painted over panel covers

At my last inspection the electrical panel covers were painted over so much that the screw heads were completely filled with paint. If I gouged out the paint in the screw heads and scored the paint seal around the perimeter I might have gotten the cover off. It would have probably taken me 15 minutes or more to do this. If my hand slipped I would have damaged the paint and maybe the drywall.

Would any of you have taken the risk and spent the time to do this?

I take a razor knife And try to free it at least . I also inform the Agent Just in case . Only thing you need to be careful of is to make sure you do not tear anything . A gentle tap normally removes the paint in the screw heads

I try to remove all dead fronts that are painted. The only time I don’t is when it is an FP or Zinsco panel. I know that I am going to recommend an electrician before I even take off the dead front.

Ditto. I don’t care what brand the panel is.

Same here. I feel it’s a disservice if I don’t attempt it.

I agree, but how much time do you feel comfortable spending on the attempt. A simple tap would not budge the paint from the screw heads at yesterday’s inspection.

I wouldn’t. My states SOP would not consider that “readily accessible” Damaging paint is not allowed.

Same here except I recently did a large apartment complex and the majority of the units had panels painted like this one. On the ones I did remove, overspray was covering most of the wires :roll:.


I never had any i could not open unless Block by storage. Am i Lucky perhaps

Lucky I guess ;-). I’ve had several that were papered or sealed with an expensive faux finish. It’s hard taking a razor to those with the homeowner watching.

On this panel here someone had patched a hole in the drywall and replaced the cover over the wet patch.

I do the same with painted screws that I do with decorative panels nailed over the screw heads. I take them off. The pictures attached are of a panel last week that had a cabinet door installed over it and the trim covered up the screws. The panel door was nailed into the wall and framing. You could open the panel deadfront BUT could not get to the screws to remove the panel cover.

I simply went out to the van / got a claw-hammer and short 2x I use for this (I run into it once or twice a month), came in / put the 2x against the wall / applied Mr. Claw-Hammer and pulled the frame out of the wall.

Then I removed the panel cover, did my inspection and moved on. I told the buyers agent to have the seller call me if he had any questions AND I left the cabinet door off for him to remove OR re-install properly.

On painted screws, I first try Leatherman I carry on my belt. If that don’t do it, I go out to the van and get my USMC issue k-bar, a ball peen hammer, cold chisel and cut the paint / take the cold chisel and give it a few good shots. 90% of the time that breaks them loose. If it does not break them loose / I go to the van - get my drill and one of my easy-outs, go back inside - drill into the screw and back it out.

I’ll get it out eventually. Only once or twice in 34 years has a seller ever called me to complain. In each instance, I reminded him that he had improperly obstructed the electrical panel access AND I was tring to SAVE him $$$$$$$$ by not writing this in my REPORT and recommending having a licensed electrician come out remove this and reinspect the wiring.

EVEN if he had personally removed it himself and they asked me to come back out and inspect the panels interior I would charge $150 (not to my buyer BUT to the seller and I collect $$$ before I go - credit card).

You just gotta know how to talk firmly and tactfully to sellers and listing agents. I give full credit for that to my early USMC drill instructor and my boot camp training.