I’ve been posed one question often recently which is; do you use a chemical paint remover or steam machine to remove paint from a cornice/ceiling rose. In this post I’ll explain my preferred choice, and a brief summary of the two options.
I use a chemical paint remover; however, I can easily argue for and against in this debate. For one, I’ve never encountered a problem myself using a chemical (although I’ve heard many others have). The chemical I prefer to use must be applied and left for a minimum of 24 hours to take effect which can seem time consuming and costly to the client. Once the chemical has been removed, the distemper and general build-up of dirt must be removed with lots of clean water, various brushes and ‘picking tools’. On average, one would hope to apply and remove 3 metres of paints per day, including the cleaning with water. There must be strong health and safety measures adhered to when carrying out this method as the chemical is extremely potent – I have the scars to prove this! As long as the chemical isn’t left on the plaster for more than the recommend maximum allowance of 72 hours, then there is no reason for the plaster to be damaged. A test patch is always recommended before carrying out any extensive work to determine the suitability of the chemical for the job (there are lots of chemicals available for use).
The steam method is an interesting one which I’ve seen used to good effect. There are two reasons I choose not to use it which are as follows:
1) I don’t like to pressure water into old plasterwork for obvious reasons. Although you can debate that you may only need to use the same amount as required in the chemical method, I don’t like the fact it is forced in with a pressure gun.
2) Adding water is one thing, but boiling hot water puts me off even more. Although I haven’t tested this in a lab, my gut instinct tells me that this method brings more risk and therefore more chance of damaging the existing plasterwork.
As previously mentioned, I’ve seen other companies use the steam method correctly with an equally fantastic outcome, and I’m sure that I could find bad attempts on both options. Perhaps I’m just a one trick dinosaur who likes what he knows and knows what he likes!