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Covering up a mural that may be painted over lead paint

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 10:31 am
OK. So my kid really, really needs to have her room repainted.

It is now a cream base color, with a (fairly ugly) series of (fairly large) Winnie-The-Pooh murals over it. They were hand-painted by the previous owners.

The murals are bumpy enough that if I just plain paint over them, they will probably ghost through. That is, you'll be able to see the outline even if it's all one color. (If I'm wrong about that, tell me.)

But here's the thing. The house is old (built in the 20's), and there is very likely to be lead paint under the murals. (We don't know and if you have it tested you lose plausible deniability in terms of reselling the house. You need to state if there is any lead paint.) (The previous owners never had it tested, or lied about it if they did.)

I keep reading about how sanding down anything that might have lead in it is a Very Bad Idea.

How would you recommend that I approach this problem?

Thanks.
 
View best answer, chosen by sozobe
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 10:39 am
I would put a sealer over it and paint it. If a line shows through, you could use some joint compound then to float and smooth it, then touch it up. A friend of mine uses a wet cloth instead of sandpaper to smooth over small patches.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 10:53 am
@edgarblythe,
Excellent advice! Thank you!

Can you give any recommendations on sealers? Or is that just kind of a generic thing?

Would the order be sealer, then join compound (if needed), then primer, then paint?
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 11:27 am
@sozobe,
The paint store person can recommend a sealer better than I can.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 11:33 am
@sozobe,
you could also add a texture...
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 12:07 pm
@edgarblythe,
OK, thanks.

I'd rather not do texture and I'm not sure it would sufficiently disguise the (large) murals anyway.

OK so for the second time in a few days, I asked a question on A2K and then had a brainwave on how to solve it after asking. (What can I say, A2K helps my thought processes.) The brainwave this time was -- do I have any idea what the murals were painted WITH? What if they're washable? (Never attempted 'til now.)

So I grabbed a sponge and set to work. Et voila! Pigment was most definitely coming off. I would guess acrylic but I'm not sure. Definitely water soluble.

I was very smug about this until I noticed that some of the base paint was also wearing down in one area that I was scrubbing particularly hard. (The base paint is cream, bits of maybe green were showing through.) I had thought that scrubbing would just take off the mural paint. On thinking about it, though, scrubbing is basically just wet sanding in a way...?

If I wear gloves, and throw out the sponges when I'm done, is that OK if it's not making dust?

It was only that one small spot that seemed to be wearing through.

Almost none of the mural is completely gone, but it's considerably smoothed out to the point where the parts I've worked on so far should be completely concealable with primer + paint.
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 12:28 pm
@sozobe,
Be careful and use a mask and heavy gloves, sozobe. I was reading that even
a sealer will over time mix with the lead paint and the new lead free paint. I would
not touch that. Additionally, baseboards and window sills as well as door frames
and doors can have lead in them. I think you can buy a free lead kit at any
home depot/paint store.

How about wallpapering the room with white non-descriptive wallpaper and
then paint over that.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 12:58 pm
@CalamityJane,
Maybe I just have to give up on the plausible deniability and get it tested. I think everyone pretty much assumes old houses have lead paint, anyway.

This has been painted MANY times -- I'd guess at least four times since the 80's (i.e. past the lead-free days). The most recent coat of cream paint is from probably 12 years ago.
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 02:58 pm
@sozobe,
I'd do the test, sozobe. Maybe you're lucky and someone has removed much of
the lead paint prior to you. The previous owner who put up the Winnie-the-Poo
mural probably was just as concerned as you are, since it was a child's room, and they might have gone through the trouble of removing/treating the lead paint.
0 Replies
 
Joe Nation
  Selected Answer
 
  4  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 04:13 pm
Wash off the rest of the mural. (Stop scrubbing so hard, relax, You are just trying to make the surface smooth)
let the wall dry.
Look for places that will be obvious bumps and lines.
Work on them some more. Then stop.
Let the wall dry.
Then, one coat of my favorite hiding paint:
http://www.transtools.co.uk/store/images/uploads/PaintingAndDecorating/zinsser-bullys-eye-123-2-5l.jpg

Nothing -----nothing --will bleed through Bullseye 1-2-3. (It's really white lacquer....) It dries in 30 minutes and you can paint it over anything
(aluminum sliding! Graffiti,!!!! slick hard shiny oil wood finishes!) and paint ANYthing over it.
Oil based or latex. It doesn't care.

I wouldn't bother about testing for lead UNLESS at some point you intend to remove all the paint from the walls. (It would probably be easier and safer just to put up 1/4 sheet rock over whatever the wall is.)

Enjoy your newly painted room.

Joe(This is the perfect time of the year to do this)Nation

JTT
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 04:19 pm
@Joe Nation,
Quote:
just to put up 1/4 sheet rock


You can get 1/4 inch sheetrock, Joe?
Joe Nation
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 04:28 pm
@JTT,
Oh, sure. It's a regular stock item in lumberyards.
Get them to deliver it to you.
Joe(it's really easy to break.)Nation
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 04:39 pm
@Joe Nation,
Yeh, I used that stuff and it worked wonderfully.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 06:19 pm
@Joe Nation,
Excellent, thanks Joe!

It was a particularly recalcitrant bump that I was working on (it was slowly wearing down but the area just to the right of it was getting a bit too much scrubbing action).

Should I prime the whole room (the rest is plain cream) or just the mural areas?

How worried do you think I should be re: gloves and such?

Oh and re: "this time of year," how important is it for windows to be open? Her room desperately needs new windows -- they nominally open, that is she could get out of two of them (not the third) in a fire or other emergency, but in terms of casual opening they basically don't close. (So it's scary to open them because last time I only barely got them closed after considerable effort and stress.) Other windows nearby (in other rooms) do open, would an open door be enough?
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 07:00 pm
@sozobe,
Oh and re: "this time of year," how important is it for windows to be open?
Quote:
Her room desperately needs new windows -- they nominally open, that is she could get out of two of them (not the third) in a fire or other emergency, but in terms of casual opening they basically don't close. (So it's scary to open them because last time I only barely got them closed after considerable effort and stress.)


Given the age of the house, my inclination is to think that the windows are double hung style. If so, you can take a bar of hard wax and rub it in the channels to help unstick these types of windows. There may even be some other new miracle stuff out there that's specially made for this.

Can you snap a shot of a window and post it?

Thanks, Joe & Osso. I had never seen or heard of 1/4" sheetrock; 3/8", 1/2" and 5/8" yes, but I can see how this might be a common thing for areas with a lot of old houses where you don't want to do a major plaster tearout and the thickness is crucial vis a vis the existing moldings.

It'd also be great for situations with curves.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 07:32 pm
@JTT,
Not sure what the windows are called -- they open outwards, on side-mounted hinges. The wood is messed up (I'll be getting extra paint to deal with touch-up once we finally get the windows replaced, but that's a several-thousand dollar undertaking that we can't afford yet) and the window just doesn't want to come back once it's cleared the windowsill.

I'll take some pics tomorrow.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 07:33 pm
@JTT,
I was posting about the Zinsser product, but I've seen 1/4" drywall available, and this link mentions it as useful for curves..
http://homerenovations.about.com/od/wallsandtrim/a/artdrywallsize.htm
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 07:59 pm
Sorry I didn't keep up. Having computer woes.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Aug, 2010 08:01 pm
@sozobe,
Awning windows, I suspect. Are you in a hi-moisture/rainfall area/high humidity?

The weather strip may be binding or the wood has expanded because it has taken on moisture which would make the weather stripping bind even more.

Is the wood actually rotting or is it just swollen from moisture?

If you can remove the whole awning piece and let it dry, you can then seal it with a clear coat to prevent moisture intrusion and have an operable window until you can replace them.

There is even an epoxy fill product that you can use to restore/rebuild the same window. If you want a link, let me know.

An alternative to new windows are insert windows. With inserts, you don't remove the outside trim, the old window jambs or the inside trim. An insert window can be installed by any handy person in less than an half a hour.

They can be "glued" in place with low expansion foam that will make them much more energy efficient than your old windows.

The outside can have a prefinished metal or plastic trim on it so there's no outside painting/finishing to do.

If you're interested, I'll have a salesman drop by next week ... just kidding. I can provide some links to some really nice insert windows. Every major US window manufacturer, Anderson, Pella, Marvin, makes them.

Don't get buffaloed by the "replacement windows/siding" hype. They are usually high priced, often but not always with inferior quality windows.



0 Replies
 
Joe Nation
 
  3  
Reply Tue 3 Aug, 2010 07:58 am
@sozobe,
Should I prime the whole room (the rest is plain cream) or just the mural areas?
Just the mural areas. No sense in wasting the primer.
How worried do you think I should be re: gloves and such?
Not much. Throw them, the gloves, sponges etc, into a plastic bag, then toss the bag.

Re: the windows--
This might be a good opportunity to see what's causing the closing problem. If it's just the window binding on the window frame, the wax idea might just do the trick of slicking things up. (So will some stuff from Elmer's called Slide-all.)http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41oIi4wjQoL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
You can also just scrape at wherever you detect the two surfaces hitting.


But, you've got to get those things to close or wintertime is going to be chilly.

Oh, to answer your question, it's not necessary for the windows to be open when you are painting. People today seem to be much more sensitive to the smell of paint. (I love it!) The only thing to remember is that all of the dust and debris needs to be picked up and tossed before you start painting with the windows open.
A sudden gust of wind and you've started your own mural.

Joe(I call it: Wood Chips and NewsPrint Imbedded in Ivory White)Nation

0 Replies
 
 

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