I think it’s a tradition that a long holiday weekend is made for tackling house projects, right? Going with that theme, we decided to undertake one that had been in our minds for a long time, which was repainting the outside of our front door. The previous owners had this thing about brown…everything in this house was either dark brown or baby poop brown. We’ve been trying to get everything inside painted and made less depressing for years and finally finished that up 2 years ago. It was time for the exterior of the front door to get a face lift.
As you can see, the paint was faded, and badly cracked and if you look closely you can even see where they had painted the old hardware purple, then scraped it off again with God only knows what, because if you have to remove it why would you bother with something like acetone that can get into the nooks and crannies? Nah, just scrape and scratch and hope for the best, right? Don’t tape anything off either, like the bottom weather stripping, just paint right over it. Sigh. In any case, we’d lived with it for 8 years which was about 7.5 years too long. With a long holiday weekend looming, we had plenty of ambition to get us started.
We thought we would start first thing on Friday morning, put stripper on the door, and with a little luck we’d be painting by late in the day, have the door back on maybe by midnight? Unbeknownst to us, however, the door didn’t have a single layer of paint; counting the original primer, it had 5! Factor in that our door faces SW, and in the winter we have a glass panel in the screen door so the sun beating through it makes that door so hot you can’t even touch it, and all that paint was absolutely baked on over the years.
It took us 2 solid days of stripping, scraping, stripping, scraping etc., in the garage, to get those 5 layers off. Yeah, it’s funny now, but no one tells you when you start these projects “DO NOT START WHEN IT’S 95 DEGREES AND 70% HUMIDITY – FOR THE NEXT 3 DAYS!”. It was miserable, but of course once you start, well, you know the old saying “in for a penny, in for a pound”. We put a huge piece of cardboard over our front door to seal it up and keep the house cool, and while effective it certainly wasn’t secure, so we also slept on our living room sofa sleeper for 4 nights because we didn’t feel comfortable being too far from a basically open doorway. After that I am really glad we also have a guest bed for guests to sleep on and the sleeper is a backup plan.
I’m sure that the citrus strippers really are the better and safer way to go for this kind of thing but honestly, the amount of time it took, I almost wonder if a product like the old Zip Strip wouldn’t have been faster. Certainly more toxic, but faster would have been better. And when it was finally all free of paint and down to bare metal, it needed to be wiped clean with mineral spirits, and then re-primed, which started another whole level of learning.
Did you know you can’t prime bare metal with regular primer? Nope, you need to use primer for clean metal, which is an epoxy primer and needs to dry for 24 hours in a very well-ventilated area. Well I guess the garage met that criteria, but here’s the dilemma. If you leave the doors open, you get dust and other schumtz flying around and possibly sticking on the fresh primer and paint. If you close the doors in 95 degrees and 70% humidity, eliminating ANY chance of air movement? ARGH!! (Smacking head on wall.) Then it was FINALLY time to paint it, and it was beautiful. To be safe we let the paint dry a day and a half before putting the new hardware on and putting the door in place.
The Big Reveal
I feel like this color is perfect for us!! I look at it and feel like I’m down island somewhere. We are now the ones that people will say “you’ll know their house by the front door. Trust me.” I love that. It’s fun, cheerful, inviting and oh so welcoming, which is truly how we want you to feel here.
Unfortunately, now that the main door looks so great, it makes me see all the flaws in the screen door, so I’m pretty sure that new hardware isn’t too far behind for that, and maybe even a coat of fresh white paint too. Oh yeah, and paint on the wood trim around the door, and…
It never quits.