Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week 16: RIP Window Casing

Sorry I'm going out of order, but I'll try to back track the best I can...I just wanted to post this while it was still fresh in my mind...

Above: A pic of Justin before the paint removal madness

In this post, I would like to bid adieu to our beloved window casing. You see, when first bought this house, we really liked its little historical details. However, upon closer examination of these details, Justin and I soon realized that instead of looking "historical and quaint" some of the things in our house were looking more like "old and beat up." Like the window casing in the living room. For some reason or another, all of the wood trim in our house is lumpy and bumpy. Probably as a result of painting on top of uneven surfaces (i.e.: not prepping the surface properly) and/or letting the paint bubble and then paining on top of that. It's honestly a huge mess.

A pic of Judy scraping away.

**Note: We have come to find out that those little white masks are not the appropriate protection when dealing with paint removal/fumes. In a later post you will see what we should have used. Oh, well...I'm sure I didn't need those brain cells anyway.**

In order to try to save the trim and details around the window Justin and I attempted to strip the paint of the window casing in hopes of fully stripping it of its many layers of paint, sanding it down and then painting it with a non-lumpy coat of paint, or possibly even staining it. But, alas that was not meant to be as one task turned out to be multi-day ordeal.

On Saturday, Justin and some of our friends applied an eco-friendly and well-rated paint stripper to our window casing and floor trim.

When we returned the next day, we attempted to strip the paint off of the windowsill and it didn't budge. It had so many layers of paint that it was barely coming off. We figured since desparate times called for desparate measures we need something stronger...something the salesguy at the hardware store referred to as "toxic." So, we bought the stronger stuff home in hopes of it removing more of the paint, but it was to no avail.

And even worse, we discovered this:

(Sorry that this isn't the best picture, not sure if you can see the splintering wood, but the more black, rotted wood was on the other casing.)

Yep, underneath the layers of paint we were able to remove (and still not all of it) we discovered that the wood was rotting.  Standing there, Justin and I looked at ourselves dumbfounded. We couldn't believe that we had spent several hours scraping and scrubbing something that couldn't be salvaged. Realizing that the window casing was beyond repair we moved onto the floor trim.

The good news was that it was coming off a bit easier than the paint on the window casing.

The bad news was that all of it still wasn't coming off. Again I returned to the hardware store to find something that would remove those last bits of paint. One container of mineral spirits and a few brain cells later we were on a roll. However, it was getting late so we had to save the rest of the paint removal/stripping for another day.

Despite us getting irritated and frustrated throughout the whole paint stripping ordeal we learned that as novices a lot of things that we will do in our house will be trial and error. Sometimes, you'll exert a lot of time/money/effort/etc/ and it won't turn out the way you want, like in the case of our window casing. But it doesn't pay to get down about it, you just take your newfound knowledge and use it as a learning experience. Yay, message! ;)