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Can I paint over my stained woodwork?

Stained woodwork can be painted over and last a long time if done correctly. Many homeowners and painting contractors alike think that or have heard that you can simply prime and paint.

This is not the case. Your woodwork will be certain to peel or chip if you do not follow the proven process of painting currently stained trim.

Over the last 20 years WC Painting has had the privilege of assisting many of our customers in painting over their stained woodwork. Many of them were looking to turn that dark, dingy stained trim into clean, glossy, bright white woodwork.

For decades and decades having stained trim was thought to be the “rich, elegant” look, and it was. From 1959 through 1989, builders were looking to re-capture that rich look by offering their “new” homeowners stained trim. It was also thought that once you had stained trim you would “never paint over it”.

Over the years as homes were resold, passed down through generations, or inherited; new younger generations were starting to look into the possibilities of painting over that stained woodwork to essentially bring their home to the stature that they felt was “up-to-date”.

The painting industry was not ready for this influx of homeowners inquiring about what to use to paint over stain. The consensus was that people could use a simple lead-based or oil-based primer.

This method would prove not to be very affective as the stain was bleeding through and not bonding to the poly that was present on their woodwork.

The painting industry, through innovative thinking and the growing need to produce a product that could be used to paint stained trim started to research, formulate, and manufacture such a product. They decided to offer a shellac-based priming product to consumers. This product along with the use of what was and still is known as a “de-glosser”, would come to be the only affective process for painting over stained woodwork.

WC Painting Services still uses this process today. Through the years WC Painting has developed a system for painting over trim that assures our customers that their trim will look like it was just painted for years and years to come.

Our secret? To provide our customer’s trim with triple protection against peeling, chipping, and bleeding.

We start by removing most of the gloss from all of the surfaces. Even the highest quality paint products will not adhere to a glossy surface. We do this by sanding all of the surfaces with two different courses of sandpaper.

Once this initial sanding is complete we use a de-glosser to remove any remaining gloss on the surfaces that the sanding might not have eliminated.

We then caulk all joints and seams on all the trim with a 55 year 100% acrylic, silicone caulking and fill all nail holes with DAP painter’s putty. The woodwork will then need to be cleaned with a Tack cloth. A tack cloth is a cloth that possesses a sticky substance and is used to eliminate any dust on the surfaces caused by sanding.

The woodwork is then ready to be primed. A shellac-based primer should be used to help seal in the stain. WC Painting will sometimes double prime older, darker, or dirtier woodwork to assure proper adhesion and coverage of the top coat of paint.

Once the primer is allowed to dry we will then lightly sand the surfaces. The primer will cause the grain in the wood to rise. This will cause the woodwork to be quite rough in places.

Once the sanding is complete we will then tack cloth the woodwork down again and follow that with a wipe down with paint thinner. This will finish off the preparation of the trim and make the trim ready to accept a top coat.

WC Painting only uses the highest quality finish paint the industry has to offer and suggests that two finish coats be applied to the woodwork after the primer has been allowed to dry for a time equal to that suggested by the manufacturer. This re-coat time can be found on the back of the can of primer.

W.C Painting Services has used this process for years. We have helped many, many customers brighten up their stained woodwork and kitchen cabinets. We assure you that if you follow the process outlined above without waiver, you too will have the same professional result that our customers have enjoyed for years and years to come.

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