Stripping Exterior Paint by Walter Jowers Just about all old buildings have paint problems-some peeling here, some alligatoring there, some just plain unsightly buildup. And sooner or later, all old buildings have to be stripped of paint-at least partially– to allow a proper repainting. Generally, you want to take the paint off an old building in the following situations: • It's peeling badly. • There are so many coats that the paint is alligatoring and losing its bond with the substrate. • The paint is so thick it obscures details such as column capitals or intricate moulding profiles. Before we talk about stripping methods, here's an important safety warning: Just about all pre-1950 paint contains lead. You don't want to breathe it or eat