The short answer is: wait until the surface is clear, smooth, and dry. Before repainting, it’s important to make sure that wooden surfaces are properly prepared. This includes removing any dirt, mold, algae, extra moisture in the wood, and often, the existing layers of paint. Our Speedheater™ Infrared Paint Removers and scrapers can handle all of these issues.
First, Remove the Old Paint
Unfortunately, we usually see new paint jobs on which only the loose, peeling paint was scraped off before new paint was applied. While the house from a distance may look freshly painted, up close the irregular surfaces are unattractive. You want the surface with the new paint to look smooth not pitted. If painted wood is peeling, crazing, or cracking (“alligatoring”), it’s never a good idea to apply a fresh coat of paint over it. Older surfaces usually have multiple layers of paint which should all be removed. Even if the bottom layer is still sticking well and looks good, it can start to crack and peel later and take the new layer of paint with it. In order to ensure that new paint lasts as long as it should, you want to strip the old paint off completely before applying a fresh coat.
Repainting is time-consuming. You want to extend the life of your wood and paint job when you spend the time to repaint. Most paint removal methods do not do either of these well. Methods which are harshly abrasive, such as sanding or shaving, can easily damage the wood. The Speedheater™ Method is gentler on wood than any other paint removal method. It uses low heat, infrared rays to warm paint only to the temperature at which it softens and can be easily scraped away. Infrared heat separates the bottom layer of paint not the top layer like chemicals and abrasive methods do. In addition, only one heating application is usually needed to strip all the layers off. With the Speedheater™ Method, the thicker the paint is, the easier it comes off. The soft paint scrapings come off in clumps instead of creating paint dust. These clumps are easy to collect on plastic drop cloths and then are easy to dispose of. Once paint is removed, our products leave the bare wood surface immediately ready for great adhesion of a fresh coat of primer and paint.
Assure the Wood is Dry
Moisture under paint is the most common reason for paint failure. After thoroughly removing all layers of paint, it’s important to make sure that wooden surface is dry enough to hold a new coat of paint. When using the Speedheater™, the infrared heat not only softens the paint, but it also dries out the wood to the perfect moisture level. An added benefit is that it draws up the natural resin in the dry wood to rejuvenate it.
Ideally, a fresh coat should be applied the same day as the removal when infrared heat is used. This is when the moisture level of the wood might be as low as 8-10%. Dry, bare wood can act like a sponge if left bare for too long. Ocean breezes, rain, or consistently high humidity can raise the moisture level in the wood significantly. For the best results, a moisture meter should be used to determine the proper moisture level for strong, long-lasting new paint.
Interior wood should contain no more than 12% moisture for good paint adhesion. Exterior surfaces should contain no more than 15% moisture. Applying paint to wooden surfaces which have a higher percentage of moisture can affect the lifespan of the paint. This is the reason that power washing and chemicals increase the risk of new paint breaking down. They have pushed or left moisture in the wood. Full drying time is an unknown. Moisture levels that are too high can also lead to paint delamination and wood rot.
Speedheater ™Products Remove Paint Quickly and Easily
The Speedheater™Standard 1100 and Speedheater™ Cobra are great choices for paint removal. These products can be used to strip paint and varnish from interiors, exteriors, windows, furniture, floors, boats, and more. Speedheater™ products provide an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to other paint removal methods.
Please contact us for more information about our products.