Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Stripping, Sanding, Painting and More - Voila an Orange Door!

Over the course of last summer and early fall, every paintable exterior surface of the Retro Ranch got at least two coats of paint with two notable exceptions. The patio ceiling and walls were only first coated (a correction of an earlier blog) and we ran out of time to do the front doors. 

As you may recall from a blog last fall, we had the front doors rehung and the deteriorated weather-stripping replaced. The interiors of our front doors are a beautiful mahogany, however the exteriors were painted black (start singing a Rolling Stones’ song here) and in need of lots of TLC. We decided we wanted to strip the black paint off the doors to see if the exterior wood was as beautiful as the interior. If it was, we would stain and varnish them. If not, we would paint the doors.

Stripping the doors meant taking them off of the hinges which also meant we needed a nice day. Despite Portland have a record number of days over 90° this summer we did not have a sufficiently warm enough weekend to pull the doors down until July. After thoroughly researching the pros and cons of various ways to strip the paint, we borrowed some saw horses from our friend Daniel Molder and on July 14th the fun began. I bought the chemical stripper, gloves, plastic putty knives, respirators and more from our friends at The Home Depot. After taking all the hardware off the doors I removed the hinge pins and holy sh*t, I discovered that these are solid, heavy as all get-out doors! Somehow I managed to get the first one up on the padded saw horses and the stripping began.

As I was a novice to stripping (insert your snickers and bad jokes here) I didn’t do this a section at a time but rather the entire door. The black paint bubbled up and came off easily however it also dried very quickly. So I reapplied the stripper and continued to work. What I discovered quickly is that the exterior wood was: a) a veneer that was not anywhere near as beautiful as the interior of the doors, b) the veneer was not in great shape (which was why it was likely painted black). Before Beth even saw the doors I knew we would be painting them. 

So after doing all the stripping I could on the left door I tried to rehang it. OMG are these doors heavy and trying to lift them just high enough to get them back on the hinges was more than my flimsy arms could handle. Fortunately I had some thin scraps of wood that I used to prop the door to its correct height and get it back on the hinges. The same process took place on the right side door and you can see the results. We discovered several areas where the veneer had broken off or had peeled away so some repairs were in order. 

Beth had various 1960s colors from the Eischler color palette for us to consider and the samples came home from Dick’s color center (Benjamin Moore paints – of course) and after much debate we decided on orange (Pumpkin Cream). With several applications of plastic wood, extensive sanding and a serious coat of primer, the doors got their first two coats of orange on July 27th. A third, finishing coat was applied several days later. Although it took Beth a while to acclimate to the color, I think it makes the front of the Retro Ranch pop! We hope you agree. 

We have contracted to have brass trim strips added to the bottom of the doors, not so much as an accent but rather to keep the veneer from peeling up. It may be a month or two before this gets installed. Soon we will do the complete blog on the front of the house with the new exterior accent lights but I am very pleased with how the door turned out. Orange you?