Can I remove paint up to a line
February 19, 2015 11:25 AM   Subscribe

So, I want to strip some (matt emulsion) paint off my (plaster) bathroom walls so that I can apply tiles to that section. But! I don't want to have to re-paint the whole room, so I only want to strip the paint up to a straight line where the tiles will end.

Is this something I can reasonably do? Google has failed me. Either there aren't instructions (maybe because it can't be done?) or I can't find the right combination of words.
posted by Dext to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Can you apply the tiles on the paint, if you sand them a bit first?
posted by AwkwardPause at 11:35 AM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'd just tape the wall where you want to go and strip up to that line. You'll probably have some spill over and still have to paint around that point however I don't think you can get that clean a line unless you tile the very top edge over the existing paint.

(that being said, its a bathroom if you're going to go through the hassle of re-tiling I'd spend the couple of hours it would take to re-paint)
posted by bitdamaged at 11:36 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Are you talking about tiling over the plaster or installing some backing board first?
posted by resurrexit at 12:21 PM on February 19, 2015

Is the plaster flat and smooth enough to apply directly? You might be better off putting down cement backer and then tile to avoid headaches. That way you can leave the paint and put quarter round on top of it.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:29 PM on February 19, 2015

I was going to tile over the plaster, I think?

The plaster is flat and smooth enough to apply directly to.
posted by Dext at 12:55 PM on February 19, 2015

Why do you want to strip the paint? Is it loose or peeling in spots? Except inside a shower, wall tile adhesive is pretty forgiving.

FWIW, "matt emulsion" is fairly meaningless to my U.S. ears.
posted by jon1270 at 1:01 PM on February 19, 2015

I wanted to strip the paint because opinions online seem to be divided between "it'll be fine if you rough it up" and "definitely don't tile over paint if you don't want tiles falling on you in the bath". I was going with the safer option.

By "matt" I meant "matte", as in "not gloss paint.

By emulsion I mean, er, emulsion paint? It's an incredibly common term for a type of paint here in the UK. I have no idea what the US equivalent is; didn't know it wasn't a global English term.
posted by Dext at 1:23 PM on February 19, 2015

(emulsion paint = latex paint)
posted by FishBike at 1:45 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Sanding is a lot more precise than chemical or heat stripping and will give you a much better edge. However it's also more labour intensive, messier/dustier and has the potential to damage the plaster/wallboard if you are too aggressive.

I'd strip up to a border on the edge with chemicals/heat, let everything dry/cool, then sand the last little bit with a hand block.
posted by bonehead at 2:59 PM on February 19, 2015

I think it would be better to prime the walls up to your line.
posted by lee at 6:46 PM on February 19, 2015

if the tile isn't in a shower I don't see why you would need to worry, if it is in a shower then you should have backer board unless the adhesion of the paint is very bad or the tile is very heavy you don't need to strip...
posted by at 7:21 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

For tiles applied properly, whether the plaster wall is painted or not is insignificant.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:42 AM on February 20, 2015

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