Yuk,red gloss paint on cornicing and fireplace! What to do?

24 Sep 2012
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United Kingdom
Just moved into a house with lovely features (1940s), but previous owners seem to have been a bit colour blind and painted all cornicing, skirting boards and fireplaces a bright red gloss and have complemented it beautifully with bright turquoise gloss doors and spindles! What are we to do? Would like since soft off white colour all over. In past we would go for a matt emulsion on walls with a white satinwood on woodwork, but this time would quite like a soft matt in one colour all over, what on earth do we do with the bright red gloss?
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you have problem depending on whats under the paint and how much penetration the paint has into the grain of the wood. Largely a factor of the paint and the type of wood.

If you are planning on repainting you stand a better chance, but once you bight the bullet your sorta commited. but then if you dont like the red yourve nothing to lose.

Two choices to remove the paint. Personally prefer a hot air gun as cheaper, less messy and quicker, but some prefer to use an acid paint remover. Most these days re fairly pathetic thanks to HSE. I'd go gun

Work fast with a high heat taking care not to scorch the wood. A sharp scraper and i mean scraper not one of those metal wallpaper thingys they sell in asda.

You may find the paint or undercoat or whatever the previos 10 coats are underneath has penetrated the wood grain, in which case you will then need to sand down.

A good mechanical sander or a series of sanders in decreasing viciousness is the order of the day. Finishing up with hand sanding with a cork block. You will find alum oxide paper is more expensive but worth the difference. By a small roll from wilkinsons or Machine mart.

Howe much sanding you need will also depend on what finish you intend to apply. If your gonna put on a dark paint then you can get away with a less clean surface ,but a light magnoilia you will need to remove. Suck and see really work a small section first and see how it pans out.

Good luck! let us know!

Thanks Kev, we knew it was a bit of a nightmare. I can imagine the removers would be a very messy job. I was thinking I could taKe the doors off and down to a strip dip place, and am happy to give the staircase and skirting boards a go with the hot air gun ( a very long tedious job me thinks!) but I am concerned about the cornicing on the ceiling, I think this is plaster. What should I do here? Can i use the gun? If all else fails can I paint over them? How should I go about it? It's a shame because I would imagine it would take layers and layers of paint and you would lose the detail... All advice is gratefully received, thank you.
No idea of the suitability of the gun on plaster. Never tried it. I would think it a bit soft for a sharp scraper too. You may want to do nitromors here and a soft bristle brush.

Skirting boards might be better to replace. In modern houses I find there such poor timber anyway, not worth it messing with. IF you have some antique hardwood skirting it may be worthwhile???

If you can remove the fireplace and doors seems simpler to have them dipped, Ive seen this done very well, though Ive never done it myself.

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I've not tried it myself but i'd try steam for removing the gloss from your cornice, like a wallpaper steamer etc. It would be less brutal than a heat gun, but should still soften the paint.

For your woodwork the best finish will be to take it down to bare wood and start from there but if the existing finish isn't bad then couldn't you sand it, then use some sort of barrier undercoat and then gloss your new colour on top?
For heaven's sake. Sand it, oil undercoat, light sand, oil undercoat, light sand - topcoat of your choice.
Thanks to all for your help.

For heaven's sake. Sand it, oil undercoat, light sand, oil undercoat, light sand - topcoat of your choice.
. Joe, this is my first posting on the board, no need to lose your patience... Yet! Of course I will sand undercoat etc, but is sanding an intricate plaster cornice covered in gloopy, thick red gloss really gonna work? If so what's the best way to go about sanding it?I am here asking, as genuinely not sure best way to go about preparing the surface. As said before, happy to do woodwork and fireplace, but really not sure how to tackle the cornicing.

Thanks again

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