Need to touch up some paint on some old woodwork, or thinking of painting over it? Here are some pointers.
1. Check for lead. Gently scrape a chip of paint from the woodwork, and test it for lead using a home testing kit. Test both sides, and the layer underneath the chip, if there is one. If you get a positive result, you may want to have a professional or a lab double-check it for you.
Treat this paint with respect. Avoid sanding it. Wear protective clothing and a mask. Vacuum with an industrial grade vacuum. And keep children away while you’re working.
2. Determine the type of paint. This tells you what you can topcoat with. If it flakes in hard, jagged shapes, it’s likely alkyd (oil-based). If it’s more flexible and peels in large pieces, it’s probably latex (water-based). Buy the same kind for your topcoat.
3. Scrape away any loose paint using scraping tools. For ornate trim get a tool or tools shaped to get into cracks and crevices. If you have a grinder, you can grind these down to a shape which matches your job more closely.
4. Sand around the areas you’ve scraped, so the edge is less noticeable. To sand in tight corners, fold sandpaper, or cut a piece of plastic from a food container to make a flexible sanding block. If you’re sanding a curve, roll up a small piece of carpet and use this as your sanding block.
5. Spot prime areas where you’ve removed the paint, using a primer intended for your topcoat paint.
6. Then lay on one or two coats of your finish paint, painting from the top down in most cases.