Removing latex paint but not polyurethane?

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
The previous owners of my house watched too much HGTV and fancied themselves painters. As a result, there are tons of paint splatters all over the shoe moulding and floors, which are finished in oil-based poly. Is there some chemical treatment that we can use to soften the latex paint for removal while leaving the poly intact? I've read rubbing alcohol elsewhere, but COVID-19 has made alcohol very hard to find.
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
Thanks, yes it's more a question of compatibility with polyurethane. I can find a lot of data on solvent compatibility with cast polyurethane plastics but not film coatings. If it's VERY incompatible it will be obvious, but I'm more worried about softening / less perceptible degradation of the poly.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
Basically, you have use a test sample and find which works best.

Typical Solvents to try

Xylene
Naphtha
Denatured Alcohol
Acetone
Lacquer Thinner
MEK
Toluene
Epoxy thinner (synthetic)
Brake cleaner (methanol, Heptane)
Paint thinner
Turpentine
Orange solvent
Kerosene
....... and yes lighter fluid sometimes works on some materials

There are others, and combos of these, these are the one I have in my shop when I need to try the find the correct solvent.

In reality, you start out scientific, but quickly devolve to trial n error
 
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Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
There is a product named OOPS which is mostly xylene. Maybe some oils or ms to slow the drying. It was formulated for removing latex spatter from trim and floors.

I would try the xylene first since the OOPS costs very high for a very small bottle.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
I would try Citrus Solvent (CitriSolv) which is limonene from orange peels. It smells nice too! I'm fairly certain that this will not soften/strip your polyurethane finish but you should test it before.

Are you now back in NC?
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Well in my house the paint splatters (noooo, not mine; really most are from previous owner) don't stick well to the floors (presumably oil based polyurethane). So I mostly scrape with dull tools, starting with harder plastics before using metal, and this generally works. I have not needed to do large areas, and only do the largest most noticeable splats. This most certainly works on fresh latex splats (DAMHIKT).
 

Raymond

Raymond
Corporate Member
Since I have never tried to remove that combination of finishes before - what about using a heat gun? Not too sure what to expect using that but I am interested if someone has used a heat gun in this situation before.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
Good point Raymond, when I need to remove with heat I use a piece of stainless 1.5" x 5"wide channel set it on top of work and use a torch to heat, but then I am old school. You can find the sweet spot on the metal and surface reaction and it will come off nicely. The advantage if possible using an iron piece this way it allows the heat to stay constant. Of course, not useful if it is an articulated moulding.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
Thanks for the advice all. I'm going to give Naptha/xylene a try first, but I'll test it very thoroughly first.

Nope, I've moved to the Buffalo, NY area.
You'll love those northern winters in Buffalo with snow up to your ears and higher from Lake Ontario!

Let us know how well the naphtha/xylene mix worked.
 
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