As part of a video series I worked on with Real Homes, we filmed a little experiment with one of the two original sets of architraves left here at Moregeous Mansions. Years of changes before our time here meant most were long lost and just two survivors remained with layers upon layers of old paint on the Edwardian door frames and surrounding timber. A lot of the detail could no longer be seen and even though it’s traditional to have painted arcs in period city properties, I quite fancied revealing the original rich pine.
Research and previous use suggested that a product called PeelAway and you can watch the video below to see how I got on. I wanted to get a sort of battered, faded grandeur effect, with some paint left on in differing layers and crevices, and the Peelaway worked a treat for this. Yes, you could use a heat gun too, but when Mr M used it on the arcs, I found it was almost too effective for the semi-revealed look I wanted. Plus he’s gets distracted easily and then we get scorch marks.
You can see below how the doorway sits with the surrounding hallway and the exposed brickwork I worked on last year. If the doorway timbers were repainted then yes, they’d look super neat, but I kinda like this distressed feel and how the materials play against each other, contrasting with the elegance of the bedroom beyond.
Ok, the hair straighteners on the table, not so elegant 😉Of course you can brush the Peelaway on more thickly and leave it on longer to get all the paint off and people often do that with plaster cornice, ceiling roses and fireplaces. I used it on a broken corbel that we have here and I can’t tell you how rewarding on a job like that to peel back the layers once it’s worked its magic. If I say it’s like squeezing a really juicy pimple will you think I’m truly disgusting? It’s that kind of Ooooooo I Nailed You satisfaction when you can finally see all the detail.
I posted with a video on cornice work so do take a look at that if this is a job you have planned: here.
This is also a video done by QVC back in 2009 with a live demo. They must have been flogging the product on the station so you can ignore the selling bits, but it’s still interesting in terms of the hows and whys and tips given.
Gallons and gallons of Peelaway were used at our community Withington Baths last year when the staff removed the old Portaflek from the tiles in the restored Bathhouse. Portaflek is the dotty paint which councils used tonnes of in public buildings throughout the 70’s and 80’s. It was tough, knock proof and washable paint and they literally sprayed over original features and tiles. Criminal really, when you think about it, but they did it and that’s that.
This is what it looks like, it’s the spotty one on the left and the paste had been tested on the white section and here is already peeled away revealing the original Edwardian tiles below. We’d tested first whether to use the No 1 or the No 7 – here’s advice on which one to use – and found the 7 worked for us. It’s the one designed for paints used after 1972, and is water based and less ‘caustic’.
The poor staff had to brush the paste onto metres after metres of the tiles, cover it with plastic sheeting and wait two days for it to soften, before peeling and scraping off. A helluva job but one helped no end by the paste.
Here’s the after. It was worth all their hard work, but the staff might take a few more years to get over all that sweat filled labour 😉
Talking of Portaflek, Mr Moregeous and I went on a tour of London Road recently, the old fire station in Manchester where he trained as a fireman in the 80’s before it was sold for a song by Manchester City Council to Britannia Hotels. For decades it was left to rack and ruin by that dreadful company and it upset him every time we drove past it, to see ‘his’ magnificent building decay and stand empty. Thank goodness an amazing campaign by passionate heritage lovers kicked started its revival and now Allied London have some amazing plans to revitalise and restore this heroic building.
On our tour, which Mr M desperately wanted to break away from and explore his old working/eating/sleeping quarters, I noticed lots of Portaflek on the walls. Quite rightly the London Road tiled walls were rejecting this spotty nonsense and revealing their own historic beauty. I wish it had been this peeling easy for the Baths staff and I wonder if they’ll use Peelaway or have some other magical product for larger commercial properties. I know, I wonder about things like that. It’s not normal. I’m clearly a paint geek.
What about you, do you have a paint peeling nightmare looming up ahead of you? If so, I hope this has been useful x
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