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July 2006
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Door Painting

In our last episode, we removed the doors and painted the walls. Let’s look at the doors and paint them.

The vast majority of interior doors are flat slab hollow core doors. They have 2 sheets of masonite separated by a series of thin bits of wood and a honeycomb of cardboard in the center to keep the two panels from collapsing or booming like a big base drum.

Moving on. One of the things that hardly ever gets done is painting the top and bottom edges of the door. Paint’s other job besides creating a serene or energetic environment is to protect the surfaces of what it’s applied to.

See? The nail is there to be able to stand the door up after we paint it.

There are a couple of places in your house where this will bite you. The bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. Humidity will swell the wood, and in the case of masonite paneled doors, it looks like this.

House builders buy them prehung, bang them in, the painter sprays them, and everybody goes home. Painters never take them down and paint these edges. Time is money, and builders won’t pay to have it done.

This is your house now and you are painting. Let’s fix this problem.

Over time the bottom of the door swells, and the paint will peel. You can see this on the right side of this photo. The peeling on this particular door was due to the builder buying un-primered doors. Cheaper, and the painter didn’t prime before he painted. I see this crap a lot.

When I took the doors down, I marked the bottom. I had a garage and a couple of saw horses to set the doors on. You may be only doing one door. In any case, remove the knob and striker from the door, and put it in the ZipLock bag in the room that you got it from. This is why you need a gallon bag and not a quart size.

When you get back, take a piece of tape and write on it, what door it is and place it in the hole you took the knob from.

Now that you have the door off, you can do any sanding and patching that needs to be done. Here I have taken a sander and sanded down the swelling from the masonite. I have also put two nails in the bottom of the door. I also put a nail in the top of the door and bent it 90 degrees. This is so that I can stand it up and not ruin the paint while it is drying, and the nail on the top allows me to place it on a wall, and not have the top of the door stick to the wall. Put a coat of paint on the top and bottom being careful not to paint the face of the door. We will roll that.

After patching, sanding, and painting the top and bottom, there is one area we want to paint before we roll the door. We want to paint the hinges with a brush across the hinge and the hinge pocket. We also want to cut in the front of the hinge where it is inset into the face of the door, because this is a pain to do it after. Here is the door with your sticker letting you know where it goes.

After you have rolled the door, you can stand it up against a wall, and paint the rest of the hinge edge, and the knob edge. Since it is off the floor and away from the wall, you should have no problem painting these. Tomorrow is soon enough to paint the top and bottom edges again and roll the other side.

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