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Thread: A question for interior trim painters / refinishers

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    A question for interior trim painters / refinishers

    I recently bought a house that is about 15 years old. The original interior trim / doorways / doors were stained and sealed with some sort to of clear finish, which I presume is polyurethane.

    After 15 years, there are scratches and gouges everywhere.

    So, my question is, does a product exist that I can use to restore the finish with or paint over it with? Or am I stuck with either replacing it all and/or the ridiculously labor intensive task of sanding every square inch of it before resealing / painting it?

    I suspect I already know the answer, but I'm clinging to the hope that there's a product out there I'm unaware of.

    Thanks in advance.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
    Not taking the shot is.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master



    Idaho45guy's Avatar
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    You can just paint over it with interior satin or eggshell finish in white and will likely hide most of the scratches and gouges. You could test a single piece to see if they are still going to bother you. The glossier the finish, the more the imperfections will stand out, though.
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I completely agree with the above but it would seem to me that with "scratches and gouges everywhere", you would probably be better served just replacing it all then finishing the new to the color or shade that is just right. A small compressor and a pin nailer will do the job after cutting the new trim. You didn't mention what type of flooring you have but if it is carpet, I would just wait until it is time to recarpet and repaint the walls if my wife could tolerate the lazy procrastinator way out.

  4. #4
    Boolit Man Gtrubicon's Avatar
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    If you paint over you need to prime with Kilz, your new paint will likely be water based, it won’t bond to an oil or lacquer based coating of any kind. I am a contractor, and I can tell you that it will probably be faster to replace trim and paint than trying to get a good finish on what is existing.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Agree it needs to be primed, I prefer Zinzer over Kilz but that is just me. If there are any bad dings, fill with drywall compound, then lightly sand. There is another product out that works the same on dings called fast n final or patch and paint. Dab on with your finger, wipe off excess with a damp rag.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Any paint job is 90% preparation. To achieve good results, you need to sand between coats, anyway. If 15 years old, it's probably an oil based finish. I'd try lightly hand sanding one room and hitting it with a couple of coats of a good polyurethane varnish, lightly sanding between coats. I'll bet you'll be surprised by how good it looks.

    You can always paint over it later if you don't like the result, but you're still going to have to sand between coats to achieve a good finish.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I would try rubbing a small section with a clear wiping varnish/poly and see if you like the result. Best to sand first, or maybe try tsp to rough it up...faster but sometimes messy.

    Are you sure that the trim was finished on site? Could be a factory applied lacquer.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Watco rejuvenating oil- the perfect stuff for that. You would not believe how well it works.
    Loren

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    I would try rubbing a small section with a clear wiping varnish/poly and see if you like the result. Best to sand first, or maybe try tsp to rough it up...faster but sometimes messy.

    Are you sure that the trim was finished on site? Could be a factory applied lacquer.
    It was finished on site, evidenced by the overspray on the unfinished sheetrock in the garage and basement.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gtrubicon View Post
    If you paint over you need to prime with Kilz, your new paint will likely be water based, it won’t bond to an oil or lacquer based coating of any kind. I am a contractor, and I can tell you that it will probably be faster to replace trim and paint than trying to get a good finish on what is existing.
    Yeah, I know it would be faster, but enough trim for a 2,000 square foot house runs into a bit of money, plus I'll still have doors and entryways to figure out or replace. By then, it's starting to get expensive.

    It's all either pine or some kind of fir and the stained and sealed finish really dates the interior, IMHO. Screams typical 80s suburbia. Bleh!

    I guess I'll pick an inconspicuous area and try Kilz and paint.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
    Not taking the shot is.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    If really poly, good luck. 16 yrs ago they were using water base on cabinets already. Find a hidden patch to test solvent to find what it really is. If really stained then you have the problem of uneven stain after you remove the finish. For latex/acrylic I found acrylic calk (NOT silicon) fills the dings and can be painted over. I refinished the outside front door on a house, had to sand to bare wood to get the poly out of the wood so next coat would stick. Inside, wife used lemon oil but it was a water base finish on stained wall panels. Yea, realtors want you to paint over the wood to get rid of the 80s look.
    Last edited by popper; 07-01-2018 at 04:05 PM.
    Whatever!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Zinzer cover stain water based is a great primer. I used the oil version for many years before the water based version came out and the oil is still great for nasty stains. The killz products that Home Depot pushes actually require you to sand glossy surfaces and cover stain will stick to gloss and even glass and tile.

    The primer will help build the surface and can be sanded easily and will powder as you sand. It helps fill minor imperfections. Drywall mud sucks for filling wood, as it is too soft. It will dent easily when pressure is applied and the surface is porous when sanded, so it is harder to prime and make it not stand out. Caulk always shrinks at least a tiny bit and isn't easily sandable, plus it is soft as well. Spot filler for auto body work is great, or for deeper areas bondo has products for wood trim. Don't overfill too much as it is very hard, but can be shaped close before it turns completely hard, then final sanded when fully hard. Light weight spackle, patch and paint, is also great for drywall and nail holes in trim. You have to overfill and let it fully dry, then sand, to get the best finish. It does shrink and can be a bit rubbery/spongy in deep holes. Traditional spackle or wood filler/dough seems to work a bit better than light weight, but I used light weight more often as it was more universal and was a bit faster.

    Replacing the trim is very labor and material extensive. To do a nice job, it is a lot of work and requires a great deal of filling nail holes and caulking, then primer and sanding. It depends on how bad the existing work is and what your time, money, and skill level are for trim work and finishing. Stripping and refinishing are a major pain and can be worse than installing new wood, depending on what you are working on.

    Do not paint right over the finished wood. Primer is always best, even with paint and primer in one paints. Paint and primer do different jobs. Paint won't hide and stick to the old surface or sand the way primer will. If the wood finish dates the house and you don't like it, then paint will allow you to fill all the imperfection. Sometimes a few coats of primer and sanding are needed to "resurface" the trim.

    If you can find a product that does restore the look of the wood finish, it is likely to show less dirt and imperfections than paint and will be least expensive and probably the easiest.

    Behr used to be a good paint, but I have been out of the painting business for a few years. When the Ultra paint and primer in one first came out, it worked well for some exterior weathered windows on a fast food joint. Years down the road, it no longer worked well as a primer and in 2012 it sucked as a primer for the drywall in my garage.......should have just gone with my gut and shot and back rolled PVA, but I didn't want to use two different products. Painters have their preference and the availability, price, and performance of the Behr was great for commercial work and higher end residential. The prep, as stated before, is a major factor in a paint job and can make far more difference than the finish you use.
    Last edited by CGT80; 07-01-2018 at 04:51 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone for the advice. Most of the scrapes and gouges I mentioned are mostly cosmetic. A few are kinda deep, but it's mostly 15 years of wear and tear from previous owners. As I said earlier, I think I'll paint it because I don't like the looks of it. Dates the home interior pretty badly.

    I've had a few people tell me Zinzer is better, so I'll try that in a test in a small room. If it becomes a mess, at least it won't be too bad.

    Thanks again everyone. I appreciate the advice.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
    Not taking the shot is.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I was a painter for 30 years.
    If it is polyurethane you can paint right over it with a polyurethane reinforced enamel (oil base) It it is plain old varnish, you can paint right over it with any oil based paint.
    If you want to paint it with a latex paint, you will have to prime it with something good. I haven't been in the business for about 20 years so I don't know what kind of new primers they have out there now.
    A couple of recommendations: if it is a grainy wood like oak, and they did not fill the grain before finishing it, your new finish paint is very likely to show grain through the finish. It depends a lot on the paint. You would want to test a patch to see if the grain shows through.
    As far as sanding, if I were doing the job I would lightly sand the whole thing with 220 grit sandpaper just to provide a bit of roughness to the surface. You don't have to go wild just scuff it a little before painting.
    I am still a strong believer in oil based paints. Especially the new polyurethane paints. I believe if you painted it with that you would never have to paint it again. There may be some young guys here who will huff and puff about how latex is so good.... Some of the EXTERIOR trims that I painted with polyurethane paint are still good ...and like I said I quit the business 20 years ago.
    But oil based paint is not for everyone. If you have never painted with it, you will find that it is a different animal to work with. You may end up putting on too thin of a coat or getting runs and sags. Gotta put it on even and lay it off nicely.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  15. #15
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hannibal View Post
    Thanks to everyone for the advice. Most of the scrapes and gouges I mentioned are mostly cosmetic. A few are kinda deep, but it's mostly 15 years of wear and tear from previous owners. As I said earlier, I think I'll paint it because I don't like the looks of it. Dates the home interior pretty badly.

    I've had a few people tell me Zinzer is better, so I'll try that in a test in a small room. If it becomes a mess, at least it won't be too bad.

    Thanks again everyone. I appreciate the advice.
    Take your time and invest in good brushes. Hate to say it , but the WalMart top of the line is better than the Purdy, IMHO. I am still in the business, I specialize in remodels only, so what I have relayed works today.

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