Pittsburgh — Three paintings ago our house had a coat of a shiny enamel which was easy to wash. Succeeding paint jobs have been disappointing. The paint is peeling and is not washable. In the past I've asked the painter to use enamel, but he replies that the new paints are restricted in the use of lead. What shall I do in the spring when I have to repaint? A reader
Why did the paint peel? The answer probably lies in the inadequate preparation of the original enamel surface. To achieve adhesion, the surface should have been thoroughly cleaned and deglossed by sanding.
New restrictions on lead paint have nothing to do with the sheens now on the market shelf. The painter's response was only talk and nothing more.
If you wish a glossy finish on the woodwork, use an oil-based or acrylic paint.
To repaint a flat surface with a glossy enamel, sand and scrape off the loose and flaking paint film. Then apply one or two coats of enamel, depending on the porosity of the old painted surface.