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Baffling Paint Removal Problem

Posted by Dan Sarandrea on December 20th, 1997 11:53 PM

My current project is patching a stairstep crack in a twin home party wall and then removing two coats of paint from the etire room's walls and ceiling and repriming and repainting with a top-quality paint. Sounds simple, right? NOOOOOOO!!!

The patch is done and primed. For some reason known only to the gods of paint, I am finding conventional methods of paint removal to be lacking! The walls are plaster-over-wallboard vintage 1959, which I think rules out chemical strippers. Sanding off the paint (which appears to be your basic acrylic latex) does NOT work becuase the heat from the sanding operation melts the paint into a goo that is simply *spread* by the sander, not removed by it. I have used several grits (50, 80, 100, 120) all with the same gooey spreading results. I have used drywall sanding screens at 100 and 120 grit thinking their large "pores" would resist clogging! No good!

Attacking the paint with a heat gun yields depressing results. The paint softens under the heat and when you go toscrape it off it smears instead of being peeled off! Varying heat settings have not improved the process.

What do I need to do to get this paint off? To paraphrase MacBeth, "Off, damn paint!!"

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