My wife was prepping our kitchen to be painted this weekend in our 1920's era condominium. Presumably lead paint is present but we do wear masks when working.
There's an old door and door frame, and an old wooden window frame in one corner of the kitchen. Both of them had paint that was thick, bubbling and cracking in places and looked like it had many layers of paint. We were concerned that it wasn't a good enough surface for painting. My wife decided to apply chemical stripper to strip the surfaces before we move ahead with painting.
It appears at this point to have been a huge mistake. So far we've done one round on the door and two rounds on the window frame. The first layer of paint is coming up (sort of) but there appear to be at least 3-5 more layers of paint underneath that and they're all super stubborn and seem resistant to the chemical stripper. Each round has been followed by hours and hours of elbow grease with little benefit. At this point it seems as though the chemical stripping approach will never work and the surface seems further away then ever from being ready for new paint.
I'd love to just paint over this but now the surface is completely wrecked and I have no idea how we'll ever get a surface smooth enough for painting. What should we do next? Should we keep going with rounds and rounds of chemical stripping which might never work? Is there some way to cut our losses and make this surface paintable? We are also considering giving up and calling in the pros but would really prefer not to as I don't want to let a stranger into our home during the pandemic and we've taken a few pandemic-related financial blows lately as well. I'm not even sure a pro would consider this job in its current state anyway.
Edit / Update:
Ok I'm back! I'm happy to report that this was fairly well resolved. Here are the final, painted photos: https://imgur.com/SlkIEvQ https://imgur.com/H16z2OT What we ended up doing was: 1.one more round of chemical based stripping with a ton of elbow grease, wiping down the surface with water to clean it up 2. using a primer specifically for containing lead based paint (Eco Bond) 3. filling with "MH Ready Patch" (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BQURN8/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_G5ASEbZG89JFM ) in order to smooth out some of the imperfections, followed by hand sanding. We had to do two rounds of this. 4. primed again with Eco Bond 5. primed with a normal paint primer 6. painted with our chosen paint for the door and window.
It looks pretty good, if you look closely you can still see some of the scars but it looks better than before where there were so many layers of thick paint that were cracking and the features of the door were starting to get soft. It looks much sharper than when we started now. Thanks to this community for so many helpful thoughts!