Stripping and Re-using Old Painted Trim

We are in one of the final phases of our decade-long remodel – putting up door trim. We wanted to use some old (and decrepit) painted trim that we had removed during the demo, but it looked like crap. But when we looked a little closer, it just looked like crap on the surface, so we decided to get the heat gun out and remove the several layers of paint that were gunking it up.


Old trim, before stripping.

It went pretty quickly and was much easier and less messy than using a chemical (or citrus-based) stripper. There were still fumes though, so we used masks and good ventilation. After removing the paint, we gave it a quick sanding with a random orbital sander, filled/sanded some nail holes with wood filler, then 2 coats of paint with a self-priming paint.

Looks like new (or at least less crappy)!

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6 thoughts on “Stripping and Re-using Old Painted Trim

  1. You make it look pretty darn easy. I had no idea those heat guns could do that. I started refinishing my Tea Trolly a whiled ago and have bought several strippers. They all turn to glue and don’t take off this nasty butt varnish that seems to be on it. I should get one of those. They turned out really good. I’ll have to keep that paint/primer in mind. Can it be tinted or you use as is?

    • Hi Boomdee, I’ve never removed varnish with a heat gun (only paint) but I looked online and it sounds like it is a great way to go. Here’s a link to a discussion forum of boat restorer people:

      The paint can be tinted to whatever color you want, which is great. One problem though is the whole “sheen” thing – I got eggshell because I was afraid of too much sheen, but I think I erred on the side of matte. Next time I would go with satin so there is a little more contrast between the walls (flat) and the trim. Live and learn.

      • What a great link, thanks so much for sending it. When the weather warms up (if it ever warms up), I’m dying to get back at it. This Condo leaves me no place to work except an unheated attached single garage. I thought I could use the driveway last summer but there’s this crazy tree that leaks stick syrup all over everything including the railings, my planters and don’t even think of parking a car there. With a heat gun doing the work, I can just buy a drop sheet and work in the kitchen :D Awesome.

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