Picture the scene. Itâ€™s spring, fruit trees are in bloom, and youâ€™ve finished reviewing the post-winter condition of your farm buildings. And, hmm … the paint jobs are looking a little worse for wear.
A good coat of paint can make all the difference for extending the life of wooden buildings. If paint is peeling and flaking off your barn, garden shed, farmhouse, etc., itâ€™s time to freshen up the paint. Youâ€™ll seal out moisture and block harmful ultraviolet rays.
But before you start painting, you need to remove the peeling and flaking paint. That means a lot of paint scraping or pressure washing, depending on the size of the job and the time and tools you have available.
Perhaps youâ€™re thinking, â€śDo I really need to scrape all that paint?â€ť When faced with a big project, itâ€™s tempting to simply paint over old paint and assume the fresh coat will stop any further peeling and flaking.
Read more: Follow along on this new farm garden shed build!
Yes, You Need to Scrape That Paint
Unfortunately, skimping on scraping is a bad idea. Painting over loose paint increases the likelihood of the new paint peeling off with the old.
You might think youâ€™re saving time and effort. But if your paint job needs to be redone the following year, your work has been largely wasted.
But Wait … Thereâ€™s an Exception
Before you dive in and start scraping paint, thereâ€™s an important exception to keep in mind. If youâ€™re dealing with an older building (especially those built before 1978), there may be lead paint. Even if the outermost layer of paint isnâ€™t lead-based, itâ€™s possible older layers contain lead.
Lead paint is a health hazard and scraping it can generate dangerous lead dust. So identification and removal of lead paint is best left to an expert.
Do I have to Scrape It All?
If youâ€™ve determined your peeling paint isnâ€™t lead-based, then youâ€™re free to start scraping away the old paint so the new paint has a solid surface to which it can adhere.
But hereâ€™s the thing: You donâ€™t necessarily have to scrape away it all.
The point is to eliminate peeling and flaking paint. If some of the paint is in good shape and doesnâ€™t want to scrape away, thatâ€™s fine. You donâ€™t need to damage the wood trying to scrape away every last bit of paint.
You can go over the old paint with new paint.
Read more: Check out these tips on how to paint a barn.
Give That Pressure Washer a Try
Circling back to the beginning, scraping isnâ€™t the only way to remove old paint. If you have the means, pressure washing can actually be a better approach.
Certainly scraping all the paint off a large barn would be an onerous (and unrealistic) job. A pressure washer makes quick work of large tasks and has the added benefit of washing away dirt, mold, mildew and more. Youâ€™ll wind up with freshly cleaned surfaces stripped of paint and ready for fresh coats.
Removing old paint might not be as fun as applying new paint. But itâ€™s a necessary job that reaps dividends.