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How to Restore Original Wood Trim

Updated on April 14, 2009

Woodwork Restoration

Restoring the original wood trim in your home doesn't require any skill, but it can be very exhausting and labor intensive.

Depending on the age of your home, you may have six to seven layers of paint on the original woodwork in your house. Be prepared to take your time and find the best tools to get the job done.

It's important to note that many older homes contain lead-based paint. It may not be on the surface of your woodwork, but if you have multiple layers of paint, there's a possibility that it could be lurking beneath.

For more information on the dangers of lead-based paint and to learn how to identify its presence, read: How to Tell if Your Home Contains Lead-Based Paint.

Prior to beginning your renovation project, it's important to make sure that you have the right tools to make your wood restoration project easier and less time consuming.

These are the materials you will need:

  • Paint Stripper
  • Paint Brush
  • Disposable aluminum foil pan
  • Scraper
  • Sandpaper (if you can not see wood grain after you use paint stripper, use heavy grade, otherwise use medium grade sandpaper)
  • Electric sander (this may come in handy)
  • Breathing mask
  • Rubber Gloves

There are many different manufacturers of paint stripper. Prior to choosing one, be aware that most chemical strippers contain methylene chloride. In most countries, it's labeled a toxic chemical and should be treated as such.

To ensure your safety, open your windows and use a breathing mask. Always wear rubber gloves and wash your skin immediately if the chemical comes in contact with your skin (it burns!) Never eat, drink or smoke while using this chemical.

Step 1: Cover your flooring completely. If you drop chemical stripper on your flooring, it will eat your flooring!

Step 2: Protect yourself with gloves and mask.

Step 3: Pour the liquid chemical stripper into the aluminum foil pan. Some chemicals are thin, while others are gel. Only add a little at a time, if you need more, you can add more to the pan later.

Step 4: Dip your paintbrush into the chemical stripper and apply it to the woodwork evenly.

Step 5: Leave the chemical stripper on the wood trim for a minimum of fifteen minutes. The paint will bubble and you'll know when it's ready.

Step 6: Begin scraping the paint off with your scraper. Continue to do this until the majority of the paint is gone. Your goal is to see the wood grain. If you don't see it, reapply chemical stripper and start again.

Step 7: Let the wood dry out completely and begin sanding. If your sandpaper has what appears to be wet paint or paint clumps on it, the wood is too wet to sand.

Step 8: Once you complete your project you're ready to stain the wood any color you want!


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    • profile image

      Marilu 3 years ago

      Smac-kdab what I was looking for-ty!

    • profile image

      Jenay 3 years ago

      This could not posblsiy have been more helpful!

    • futonfraggle profile image

      futonfraggle 8 years ago

      Thanks for the kind words, Peggy! Yup. Sure is a lot of eblow grease involved! The little guy in the picture is one of our babies. Spoiled rotten ;)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I love your avatar! Is that cute dog a part of your family?

      Good job on this hub and as you said.......lots of elbow grease involved.

    • futonfraggle profile image

      futonfraggle 9 years ago

      Thank you C.S. Alexis!

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 9 years ago from NW Indiana

      Labor is RIGHT and you covered all the bases on this subject. Good job,

      C.S. Alexis

    • futonfraggle profile image

      futonfraggle 9 years ago

      No, it's not. I wish I did take photos when I stripped the paint off of our wood trim. What a messy job! I couldn't wait to get done. It looks fasntastic now, the stairs are the next big job ; )

    • Jared L profile image

      Jared L 9 years ago from Singapore

      is that you in the photo? U must be really good with your hands!