Dark Brown undercoat/stain removal

22 Mar 2006
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United Kingdom
I'm decorating our hall and stripping the staircase after decorating a lot of the other rooms in the house (1930s house). All the rooms had thick gloss paint over the woodwork and I've stripped and repainting most of the woodwork.

All of the house woodwork and doors has several layers of gloss then a beige/brown type gloss paint with a dark brown stain on the wood underneath (see attached pic below).

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I've tried using a heat gun on it and the Gloss layers come off easy but leaves the behind a brown stain varnish which when heated looks orange and oily and doesn't come off.

I've tried a sample of Peelaway No.1 on part of the stairs and left it on for about 36 hours. When I peeled it off in one area (which I think had a thicker layer of paste) the brown stain came off. (see pic below)

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The guys that dipped and stripped the doors said this brown stain is very common in the area (Barking and Dagenham) and when I asked them for a quote to do strip the stairs they advised they really didn't want to do the job as it was difficult to remove. They suggested using a brillo pad on it and scrubbing it off.

Although I sanded, primed, under coated and top coated the wood I stripped in other parts of the house the pain seems to chip very easily and when it does the black shows through a lot.

Does anyone have any suggestions for the easiest way to remove this brown stain under the old gloss paint?

Is there a specific primer I need to use to improve the hold on this brown stained wood?

I'm reluctant to sand the wood down as it's the dust it produces is pretty irritant and I think it is also probably lead based.

Any suggestion would be appreciated.

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I've seen this a fair bit in Victorian properties as they used a lot of imported timber that was very resinous. I'm wondering (although i see your house is 1930's) if yours is the same.

As long as you can get a smooth finish don't worry about the stain underneath and prime it with aluminium wood primer before undercoat etc

Your also sensible not to burn it off as it almost certainly has layers of lead based paint. You should also wet abrade to protect yourself and those around you from the toxic particles.

Sorry i can't be of any more help but its a bit of a best guess scenario.
Maybe one of the other lads will know exactly what it is. Good luck
I'm with dcdec on this one, Aluminium primer is well up to the job.

Possibly the old button polish / stainers? Shelac is in there somewhere forget the make up now but in the 70's (?) we used to strip it with a mix of caustic soda and lap paste. A real nasty mix, goggles/industrial gloves up to the armpits etc. Used to take ages scrubbing and scraping then washing with clean water to get the bldy soda out :rolleyes: Nitromors would touch it. If I could go back in time and take a primer with me that would stick on this stain I would take this http://www.zinsseruk.com/shop/Product.aspx?cId=130&pgId=357 A primer tht stiks like sh.ite without sanding :D would have saved all that work :(

recently primed an old ceder conservatory with this stuff in/out I was impressed.

Good luck
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Yep coverstain would be ok, in fact there is plenty of choice these days with primers. The important thing is that you get a primer sealer so that the stain is sealed and will not penetrate through subsequent coatings
Well being an old stick in mud I will stay with the Aluminium primer, cheaper to.

Charter aluminium primer - will cover even creosoted wood - that`s what it says on the tin ;)
And the tin is correct ;) also bitumen and fire damaged wood not to mention a host of other uses.

I agreeeee :) But!!! will it STick to old button polish ? ;) In my experience it still chipped, and aluminium primer, usefull as it is, takes a lot of undercoating to bring it up to a shadowless finish. ( not saying i would'nt use aly P again )
But if pushed for time the cover stain dries quick and u/c and gloss in a day :cool:
Point taken jon, I suppose at this time I really could'nt offer an answer at least in regard to what product will solve the op's problem. The reality here is we dont really know for sure what coating it is. So our advice will be mere speculation and again a situation of trial and error.

Hi All,

Thanks for the advice. I bought a tub of Peelaway 7 along with the wrapping and neutraliser.

I put it on for about 36 hours at a thickness of about 3-4mm. Its taken most of the paint off and along with the polish/varnish or whatever it is.

The time the peelaway was on along with the thickness it was applied seems to be pretty critical to it working. Overall the wood is still stained but its not got the oily residue it had before when I used a heatgun and Im not going to have to sand it all off with wetndry.

Now just need to get ir primed, undercoated and topcoated.

Thanks again.

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