Wednesday, August 3, 2011


M’kay. Please tell me that you knew this post was about paint stripping. ’Cause my blog is definitely G or PG.

Early this year, I got a lovely idea. The boys’ bathroom, which is also the bathroom-that-everyone-who-visits uses, needed work. But it needed to be cheap and do-it-yourself. Over Spring Break, Luke and I repainted the ceiling and the trim. Then I fixed and re-grouted the old honeycomb tile. Now that summer is waning and I didn’t get any house projects done, I decided the bathroom door and the bathroom linen closet door needed doing.

Cal and I bought heavy-duty stripper. The metal container is covered with skull-n-crossbones and “peligro” warnings. Cal took down the doors and brought them outside. The bathroom now has a privacy sheet—my boys aren’t complaining, but they aren’t impressed. Our dog Jezebel thinks it’s cool.

Today I started stripping. Then I found out that 70+ years of varnish, stain, and paint does not come off easily even with peligro stripper. I also discovered that bare skin which comes into contact with peligro stripper gets chemical burns. Finally, I discovered that even though I coated myself with death-to-mosquitoes bug repellent and the air was redolent with essence of toluene and other vile chemicals, the mosquitoes still bit me. And when I scratched my bites, the toluene does not make the bites less itchy, it just makes them burn like...well, you know.

After four hours of stripping, I now have a “box” full of scraped paint. One door is down to the wood grain after five rounds of stripping. The other isn’t close after three. And, of course, this is only the first side. Round two is Wednesday.


  1. Gee, I didn't even know the more potent strippers were even available anymore. The one I used years ago did an amazing job of getting off every layer down to the bare wood, (in one smelly fell swoop!)but the stuff I see in home improvement stores these days, although kinder to the environment, doesn't do nearly as good a job. Smells safer, too. Since yours came marked with a skull and crossbones, it sound more like the old stuff.

    As for the mosquitoes, for me, applying insect repellent is like providing the bugs with a nice sauce for their meal.

  2. My mom always says her first job was as a stripper. She worked for a company that refinished pianos. You guessed it--she stripped old varnish and paint :)

  3. Susan--I'd love to use whatever used to be available. One exposure to something nasty has to be better than multiple exposures to something semi-nasty.

    Rowenna--:) We have friends who call themselves "The Stripper and the Druggie." (She restores antiques and he's a diabetic.)

  4. Ahhh! Please don't burn yourself! Wear gloves! I bet you never knew stripping could be so hard! LOL

  5. Ooh, yeah, what Samantha said. Be careful! It sounds like that stuff would burn a hole to China. Geez.

  6. I didn't know this post was about paint.

  7. "Stripper and the druggie?" Heh heh. That's hilarious.