Paint Removal from Copper and Other Uses for Aluminum Foil
click here for the last :: Removing Rust from Hardware
:: aka if there is such a thing as a personal hell – mine would be filled with poorly painted hardware — part 5 and that’s it for me
Copper & Aluminum (Elemental Building Products)
When I left off, I was amped because I had found a way to incorporate a common household product into a home improvement task. Yes, the Reynolds Wrap I had grabbed slyly from the kitchen counter worked very nicely as a light abrasive on my now rust-free shutter hinges. (I was going to find out now if it works on paint removal from copper.)
Later that same day — I employed more aluminum foil (freshly ripped from the box) as surface protection for my field-stoned front stoop. It worked very nicely as I fitted it around my column feet. By keeping it slightly long and folding it over the ends of the “deck” – its fit to the contour of the stone actually gave it its bite/hold. Then, I re-used it.
Now, as I think of the alternatives, it was actually a time saver. No plastic or tape to deal with. No awkwardly folded drop cloth to fight. It just worked — in this situation. But, you know, this got me thinking – What else could I possibly use Reynolds Wrap for, and is aluminum foil actually a toolbox essential?
Cu . . . rses!
As I have been detailing, I am working on fixing the paint on the front of my house. And probably from reading the title on these posts, you might guess that I have a distaste for the ill-advised painting of hardware/metal.
And here lies yet another point in this case: The pseudo-step flashing found at the intersection of my portico’s roof & the house proper. As I found it — that is, when we bought the house, it had a nice glazing of pale yellow paint on it. . . . Expertly done, and this paint was performing nicely.
At the time, I guess, no one knew that there was actually copper under there. That said, I don’t blame our house painter who had no problem just running a brush right over it . . . again. This still left me slivers of paint on the surface — but this day, I could live with that.
Copper in context
I mean – OK I understand the aesthetic reasons, and yes if anyone heralds the “sealing” value of paint, it’s me – but come on. It is copper flashing! You don’t need to paint it.
Sure, copper cannot currently be found on any other part my house. I have removed the once present 3 copper downspouts (which were also painted). This flashing does still fit, though, with the beautifully patina-ed steeples found on the elementary school across the street from us.
OK, maybe a stretch, here, but the fact is — there are few building products that are, well, so elemental. Copper, though a finite resource, lasts — and it is effectively recyclable. It has been used from ancient times on exteriors. And it has even done a pretty excellent job of carrying, what, water around many, many a house.
Copper in its newly installed form is beautiful. Copper in its weathered and oxidized form is beautiful. (It’s ironic really I have heard that copper’s patina, or verdigris, actually adds protection, against corrosion, to the metal.)
Reynold’s Wrap is a little bit like coil stock
I knew going in, and having had some experience working with the removal of paint from metal – my trusted heat gun would not work quite as effectively as it does on wood surfaces. (Is this because of metals’ conductive properties?)
But I tried it; I “burned” for a bit. The slight wave of the installed sheet material was unfortunately making it difficult to remove the paint without digging into its surface.
A little time like that and I, ultimately, opted for some chemical paint stripper. But wait – there would be a problem here. How was I going to protect the surface of the asphalt shingles I want to save, at least, for now? Hmm . . . coil stock . . . ?
Yes, and that is kinda what it is. The Reynolds Wrap – a light-gauge coil stock. OK, again maybe I am stretching here, but you see where I am going. An excessive application of paint stripper would certainly break down the shingles’ granulated surface.
So I stretched it out along the edge of the roofline at the house. (You can see this in the picture above.) Again, its workability allowed me to fold it up and under the roof’s edge. The aluminum foil holding tight — I brushed on the stripper . . . 30 minutes, and we will see what it does.
As usual — I was bouncing back and forth that day; cutting caulk at trim boards, a little light sanding, and then I thought, “Do you think that balled up RW that worked so well on my shutter hinges would work now . . . for removing softened paint?” Hmmm . . .I would try. And on this, I will not hold you in suspense . . . It didn’t quite work.
Ultimately, to remove the paint — rags and two grades of steel wool. First, a #2, and then, a #00 (spoken as double aught).
Cleaning the brushes (aka righting the wrongs)
What is his point with all of this? — you might be asking. My point is . . . there was a time when home improvements, especially when performed by under-informed home owners, often involved applying paint where it simply doesn’t belong.
Today, we, as defenders of the earth and the keepers of the architectural past, are left to clean up these mistakes — to right the wrongs, if you will.
And to do that, sometimes we must think “outside the box”.
So . . . to answer that question — Is Reynolds Wrap a toolbox essential? Maybe or maybe not. But it certainly does help every now and then when you need to improvise in a pinch, and when you want to use something readily re-usable.
Thank you for Reading & BMoxie BMore!
>> More Moxie (Related Links):
Outstanding information about flashing from Twitter friend’s Old House Web: http://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-advice/roof-flashing-details.shtml
& Of Course — Reynolds Wrap: Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil from 100% Recycled Aluminum
A cool resource focusing on copper I was recently turned onto — Copper.org: http://www.copper.org/
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BuildingMoxie.com is the do-it-together blog about house, home, and neighborhood (or 'hood for short), ... we feature a variety of topics written by, and for, both the diyer and the pro. ... Maybe you?
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About jb bartkowiak (259 posts)
A one-time construction manager, and always handyman, turned blogger and editor. My wife, Jen, and I are on our 6th property (. . . yes, together). She is a real estate agent. We have two beautiful daughters Evyn and Eva. We currently live and are restoring an 1889 farmhouse in Baltimore's Lauraville area.