We were thinking of sandblasting the radiators, but when Steve mentioned this to our plumber, he said he had this great industrial strength stripper we could use that would remove the layers of paint lickety split.
It is a highly concentrated methol chloride. It is not for the faint of heart.
At left you see what we started out with. Chipping paint and diminished detail from the layers of paint applied over the years.
Steve set up what I like to call our own personal toxic waste dump and got to work. Apologies to all the environmental purists out there. At least we are contaminating our own land and not someone elses.
As soon as I saw the set up the first thing that I said to Steve was (with sarcasm), "Groundwater contamination....Oh that's just great."
It's pretty damn disgusting. And to think I was thinking of growing vegetables in this little bed. Um, I don't think so. In fact, it's funny because people ask me why I don't grow vegetables because I seem to like gardening so much. I tell them every time that I won't do that until I change out the soil because I've sanded and scraped so much lead paint into our yard, I would not want to eat anything that grew there!
Usually I get a strange look when I say this, but you guys know just how much wood has been handled in my yard. I'm sure you understand.
It took about 6 applications to clean off the majority of the paint.
Here's a close up of the chemical working.
Then we took a drill with a wire brush attachment and ground off the remaining paint build up.
Next we hit it with White primer spray paint. The detail really came back.
We then spray painted it with a charcoal gray. This is the first coat. I am really taken with the results. The improvement is pretty spectacular I think.
A few tips:
Make sure and tape over the valves when stripping, grinding, and spray painting. You don't want anything getting in there.
Wear long chemical proof gloves and safety glasses.
We think that sandblasting or power washing would get the remaining paint and rust off after the stripping, which would mean you wouldn't have to paint them and could leave them au naturale. How cool would that be?