Welcome to the first post of the H2OBungalow’s Restore and Renovate Series. I’m jazzed about sharing and teaching this stuff! Today I’m covering how to strip the paint off of a door. Ready?
Stripping the paint off of a door is messy and requires some patience but, the finished product is well worth the time and elbow grease! Today I’m going to cover how to save those doors, time and money.
Originally I thought I’d replace all of the interior doors in the Bungalow. Once we moved in I changed my mind (~ as women we have the ongoing right to do so :-)). Our doors are solid wood and were in excellent condition. I’m pretty sure they are original from when the house was built in the 1951 and they have personality. Ughh, but they had so many coats of thick gloppy paint on them. How many you ask? Well…. you couldn’t distinguish the ridge detail on the door recesses many. Yikes!
D’ya have doors like this too? Not sure whether to dump the old doors for new? Here are a few points to consider.
Pros to keeping your doors
- Quality of the door – solid wood and or the door design is unusual
- They already fit the door frame – replacing a new door on old door frame can be an issue. Tearing out the old door frame gets expensive and time consuming
- Hardware lines up properly – hinges and doorknobs already fit and are aligned. No need to retrofit anything. Also older hardware can often have hard to find parts. Our doors have unusual strike plates (the metal piece on the door frame ~ helps to keep the door closed ). After months of searching I’ve finally found some that will fit…except they are the wrong color. I need to keep looking. But you get the idea..
If your still with me on this and are game to forge ahead…
Gel Stripper ~ Approx 1 can per door
Heavy tarps or drop cloths
Sawhorses or other item to place door flat onto
Scrappers- putty knife, etc
Metal brush -to get paint out of edges and crevices
Safety Gear- eye protection, heavy gloves & mask
Remove the door from the hinges and all hardware. If you are stripping several doors at once put each door hardware in a labeled plastic baggy. Older homes tend to have lots of “personality” Like hinges or doorknob hardware that fits perfectly on the door it was meant for but no so well on another door. Save yourself potential time and frustration by keeping all hardware items separate. Hmmnn sound like I’ve done this one? Oh, also don’t throw any hardware away yet even if you plan on replacing it. This is where my strike plate issue started.
Choose a place to work with good ventilation. This is a messy process. Use heavy tarps or drop cloths to catch drippings. Wear protective goggles, gloves and footwear. We also placed a wide container (a beat up Sterlite container lined with newspaper) at the end of the door to catch the scrapings of paint.
Place door across two sawhorses, boxes etc. Be sure they are at a comfortable height for your back, you will be working at this level.
Pour the gel liquid over the door and spread evenly. Be sure to get into any detail work or crevices. Let sit the amount of time needed per the instructions on the stripper. Since had several layers of paint to strip we let the gel sit a bit longer. The paint will look likes its bubbling up off the door surface when its ready to be scraped.
Being careful not to catch the edge of your scrapper on the wood or make any dig marks with your tool. Test a section by scrapping your spackling tool across a small section of the door. If the paint comes off easily it is ready to scrape. Scrape the paint off the door. We used the plastic container at the end of the door to scrape the used gel into. We used a metal brush to clean out the detail ridges. If there are several layers of paint you may need to do the above step twice.
When done wash the door with mineral spirits and steel wool. This will help get rid of the remaining chemicals on the door. Again be sure to gently work any detail area of the door.
When dry, lightly sand the door. I used a wet towel to wipe down the door and sand again to be sure I had a smooth surface ready to paint. Be sure to wear a mask when your are sanding. Items painted before 1978 may have lead based paint on them and you don’t want to breathe the dust.
You’ll end up with a great looking original door. Stripping our doors was a lot of work but so worth the effort in the final look of our home.
Enjoyed reading about doors? Next week I’ll cover questions you need to ask a handyman BEFORE you hire them to work on your home.
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As Always~ Thanks for reading,