paint remover - caustic soda (sodium hydroxide)
> >or nitromors type [...]
>
> I was incredibly sceptical, but Mum bought a can of "Home Strip"
> and left it at my place and I figured I might as well give it a
> try. I'm a complete convert and certainly would give it a try in
> this situation - slap it on, cover it with tin foil for an hour and
> then remove it and it takes all the paint with it. I've used it
> now on some pretty horrible surfaces (quite like the one the OP
> describes) and got back to lovely clean oak.
>
> The company only ever seems to describe the ways other products
> work and never how their own ones work, which opens up the path for
> understandable scepticism - however having used it I confirm it's
> worth a try.
> http://www.ecosolutions.co.uk/Home-BaseA.htm
> --
> Selah

Dear Selah
I have looked at the site and like you would be sceptical as it does
not say how it works but on your recommendation I will try some! and
suggest to the first poster that it is worth a go!
chris

Peter Scott

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Dec 5, 2007, 6:43:39 AM12/5/07
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Stephen Gower wrote:


> <ma...@atics.co.uk> wrote:
>> Two generic types of paint remover - caustic soda (sodium hydroxide)

>> or nitromors type [...]
>
> I was incredibly sceptical, but Mum bought a can of "Home Strip"
> and left it at my place and I figured I might as well give it a
> try. I'm a complete convert and certainly would give it a try in
> this situation - slap it on, cover it with tin foil for an hour and
> then remove it and it takes all the paint with it. I've used it
> now on some pretty horrible surfaces (quite like the one the OP
> describes) and got back to lovely clean oak.
>
> The company only ever seems to describe the ways other products
> work and never how their own ones work, which opens up the path for
> understandable scepticism - however having used it I confirm it's
> worth a try.
> http://www.ecosolutions.co.uk/Home-BaseA.htm

I had painted oak and old pine beams. The paint was a mixture of oil,
emulsion and distemper. I used a wide wood chisel as a scraper, holding
it at about 75 degrees to the surface. Once you get the angle and
pressure right it is surprisingly quick, though hard work. Probably not
practicable if you have a many beams to do. The finish is smooth and
natural and the mess is not dusty.

Peter Scott

Stuart Noble

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Dec 5, 2007, 9:40:11 AM12/5/07
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A disc sander might be best to get the gunk off. They tend to throw the
paint off before it has a chance to melt and gum up the abrasive

> http://www.hss.com/g/5211/Disc-Sander-and-Polisher-110v.html

You can always finish off with an orbital sander

Steve Firth

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Dec 5, 2007, 6:40:04 PM12/5/07
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Adrian <tooma...@gmail.com> wrote:

Yup, exactly. Every would-be sand blaster rants on about how a good
vacuum will get rid of all the abarasive. This is a lie. Even years
after the event my friends house is still leaking grit from the joints
between beams and it's impossible to vacuum them clean. The wire brush
left the wood looking clean and didn't raise the grain at all. OK, it
takes some effort, but that IMO is the trade off with DIY, a bit of
extra work for the promise of a much better job than can be done by a
"professional."

The Natural Philosopher

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Dec 5, 2007, 7:26:29 PM12/5/07
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How odd. All mind had gibe withing a week after Id vacuumed a few times.

The grit blaster people went over all the beam cracks with 'dry' guns
when they had finished to get the dust out ..

we just swept it all up first, then vacuumed, and did a couple more
later on.


Anna Kettle

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Dec 6, 2007, 7:48:36 AM12/6/07
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Bitstream

There have been three suggestions as far as I can see

sand blasting, disk grinder and chemicals

I really really wouldnt choose either of the first two if you have
nice old beams with a patina of age. Once the surface patina has gone
then it is gone forever. Chemical stripping will keep the patina
intact.

TNP: The situation in your house isnt comparable because your timbers
are new, so there was no patina to lose

Anna

Steve Firth

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Dec 6, 2007, 11:45:10 AM12/6/07
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The Natural Philosopher <a@b.c> wrote:

> All mind had gibe withing a week

In English?

ma...@atics.co.uk

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Dec 6, 2007, 12:45:45 PM12/6/07
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On 6 Dec, 16:45, %ste...@malloc.co.uk (Steve Firth) wrote:

> The Natural Philosopher <a...@b.c> wrote:
>
> > All mind had gibe withing a week
>
> In English?

This is a simple querty slip to the left on two letters gONe...
chris

Steve Firth

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Dec 6, 2007, 6:51:04 PM12/6/07
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<ma...@atics.co.uk> wrote:

So you think he's saying all (his) mind had gone withing (sic) a week?

clot

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Dec 6, 2007, 7:17:19 PM12/6/07
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I thoght the same and wondered whether C2H5OH was involved until I
looked at the keyboard! :)

ma...@atics.co.uk

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Dec 7, 2007, 4:28:38 AM12/7/07
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On 6 Dec, 23:51, %ste...@malloc.co.uk (Steve Firth) wrote:

Perhaps he simply likes hitting the "g" spot!
c

Alexander Pilkington

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Oct 30, 2020, 1:52:25 PM10/30/20
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We bought a 500 year old house with lovely beams that weren’t so lovely as they had been painted black. I tried all sorts of stuff on a small test area, stripper chemicals, sandpaper, sand blasting (with a power hose and sand bucket adapter thing) and none worked well or was sooooooo slow it was too frustrating. The “paint” was bitumen an runny plaster (to fill the holes I think) and layers of different paint.

In the end, what worked best was a drill with a carbon or nylon stripping wheel. It took ages, was very messy but was the fastest and didn’t harm the oak. I then had to get into the corners with a wire brush and sandpaper.

Good luck!

Andy Burns

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Oct 30, 2020, 1:57:09 PM10/30/20
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Alexander Pilkington wrote:

> what worked best was a drill with a carbon or nylon stripping wheel. It took ages,

But not as long as 13 years, I bet?

Brian Gaff (Sofa)

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Oct 30, 2020, 3:58:46 PM10/30/20
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Well you never know if it was in fact Creosote, he might have needed medical
treatment as well!
Where do these old messages come from?
Brian

--

This newsgroup posting comes to you directly from...
The Sofa of Brian Gaff...
bri...@blueyonder.co.uk
Blind user, so no pictures please
Note this Signature is meaningless.!
"Andy Burns" <use...@andyburns.uk> wrote in message
news:i032fg...@mid.individual.net...

Vir Campestris

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Oct 30, 2020, 5:42:13 PM10/30/20
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I did ours with a flap wheel. Or rather two, as the first one wore out.

Yes, it took ages. And it's just a little dusty...

Andy

Jonathan

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Oct 31, 2020, 7:31:35 AM10/31/20
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+1 Jonathan
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