When Paint Peels
When Paint Peels

During the New Year’s holiday, I went to visit my daughter and her family in Alpine, Texas. You know where Alpine is ….as far west as you can get before you march into New Mexico. It’s a five-hour trip, but the mountains make the trip worth it.

They are renovating a home there and they asked me about a problem they are having in the bathrooms. My daughter showed me how the paint is just peeling off the cabinets. She asked me if the problem was a latex painted over an oil based paint. I showed her that the finish on the base coat of paint was very shiny. The peeling had nothing to with latex or oil…. someone had just painted over a shiny surface. It’s like trying to paint over laminate. It may lay down, but it won’t stick. It will eventually peel, or flake and you are faced with removing all the paint and starting over.

You have two choices when painting over a shiny surface. You can sand or prime. Many homeowners choose to prime because of all the dust sanding causes. Ben Moore makes some great primers that are wonderful for cabinets, doors and woodwork. Fresh Start, Advance, and Sure Seal are all primers that will make you a professional when it comes to prep work. And let me tell you, it’s the prep that makes all the difference.

Selecting the right tape is important also. Less expensive tapes can bleed through when you are trying to get a sharp finish. Frog Tape is more expensive but is definitely worth the money. They call it “paint block technology.” In other words, the edges of the paint create a barrier that doesn’t allow the paint to seep through. So, if you are painting cabinets next to a wall, you need mask off the wall. That way if your brush got out of line and hit the wall, no paint would mark the wall surface. Frog Tape can be left in place for up to 21 days. It will give you a flawless edge.

If you do decide to sand (my favorite) just keep a shop vac close at hand. Choose varying grits of sandpaper so you get a smooth finish. But remember, you don’t have to sand that much, just enough to knock the gloss off the paint. After sanding, clean with a degreaser. Zep Cleaner and Degreaser and Krud Kutter are both good degreasers. If you still have some Holy Cow, use that. Then you will need to rinse before painting.

Pick a good brush. If you are going to paint with oil, use a natural bristle brush. If you are going to paint with a latex, use a synthetic brush. Think of it this way…. you would use a natural bristle brush on your hair, which has oil in your scalp. Natural bristle brushes have a hollow shaft, and if you use them for latex paint, they suck the water out of latex paint.

If you have a paint mishap, and its latex paint…. use Lift Off Latex Paint Remover. Lift Off products take care of ink, graffiti, tape and latex paint. And what’s great is how it takes off paint. It doesn’t thin down the paint, because that would just smear the paint. Lift off breaks the molecular bond of the paint. If it’s oil paint, use Goof Off.

What’s left? Clean up. So, if you painted with oil, Krud Kutter Brush Cleaner makes an outstanding brush cleaner. If you bought an expensive brush, you want to take good care of it. Purdy makes a brush comb. So, if you get a little dried paint in the bristles, soften it up with the cleaner and then brush out the thicken paint. Keep the original sleeve that the brush came in and once it’s clean and dry…. put it back in the sleeve and the bristles will stay nice. If you painted with latex paint. It’s so easy. Soap and water.

I am going to include a tip with each article this year! So here is your first one.
Don’t allow brushes to soak in a can filled with cleaner or water. After a while the bristles with soften and the weight of the brush will bow the bristles. It will ruin the brush.