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Question DetailsAsked on 4/27/2014

All wooden doors are painted with water-based paint over oil-based. All are peeling. What to do?

The previous owners of our house had all the wooden moldings and doors painted when they sold. However, water-based paint was used over oil-based paint. In short order, all doors and moldings are chipped or peeling. Doing have to strip everything, or is there a product that reliably paints over oil paint?

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2 Answers


Ouch - basically over oil there are primers to allow latex after that, or alternatively you can heavily sand the oil based to provide "tooth" for the latex - though not as good a practice. Even the primers do not do as good a job in my mind - to me, once oil painted, always oil painted unless stripped. Unfortunately, while a specific primer might have helped BEFORE it was repainted, that does not help you now.

You need to find a good old-time painter to advise you on this - unfortunately, because it is generally chipping and peeling and not just one place, it sounds like they probably did not even thoroughly wash the surfaces first either - just painted over as was. Either way, repriming and then repainting is NOT going to help now - the existing latex will just peel from under the primer. Therefore, sorry to say it, but everything should be stripped or at least very heavily sanded to remove most of the oil paint, or replaced - which in today's labor environment, commonly means replacing moldings and cheap doors as the cheaper alternative, and removing and stripping only the most expensive doors and trim. Generally speaking,you cannot reasonably strip in place due to high probability of wall and floor damage - so anything being stripped has to be remvoed to work on it. And to do that, you would need a remodel contractor as you are talking finish carpenter and painter services both, and need one contractor controlling both so they cannot play the "his fault' game to explain any unsatisfactory results. Hopefully you do not have any plaster moldings involved - I have seen some terrible painting mistakes on them.

Depending on how recent this purchase was, I would be talking to your real estate agent and home warranty company and maybe an attorney about recourse and about possible recovery for hidden defects in the home, and also about whether there is any real or implied warranty on the paint job that you can claim against. I would not give you better than maybe 1 in 3 odds, but probably worth checking out as you are talking in the range of probably a couple of thousand $ work if this is happening all over the house. Sorry - and especially distressful on a new home that you undoubtedly had such good feelings about, too.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


remove the waterbased paint with a sharp putty knife, pressure washer, or sandblaster the best results would be to use the putty knife remove the majority then pressure wash and hand sand (hand sanding needs a backing pad never sand with just your hand) water down again wait till the next day when it is completely dry and paint with oil based again if you do not want oil based use a high quality paint such as valspar ultra just make sure you taken the paint down there is also chemicals you can use but if you already have the other tools the chemicals are expensive and make sure the chemical does not touch your skin for the water based paint stripper would be perfect such as kleen strip you can get it at walmart where as mineral spirits or acetone for the oil based depending on the oil based wether it is a laquer or enamel

Source: Owner of TNT home improvement

Answered 6 years ago by tnt

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