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Tips on repainting the trim of a house

Q. We plan to repaint the exterior window trim and doors on our 40-year-old redwood house. Old layers of paint have to be removed. Would you give us some tips on how to remove the old paint with a torch? Should we then use oil-base or acrylic paint? Our main concern is durability. Would two layers of paint and/or base add to its longevity?

* Would an epoxy paint on our outdoor wooden deck be a good idea? Jarmila Segert Pacific Palisades, Calif.

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A. Our sympathetic, experienced paint consultant urges you to avoid a torch in removing the old paint: it's too dangerous.

Rather, he suggest using the safer paint heater, which essentially does the same as a torch but without the flame.

Another alternative is to use a heavy-duty paint remover which is messy but safer still. Greater durability comes from acrylic as opposed to oil-base paint , if you are talking about the top coat. Acrylic paint has better color retention, more flexibility in the long run, and tends to chalk less over its lifetime. Two or three coats provide better durability than a single coat.

* As to the outdoor deck, if bare wood, apply a semitransparent stain in preference to paint. Stain lasts longer and will not chip as does paint film from exposure.

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