In our new house, we have discovered that the previous owner simply added a new layer of paint to the entire house whenever it began to peel. The paint job around the window sill and trim is particularly bad so everything is lumpy and bumpy. There are drip marks all over and layers of cracking paint.

Can someone with painting experience please advise me on this problem?

I am thinking that I need to scrape off all of the old paint first and then paint again. What is the easiest way to go about this project? If I scrape it all off, what precautions should I take to ensure we don't have the peeling paint issue again?

paintlump paintlump2

  • The best way to avoid the peeling paint problem in the future (if you do remove the paint, and do beware of lead paint as @bitsmack says) is NOT to paint. Take it back to bare wood and give it an oil/wax finish... I'd also bet that a large part of the problem with the windowsills is water condensing on them (or on the windows and running on to them) in the winter, with a possible additional contribution from rain when open in the summer. A classic problem of windowframes in cold climates with advanced age.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 1, 2014 at 2:16

1 Answer 1


Removal is your best bet. Whether you use a heat gun, which much care will be needed since burning what will be bare wood eventually can easily occur. Also you will need to wear a respirator to get past any harmful fumes from the off gassing of the heated paint. Various shapes of scrapers will still be needed to clear out the crevices to freshen up the look of the existing trim. You have some nice trim there it would be great to reveal it from under all the layers.

There is another way top go, with paint remover. There is a brand that uses a cheesecloth that is imbedded into the remover and it allows many layers to lift off at one time. Something to consider and research.

The heat gun treatment will only need a fine sanding and dusting to get a paintable surface. Some paint removers will need a neutralizer in some cases, rinsing in others. All depends on the products recommendations. Fine sanding and dusting is recommended here too. I give you a chance to check the quality of the removal before priming.

  • 2
    @ZeeinBK I agree that it should be removed. Be careful, though, if the house was build in the mid 1970's or before. Lots of paint had lead in it back then, and you'll release it into your house when scraping and sanding... The big box stores have lead testing kits in the paint section. If you do have leaded paint, spend some time researching your options. I bet you'd get some good answers here, if you need them... Good luck :)
    – bitsmack
    Jun 27, 2014 at 19:38

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