The Accidental Paint Remover

by Josh on April 20, 2006 · 6 comments

in Journal,Windows

I have written a few posts lately about the tedium of paint stripping. So accidentally stumbling onto a method to quickly strip paint and finish off doors and mouldings should be good news, right?

Well, before I answer that thrilling rhetorical question, let me reveal this miracle of paint stripping technology. Drum roll… Double-sided tape for window insulator kits. Here’s how the accidental paint stripper works:

  1. Apply the double sided tape and plastic to the window moulding and shrink the plastic according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Remove the tape and plastic gently and watch as layers of paint or even thin layers of the wood itself are easily lifted from the surface of the moulding.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 seasonally as necessary to reduce heating costs, or until the moulding is completely free of paint.

I know, you’re thinking this sounds too good to be true: a paint stripper that saves money on your heating bill. Well, believe it, my friends. Here’s the genuine, un-retouched, photographic proof of this remarkable paint stripping system:

paint stripped from door

more paint stripped from door

And when the moulding is not painted, the tape can actually pull off bits of wood:

wood removed from moulding

more wood removed from moulding

So is this accidental paint stripper good news? No.

Am I pleased to have a new tool in my paint-stripping arsenal? Not in the least.

I only wanted to keep the winter drafts out of my kitchen. Although I am stripping paint from some windows and doors, these ones were not on that list. But thanks to my accidental paint remover, I’ve got more moulding to sand and refinish, and a door to either repaint or fully strip.

I’m miffed about the damage this tape did to the windows, but now I am more motivated than ever to get my windows weatherstripped and winterized tight enough that I can end my seasonal shrinkwrapping altogether.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura (plainstext) April 20, 2006 at 3:31 pm

Amazing just how efficient that pesky tape can be. One trick we’ve learned over the years is to heat the tape up a bit with a hair dryer or heat gun, which minimizes (at least to a degree) the paint and/or wood damage.

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Josh April 20, 2006 at 3:53 pm

A fine tip, Laura, thanks. Any bets on whether I’ll remember it a year from now?

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Jana April 22, 2006 at 6:36 am

Tape is soooo frustrating!! A few years ago I painted stripes on our foyer wall. Three different widths, three different colors. Took me forever. As I removed the tape from the wall it also pulled up some paint. So frustrating. Am feeling your pain.

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Allison April 23, 2006 at 9:23 pm

How frustrating! I haven’t used those insulating kits in years, but I remember they were a pain to apply. Now this! There’s nothing worse than peeling paint when you don’t want to strip wood. Oh, well. Live and learn, I guess. Good luck with all the repairs!

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Allison April 23, 2006 at 9:27 pm

Sounds like an exciting project. And, hey, don’t worry about planning too far ahead. Most of us get in trouble for not planning enough. Can’t count the number of times I’ve started a project – or two – on a whim and regretted the jump to insanity. Keep us posted!

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Josh April 24, 2006 at 8:06 am

Frustration is the resounding theme here. In addition to the tape itself, latex paints may be partly to blame, too. I don’t think they “bite” very well into the wood or wall and the skin they form doesn’t tear cleanly when lapped over masking tape. I’ve had paint come off the wall just because a television cable was pressed against it. That’s not right.

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