Friday, November 2, 2007


    I have been in door purgatory for the past two weeks. We have 11 doors (excluding the front door, which I kept on its hinges for painting), and I've put a coat of primer and two coats of white paint on 22 door sides in the past two weeks. I'm so tired of it, but all the work is making the difference between 1970s non-descript wood and clean, white thresholds.

    A couple of the doors needed some serious patch work. On one of them, it looked like the previous owners had locked up an angry cat inside and waited for it to claw its way out (same cat or cats, by the way, that were responsible for the odor in the condo, no doubt).

    A handy friend of ours, Kyle, suggested that we check out paint spray guns. Thrilled at the prospect of including firearms in our remodeling project, we purchased a $200-or-so model from Lowe's. I set up all the doors, taped off the walls and windows in the office and planned for easy, breezy painting.

    I won't lie — using the spray gun was a blast. Unfortunately, it blasted out a bit too much paint, as in, a gallon of primer for 14 door sides, when normally a gallon would cover at least three times as much. Clean-up was another problem, since the thing broke when we followed directions. Our whirlwind romance with the spray gun was over (note: Lowe's has an AWESOME return policy).

    The spray gun created far more problems than it solved. It got so much extra primer on the plastic sheeting hanging on the walls that the sheeting bloused up and stuck to the doors, leaving not-so-lovely patterns on three of the doors. Sanding didn't really take out the patterns, so when you come over, don't look too closely.

    Post spray-gun adventure, we borrowed a few sets of sawhorses from my father-in-law, and I got to work. For four days straight, I did nothing except prime, flip, paint, flip and paint doors. A low point was thinking the second (and final) coat of paint was dry on a side of a door, putting it *damp* side down and accidentally scraping off two layers of paint down to the 1970s wood. That's what patch jobs are for, I suppose.

    We're now ready to rehang them.

    Thanks to some help from my father and sister, who merrily primed the inside of the front door last Saturday, I was able to fully paint that side the same day. This was a minor coup for me since we were in our last condo for a year and a half before we (Tai) painted the front door. That primer was...nice, but not quite the same as a bright red door, so I was determined to not have the same situation in this place. I stuck with white on this one, though, because we have big, bright plans for color in the entryway, and we don't want to overwhelm anyone.

    If you're going to try any portion of this process at home, make sure you get yourself the fattest, pimpin'est brush you can find. I loved every single one of those wide four inches that saved me countless back-and-forth strokes...of paint, you gutter minds.

    Also, if you're trying this at home, don't bother painting two coats on the inside of sliding closet doors. Unfortunately, I didn't think of this until I had done two coats on the inside of three of the four closet doors.

    Another thing not to look for when I invite you to tea is the running border of dried paint on the edges from when I painted the narrow edges sloppily and didn't catch on until they were dry. Also, not to look for? The messy bits around the hinges. I'm banking on most of these being closed.

    The last lesson for today is this: when the love of your life/remodel mastermind says something like, "These are pretty hashed — why don't we just buy new doors?", for heaven's sake, don't say, "Oh, they're not that bad. We'll save some money by patching and painting these ourselves — I'll even take care of it."


    Ems said...

    so what kind of a price difference are you talking in painting/patching versus what you would have paid to buy new doors?

    Ems said...

    also...awesome work, way to be dedicated kersten!

    Kersten said...

    The price difference comes from one gallon each of primer and paint (roughly $60) versus replacing 11 doors (roughly $25 a door x 11 doors = $275), plus some new door hardware (roughly $30 per new door knob) plus a gallon or so of paint ($36).

    I guess that works out to several hundred dollars. The sucky thing is that you'd have to paint the new ones anyway, even though they come pre-primed.

    The difference would be in quality of the paint job — if you're starting with a clean, new door the paint is going to look nicer that our current door status...

    amelia said...

    Great door painting Kersten!