Monday, October 29, 2012

Roses are Red...

...and so is my door!

What? I never claimed to be a poet.

Regardless of my poetry skills - the door is DONE! (And so is this post finally - thanks to Sandy/Frankenstorm giving the time to sit down and finish it!)


Improving curb appeal...

A closer look.
And with the screen door open!
Nice right?!  I bet you're wondering why this post is coming so long after the initial post to decide what color to paint the door. Usually a safe bet would be to say it's because I'm a procrastinator and am just getting around to writing this post. But if you took that bet, you'd be wrong. Completely wrong.  Sadly, I've been chipping away at this project for the last 4 weeks! We're discovering that nothing in this house is ever easy to revamp. And add the front door to that list.

I read a lot of home-improvement blogs, and many of them have repainted their front doors. For the most part, the posts talk about sanding the front door and then repainting it, with the hardest part being deciding on a paint color. Easy peesy! Whelp - this post is for all of you home-owners out there who end up spending 4 weeks on a "simple" project like this because the previous owners didn't understand the importance of prep work.

My first clue that this was going to be a bit more labor intensive than usual was when I pulled off the mail slot. Filling in the old mail slot was a must-do on our door - it's not used (we have a mailbox outside now), and it's just been stuffed with an old towel since we moved in because it's so drafty!. When I pulled off the front piece of the mail slot, a large chunk of the last layer of paint peeled off with it. Undeterred, I kept going and pulled off the door knocker where another large chunk of paint went with it. And then it all started coming off - much like the guest room project (seen here).

A bad sign.

Going from bad to worse...

So I resigned myself to a longer, more labor-intensive project that I was hoping for.

BUT - back to the mail slot.  
Anyone need an old mail slot?
Basically, what I did was a big wood patch. First I pulled off the mail slot hardware, and then I used some scrap wood to fill in the resulting hole as best as I could. 

There was still quite a bit of open space with the block in there, so next I used some expanding foam that I picked up at Home Depot for $4.99.  It had one of those little flexible straws that I could aim into the small cracks, so it worked really well to fill in the rest of the space. Once that dried, I scraped/cut/hacked off the extra portions that were sticking out beyond the plane of the door and then covered both sides with wood putty.

While I had the wood putty out, I also filled in the second peephole. Apparently the woman who lived here was extremely short, so her husband installed two peepholes. The shorter one was about chest height for the two of us - so not very useful.

The orange color is the wood putty - you can see where I tried to fill in some of the spots where paint peeled off too!

Another problem with this door is that it opened and closed hard. Like, REALLY hard. Like, throw-a-shoulder-into-it-to-open-it-from-the-outside hard. And get-a-running-start-to-close-it-from-the-inside hard.  I thought part of the problem might be the old metal weather stripping that was all bent and warped out of shape...

... and so I decided it was a good idea to take it off...

It didn't help. Oh well. It needed to come off anyway! Plus the frame looks so much nicer without it!

Next up I had J help me take the door off the hinges and take it outside so I could start sanding it down. I still had a feeling that I could save the project by just filling in the parts that had peeled off with wood putty and then sanding it smooth and painting over everything.

Quick tip - put each piece of your door hardware in a plastic ziplock. It keeps you from getting confused about whether that screw goes with the deadbolt or the doorknob when you're exhausted and just trying to get it back on the door before you go to bed...

Long story, short - sanding didn't go well. It started to bubble and peel instead of sand... I think there is a lesson in here about using latex paint over oil-based paint or vice versa. Not sure which, but it didn't take long before I resorted to stripping the entire door. I had some stripper left over from the dining room table project here, so it didn't mean another trip to HD. I got about 2/3 done in one day and then J helped me get the door back on the frame - where it remained for the work week.

That following weekend my parents came to visit. For anyone who knows my parents, when they roll up, they're like a whirlwind.  Not only did they help me finish stripping the front door, but they also helped us fix the side door - which didn't latch (we depended entirely on the deadbolt to keep it closed), and didn't seal (you could see light all the way around it when it was closed!).  On top of that, we managed to spend an afternoon at the National Arboretum - and even found some time to relax and catch up since we hadn't seen them since the wedding!  Regardless - there are no pictures of the projects because we were moving at a crazy pace (though I got a few great ones at the Arboretum!).

My mom loved the coy pond!

The amazing bonsai and penjing exhibits have J wanting take it up as a hobby.

The Capital Columns

Anyway - back at the house, my dad diagnosed the hard-closing door as a problem with the frame, and with a handful of well-placed 3" screws, had that baby closing with the slighted touch.  My mom helped me decided on a paint color ("Wine Tasting" from Behr) and finish stripping and sanding the rest of the door... And by the time they left we had two fully-functioning doors and a front door that was pretty much prepped for painting (with just a little additional sanding needed around the panels).

The following weekend, I painted! I used an angled brush for the panels and a craft foam roller for the rest of the door.  The panels ended up taking 4 coats with the brush, and the rest of the door took a solid 3 - so it was time-consuming, but oh so rewarding! Between coats on the door, I would paint a coat on the screen door - which also took 4 coats. And between all of those coats, I was ORBing the door hardware on both doors.

I'm pretty darn pleased with the results! Thanks for all of the votes - red wines wins!

Still undecided on the shutters though - any thoughts? Should we paint those "Wine Tasting" too? Because - you can't have too much wine, right? :)


  1. I love you door aunt! I can't wait for you to come over during Christmas. Happy Halloween!
    Love you,

  2. found you by following a comment from YHL- love your new red door!

    are you seriously looking for a new home for your mail slot? Because I think it is fabulous...