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LarsonBros
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Hey everybody,

I do mostly re-paints and not many re-stain projects but I've committed to stripping a rough sawn cedar ceiling that I believe is a solid stain in order to apply a semi-transparent (It's pretty high up and Im embarrassed to admit that I thought it was a semi-transparent when I bid it, though so did the client and the other painters who came out). Today I began applying flood stain remover by garden sprayer while scrubbing with a small deck broom. The coating didn't seem to be eaten away like a typical exterior semi transparent (I've never stripped a solid before so I dont know what its like) and only gummed up and had to be wiped away with a rag to remove it. Does this sound like maybe its a paint, or am I just not doing this correctly? After spraying the ceilling, scrubbing, spraying and finally spraying with water (from a garden hose because I cant spray the p washer indoors) the ceiling is in its orignal shape, besides a few spots where the stain seemed to weaken and the one bare spot where the gummed up coating was removed by a sanding sponge. What do you guys consider the best (fastest and most cost-effective) method of removing solid from rough sawn cedar?
 

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You may have to change the game plan. There is no way you are going to get a solid off of rough sawn wood without major chemicals and a pressure washer to the point where you will be able to use a semi.

I strip decks and wood no one else can handle and this would be a job I would run from. You can try methylene chloride but you are going to have to get into a full chem suit and respirator if working overhead. Honestly, its not gonna be worth it. It will still require so much sanding that the cedar will be messed up and it probably won't take a finish.
 

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Stripping solid stain(or even most any stain) from rough sawn cedar, over your head, inside, doesn't sound like a $ maker to me. I think I would have passed if that was the only option. I would have suggested prime & paint, a fresh coat of solid stain or get a carpenter and replace. More than likely what you would need to get ($ wise) for what you describe just is not cost effective in that situation and I believe it is part of my/our job as experienced professionals to recognize these things before throwing out numbers and jumping in. If I were you at this point I would just be honest and tell them there is some funky stuff up there that probably ain't coming off and hope they are understanding and maybe you can redirect the project and still save it. If not, either get yourself a dustless sanding set up and block out a few days on the calendar and have at it, or give them back any deposit you took and chalk it up to experience. If you go with the sanding, obviously you will be changing the rough sawn look.
In the future be sure to make a sample on a project where you are not sure before you make commitments. I do this often. Most customers actually appreciate the fact that you want to be certain that what you can provide will be what they are looking for...
 

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If the ceiling is so how you couldn't determine for sure that it wasn't semi T why not talk to your client about painting it ? Otherwise you've got a scary amount of work to do !
 

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Painting in Toronto
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Might be easier to just go over it with a brand new cedar ceiling? rough sawn is cheap right...

I agree with Cliff, I would talk to the client about other options.

I am sometimes surprised at what clients preferences are. Sometimes they don't understand the work involved in staining VS. painting. Or dont really know the difference in products.

I don't know what look they are going for but there might be a way to avoid stripping. maybe a Ben Moore semi-solid?
 

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Ouch.

Live and learn.

I am at the point where the only thing I will do above my head is rolling or spraying. Any process overhead which involves elbow grease is out of the question.
 

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Or take and paint it a light color similar to new wood and gel stain over it(antiquing) and call it a day
 

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Can you convert this to a time-and-materials contract? That's the only way to make money removing paint.

When the customer finally sees the futility, he'll be happy to pay you for a couple of hours of easy ceiling painting.

:)
 

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It's harder to do interior than exterior, but media blasting w/ crushed glass would do the trick. We've used it to take paint off rough sawn cedar siding before. It would be messy and you'd have to tarp off anything you don't want the media to hit, but we know of a lot of contractors who do this on log home interiors. My reply is a bit late so maybe you've already done this, but worth considering if you're still working on it....
 
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