Painting Doors And Trim – part 1

MATERIALS: Four 3-inch drywall screws, white-pigmented shellac (if door has knots), latex wood putty, acrylic-latex caulk, lightweight crack filler (optional), 80- and 220-grit sandpaper, stain-blocking primer, latex paint (probably enamel), TSP solution, denatured alcohol or chemical deglosser, blue painter’s masking tape

TOOLS: Screwdriver, two sawhorses, 2-handed paint scraper, pad sander or sanding block, 11/2-inch polyester sash brush, 2-inch polyester trim brush, oval brush, plastic scrub pad, rubber gloves, lint-free rag, putty knife, caulking gun, sponge (optional)

Over time a fiberglass door will fade and need to be refinished. Strip it with a nonsolvent-based stripper. Finish with either a gel stain or primer and paint.

Painting doors, windows, baseboards, or moldings involves five key steps to success:

• Clean and prime to achieve maximum adhesion.

• Smooth the surface so that cracks, holes, dents, and chips don’t show through the finish coat.

• Mask adjacent surfaces so you can paint quickly and confidently.

• Keep a wet edge to eliminate lap marks.

• Never overwork the paint. Brush it on, and then let it flow out to form a surface free of brush marks.

PAINTING DOORS. Painting sections from top to bottom will give you the time you need to feather each application of paint before it dries. Paint all the edges first and then each section of the door before you move on. Professionals often paint a door without removing it from the jamb, but laying the door out on sawhorses and following the painting order shown below is critical to avoid drips that inevitably occur when you’re painting vertically. If the door has knots or strong variations in grain or color, it’s a good idea to spot prime the offending areas with a stain-blocking primer to ensure even coverage with the tinted primer and the finish coats.

PAINTING TRIM. When you are painting trim, the critical tools are the paintbrushes. You will need:

• An angled sash brush for laying down sharp edges.

• A square-edged trim brush for laying down flat areas of paint.

• An oval brush for getting into tight areas.


1 All edges

2 Panel bevels and flats

3 Rails

4 Stile middles

5 Stiles

Painting Doors

1 REMOVE THE DOOR. Insert long screws in the top and bottom edges and suspend the door on sawhorses. Remove all hardware. Fill dings, spot prime knots, and sand the door as necessary with 80-grit sandpaper. Follow up with 220-grit sandpaper so the sanding marks won't show under the finish coat.

2 PRIME THE DOOR. Use a tinted, stain-blocking primer to prime the door. Follow the painting order above. When the primer is dry, sand it lightly and then apply the finish coat following the same order.

LEAD PAINT ALERT - If you are sanding or removing paint from before 1978, test it for lead with a tester sold at home centers or paint stores. [Remember, it may be hidden beneath one or more top coats.) Contact the EPA at www.epa.gov or your local authorities for guidance on how to remove lead-based paint safely.

ROLLER OPTION - Some professional painters feel that the best tool for getting a smooth coat on a door is a "cigar” or "hot dog" roller. This dense foam roller is 6 inches long and results in a smooth finish coat without brush marks. You will need to brush in the bevels in the door panels before rolling.

AVOIDING BRUSH MARKS - Don't overwork the paint. Brush it on, and then let it flow to leave a surface free of brush marks. If you do get brush marks, let the paint dry, sand with 120-grit sandpaper, and repaint.

Painting Trim

1 WASH WOODWORK WITH A TSP SOLUTION and a plastic scrub pad to remove residue (wear rubber gloves). Rinse several times. Remove blistered or chipped paint with a paint scraper; be careful not to gouge the wood. Sand with 80-grit, then 220-grit sandpaper. Remove dust with a lint-free cloth.

2 FILL HOLES AND GOUGES WITH A LIGHTWEIGHT CRACK FILLER. Remove excess material and let dry per the manufacturer's instructions. Fill gaps and cracks between trim pieces with paintable caulk or glazing compound. Remove the excess and smooth with your finger.

3 SPOT PRIME ANY KNOTS OR RESIN POCKETS WITH WHITE-PIGMENTED SHELLAC PRIMER. Allow to dry. Wipe down the surface with denatured alcohol or a paint deglosser. Mask all adjacent surfaces with blue painter's masking tape. Seal the edges firmly.

4 PRIME THE ENTIRE SURFACE WITH A STAIN-BLOCKING PRIMER. After 24 hours, sand with 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe the sanded surface with a damp sponge or rag, then apply the finish with a 2-inch trim brush. Remove the masking tape while the paint is still wet.

Window Painting Basics

VARIABLES: Weather conditions will affect drying times. Window removal will vary in complexity.

MATERIALS: TSP solution, wood putty, paintable caulk, primer, paint, sandpaper, blue painter’s masking tape

TOOLS: Paint scraper, sash knife, tack cloth, wide putty knife or pry bar (for removing trim), 2-inch sash brush, utility knife, bucket, sponge

DON’T GET STUCK - A sash knife will open a window sealed with dried paint. You also can use a utility knife or a hacksaw blade.

Windows deserve a high-quality, smooth, and durable finish, but it’s not an easy job. There are a number of delicate surfaces to paint— the casing, the ledge, and the sashes with delicate muntins (vertical wooden strips that separate the lights, or panes of glass)—and panes to avoid brushing. To make the job of painting or varnishing even more demanding, windows take a beating from sun, rain, and condensation, from potted plants, and from being opened and closed. Prep work is essential before painting windows. Scuff and sand the existing finish so that the new finish will adhere. Chips and blistering are common with windows, requiring use of a scraper and sandpaper. Mask off both glass and the surrounding wall to decrease cleanup time. Finally, reduce frustration and enjoy this somewhat finicky job by purchasing a good angled sash brush.

A MARK OF THE UNINITIATED - is painting the crack between the window sash and frame. It may be helpful if you are trying to eliminate all air infiltration, but it’s a terrible mistake if you plan to open the window again. To avoid painting a window closed, apply paint to the sash and the frame in two separate strokes. Minimize the amount of paint you apply at the joint. Move the sash up and down a few times as the paint dries.

1 SCRAPE AND SAND THE WINDOW. If either of the sashes is painted shut, free it with a sash saw. Slip the blade through the paint holding the window shut and work the blade back and forth to break the bond. Wash greasy or dirty areas with TSP solution. Remove loose paint with a scraper. Sand the wood, both to blend in scraped areas and to remove the sheen from glossy paints. Avoid scratching the glass when scraping and sanding. Go over the wood with a tack cloth to remove the dust.

2 FILL HOLES AND CAULK GAPS. Use wood putty to fill in flaws in the wood. If gaps have opened between the wall and window frame, fill them with paintable caulk. Level the wood putty with a putty knife, and smooth the caulk with your finger.

3 REMOVE THE SASHES. If possible, remove the sashes from the frame and paint them on sawhorses; it’s easier to contain runs. On many newer windows, the sashes pop out with little trouble. To remove those on older windows, carefully pry off the side trim. Use a wide, stiff putty knife before graduating to a pry bar. Some sashes just won't come out and you’ll have to paint them in place.

4 MASK PANES AND THE SURROUNDING WALL. If the sash won’t come out, as shown here, use blue painter’s masking tape to avoid getting primer on the glass and wall.

5 APPLY TINTED PRIMER WITH A SASH BRUSH. If the window has snap-out grids of muntins and bars, remove them to paint. If it has actual muntins and bars, paint them first. Then paint the horizontal parts of the sash, followed by the verticals. Paint the sill last. Painting in this order will limit splashes and drips. To keep the sashes from sticking, do not paint the sides of the windows or the track in which they travel. If you paint the sashes in place, lower the upper one and raise the lower one to get to any surfaces that are inaccessible when the window is closed. Move the sashes as the paint dries to keep them from sticking.

5 APPLY ONE OR MORE FINISH COATS. Again using the sash brush, apply paint the same way you applied primer. If you used a tinted primer, one top coat may be enough. If the primer shows through or an edge didn’t get painted, apply a second top coat.

6 REMOVE THE MASKING TAPE FROM THE GLASS AS SOON AS THE PAINT SKINS OVER to prevent pulling up dried paint later. Catch little leaks or blunders by drawing a sharp utility knife along the edges of each pane, leaving a narrow margin of paint on the glass; then push a window scraper toward this cut line to remove the excess paint.

TRIM IS FOREVER - Use bold colors on the walls and neutral colors to paint the trim. You won’t have to redo the trim if you change the color of the room or the fabric in the curtains.

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