Technically this isn’t really part of the entry room re-do, but it sort of qualifies so it is going to be Part 4 of this series. Our front door is actually something I really love about our house. When we remodeled our house in 1996 we took out a non-working sliding glass door that served as our front door from 1985 until 1996 and replaced it with a double door. The doors themselves are actually fiberglass with glass half windows. I’ve really enjoyed these doors. Normally one side opens but we are able to open the other side when needed which is super helpful if we need to move big items in or out of the house. Even though the doors are fiberglass they have a wood grain in them. Initially we stained the doors a dark reddish walnut stain and then put several coats of poly on them. Over the years though they have really taken a beating and they were looking pretty sad. The poly just can’t stand up to our harsh sun, heat, wind, and blowing sand. It was actually really wild the difference between the inside and the outside of the doors considering they started out looking the same.
So, as we I started revamping the entry we decided we really needed to start with the outside of the house which meant doing something about those doors. I didn’t get a before picture…YET AGAIN! But, I do have several pictures of my house from before so you can see how the doors looked from the outside. This was actually at Christmas time though so try to pretend that the wreaths and trees are not there right now. I promise, they really haven’t been up since the week after Christmas! I really promise!!!!!
Well, the first thing we had to do was decide what we wanted on the doors. I just didn’t want to go the stained door again because quite frankly it just won’t hold up. Hot Rod did what he does best, he started the research. He looked online and found the best paint to use on doors. It is called Hollandlac paint. It is a paint made in Holland that is used on all of the doors there. Apparently it is supposed to hold up to extreme weather for 15 years! Now, it is not readily available though, and there are just a few places that carry it here in the states. We actually had to order it from a place in Houston as there was no place in town that had it.
Now to say this paint is expensive is a huge understatement! It actually costs $48 a quart!!!! Yep, you read that right. Almost $50 a quart. Not only that but we also bought the entire kit for painting the door which included 2 different kinds of primer, a brush, mineral spirits, and tack cloths. I know that may seem extreme but I wanted to do it RIGHT! I followed their instructions to the letter even.
The first step was to take down the doors. Yes, you got that right too, we actually took the doors off the hinges to do this process. I have to give my hubs some credit though, he is a GENIOUS! He thought of the perfect solution for this little “big hole in the house” dilemma. Man, my man is so smart sometimes! He went to the hardware store and bought a 4 X 8 sheet of plywood. We already had one sheet but needed 2. He also got 3 – 8 foot 2X4’s and some 10” bolts with nuts. What he did was lay each piece of plywood sideways against the outside of the door. Then he put the 2X4’s on the inside of the doors. He drilled holes through both the plywood and the 2X4’s and put the bolts through them. Basically what this did was bolt the plywood to the house without putting a single nail hole or mark on the trim of the door on either the front or outside of the door. This is what it looked like when it was done. It worked like a charm!
I think our temporary fix was actually more secure than the doors. It would have taken some brute strength to break into that! So, time to work on the doors. First thing was to clean and sand them. I used my power sander and 100 grit sandpaper to get off all of the old dirt and peeling poly. They started like this:
And after sanding they looked like this:
OK, first step down, next step is to apply the first coat of primer. Since we had fiberglass doors we had this extra step. Wood or steel doors only needed the one kind of primer but the fiberglass said to use 2 different types. The first one was a water based primer made especially for fiber glass. It was white, easy to clean up, and covered very well. The instructions said to apply this primer with a foam brush. Silly me, I thought I had TONS of them. Well turns out I did have tons of them but they were all the same size, a whole 1 inch wide. We decided to use them anyway. They wore out quickly so it took about 6 or 8 of them before we finished both doors. Oh well, saved me a trip to the store one more time. ha ha ha
I taped off the glass with painters tape but I had decided to do the trim around the window in the same paint as the door so it got the same treatment that the door did throughout the entire process. We let this primer dry over night.
Next we sanded the doors again using 220 grit sandpaper. I used my electric sander again but didn’t apply much pressure at all. This step is to just remove any particles that dried in the paint and to give the previous primer some tooth for the next coat to hang on to. Then it was time for the next primer. This one was an oil based primer and it said to apply it using a brush. I really don’t care much for oil based paints because they are so hard to clean up so I decided to use an older brush that I would just throw away afterwards.
We let this coat of primer dry a couple of days actually. Since it is oil based it needed a little more time to dry. The instructions said to dry overnight but due to scheduling it was actually a couple of days before I resumed the process.
I sanded it again with 220 grit sand paper, lightly again. Then it was time for the color. We had decided to use the black high gloss paint from Hollandlac. The Hubs and I were actually in a little disagreement over this. I wanted to paint the doors in the same red that the house is trimmed in but he thought it would look bad to have the doors and the trim the same color so we opted for the black. The Hollandlac paint is extremely thick, much thicker than any other paint I’ve ever used. It supposedly has a lot more color particles in it than any other American paint which is why it will last so much longer. American paints have more liquid in them than paint particles. The black went on very well and covered better than I could have imagined especially since the primer was such a stark white compared to the black.
We did 2 coats of the black with sanding in between the coats. I seem to have not gotten a picture of the black paint when the doors were still on the saw horses, but fear not…I got pictures after we hung them back up. The only downside I can tell to the high gloss is it does show every imperfection and we do have a few dings and dents in our doors so they do show up. Still, even with the dents and dings the doors look fabulous!
Hot Rod used this opportunity to replace all of the seals on the doors too, so every part of them got new rubber all the way around. They seal VERY well now. Almost too well actually. It’s kind of hard to open the door now but I’m sure as the bottom seal gets a little more broken in that will ease up.
After hanging them back up it was time to re-install the hardware. Another slight problem there. Our doors have been not working for some time. The doors were actually not “catching” so unless we had the dead bolt engaged the doors would blow open anytime there was any wind. Hot Rod worked on them a month or so ago and got them fixed, but when he did the dead bolt no longer matched up exactly to the whole so there was not a metal plate, it was just going into the wood. During our 4th of July party my mom pushed open the door thinking it was unlocked and it tore out the wood completely. So, we needed to get the wood part that is between the doors replaced and we also replaced the hardware at the same time since the hardware was not working great anyway.
We replaced the hardware about a month before we decided to paint them and at the time I really thought we were going to go with the red paint, but as you can see we didn’t. However, I really wanted the oil rubbed bronze look for the hardware so that is what we bought. Now, the doors are black and the oil rubbed bronze for all intents and purposes is black too. We were really worrying how they would look together. Unfortunately I had thrown away the box the hardware came in so I couldn’t just take it back and get the brushed nickel or some other color. We decided to go ahead and try it and see how it looked. I actually don’t mind it either. I mean it does kind of blend in to the door but it looks ok to me. So, here are the newly painted doors! I’m very happy with them.
So, my review of the Hollandlac paint is it is wonderful! I love how it covered and it looks great now. Now we just have to wait and see if it will indeed hold up to the West Texas wind and heat and dirt for many more years to come!
Now for a little history lesson. While Hot Rod was researching the paint for the doors he discovered some interesting trivia on the history of painting doors black. It actually started in the early 1900’s I believe (or it may be the late 1800’s). Anyway, when King Albert died in England, many of the people in England painted their doors and frames black as a sign of mourning for the loss of their king. Queen Victoria actually wore only black for the rest of her life in mourning until her death in the 1930’s. So, if you are ever on Cash Cab or something and they ask how the practice of painting doors black was started you will know!