Monday, September 8, 2014

How to Paint a French Door


The door leading from our kitchen out to our deck has seen better days.  On the outside it has some slight denting, and the weather strip at the bottom of the door is in need of repair.  It was dirty, and there was some type of a sticky, gunky buildup around the panes of the windows.  I think that long ago, someone tried to seal around the frames with something (not caulk).  I painted the inside of this door black last spring.  I also spray painted the door knob on that same day.   You can see in the below picture the painted doorknob.  It has held up amazingly well.  Over the summer, it was time to get to work on the outside of this door. I am going to share my door with you, and also tell you how to paint a french door.


I debated painting it a bright pop of color.  But that would have meant going out and buying paint.  This door leads out to my DIY checkerboard deck.  I could not decide on what bright color I thought would look good out here.  In the end, I chose white.  Exciting, right?  The door was already white, but had not had a fresh coat of paint in years.  The checkerboard deck is white, and  LC thought the door needed to stay white as well.  Plus, I had some white RustOleum door and trim paint left over from the previous home owners.  So, I got all set to spend the day freshening up this door. 


If you look closely at this door, right at the top and bottom left, where the window starts, there is some slight denting inwards.  You can also see the wonky looking weather stripping.  We are going to try to repair that before winter.  But we usually have a draft protector around the bottom of the door (you can see it on the door in these pictures.  You can purchase one just like it at Amazon.  The first thing I did was to clean the door, and scrape off the sticky, gunky buildup from around all of the window frames.  By the way, some of the frames actually looked like they never had been painted.  It was right down to the yellowish bare plastic (at least I think that is the material this window frame is made of).  this frame sits on the outside of the glass.  The glass is one piece of glass, you could remove this entire piece that makes it look like 15 different little windows if you really wanted to.  After I scraped it all, I sanded down some rough areas, and when I finished that, I wiped away any dust from sanding. (BTW- I want to replace this ugly lighting out here.  I need something pretty).


The paint I used was Rust-Oleum white satin door paint.  You can purchase this paint at Lowe’s.  I had never used this type of paint before.  When I first opened it, I thought it was old and unusable.  It was all separated in the can.  So I got a paint stick and started stirring.  I had to stir a lot, but eventually I got it all mixed up and it seemed back to normal, so I decided to use it.  I used a two inch angled brush to paint this door.  I painted in a horizontal direction above and below the window, and in a vertical direction on the right and left side.  The diagram below shows which sections of the door should be painted in which direction. Some people might tape around the doorknob.  Some might remove the door knob (which I did when I painted the inside of the door).  And I do reccomend that you either tape off or remove the door knob.  But this particular day, I was lazy, and I just painted around it with my steady hand, using a clorox wipe to remove any paint that I got on the door knob.  


As you can see in the picture below and above, I chose not to tape off the windows.  Trust me when I tell you it takes far longer to tape off all of these little squares than it does to scrape them with a razor blade after the paint is dry.  I cam across this post about how to scrape the paint off of a door like this around the same time I was painting this door.  I did not use her tutorial exactly, I changed it up a bit by using a razor blade instead of a drywall knife, and a homemade mixture of water, vinegar, and a squirt of Dawn (I clean my windows and mirrors with this solution on a regular basis, works great) to spray down the window before I scraped.  I sprayed one pane at a time, and after spraying, I would use my razor blade to cut a straight line around each edge where the paint on the glass meets the paint on the window frame.  And then just start scraping.  The paint comes off really easily.  After I got all of the window panes scraped, I went back over it with my razor blade to remove any little remaining specks of paint.  Then I cleaned the window really well with the above home made solution. 


This is a close up of the end result.  Nice sharp edges. 


This paint went on really thick.  I was worried at first, but as it dried, it smoothed itself out and left a buttery smooth finish.  I love the way the finish feels on this paint.  I had never used this type of paint before, but I highly recommend it if you are painting an outside door.  I went ahead and painted the trim around the door with this same paint while I was at it.  It says you only need one coat of this paint, but I did two.


It’s not a drastic change.  If someone came to visit, they probably wouldn’t even notice. 


But we notice!  Every day when we sit out on this deck, it is a nice fresh change.  No more dirty, dingy door.  Now a bright, clean, fresh white door. 


And that, my friends, makes me smile every time!


What do you think of my color choice?   During the winter, the back of our house can be seen by hundreds of houses and condo dwellers.  And for some reason, a bright pop of color on this door from across the pond did not feel right to me.  White felt right.  In perfect world, we would replace this door with a brand new door.  But this isn’t the perfect world around here.  Maybe someday we will decide the time is right to replace it.  But for now, painting it both inside and out has made a big improvement.