Last week I decided to tackle a DIY project that’s been on the list for quite some time. The back door which leads into the garden from the house was sticking, badly enough that you needed to shoulder barge it once it had been unlocked, and you had to slam it quite violently in order to get it to close again. Cause of the problem? Too many layers of paint. The door was last repainted about six years ago and I bought a tin of gorgeous red paint for it and my dad promised he would strip the door down properly before repainting it… but he didn’t, and thus the problem started.
He also painted over all the metalwork: hinges, locks, bolts, everything. I wasn’t best pleased about this at the time but what could I do?
So, last week I finally bit the bullet and decided to strip the door down properly. Have you ever started a job and then wished you hadn’t? Yeah, it was one of those. Still, I’d started so I had to finish. Thankfully I had a heat gun (on loan from a friend… it’s been on loan for over a year…) so at least I didn’t have to rely on paint stripper for the whole thing, but it was a slow, very slow, job.
It took the best part of ten hours to get the door to this state, and the paint was coming off in such thick layers…
That was Tuesday. On Wednesday I carried on and finished stripping down the frame, and also started to tackle the metalwork.
In an ideal world I’d have taken the bolts and everything off the door and soaked them in paint stripper, or set them to boil in a pan (which would also lift the paint off). Sadly the screws had all been painted over, and even after they’d been cleaned most were still impossible to get out. So I had to clean them in situ. This job was turning into a right nightmare.
I persevered though and eventually got the wood and metalwork all stripped down to my satisfaction. The wood was lightly sanded, then wiped clean again, and it was all ready for painting. Our back stairs are very dark so for the inside of the door I decided to use some of the garden woodcare paint (Cuprinol Garden Shades in Pale Jasmine) I’d used on the new trellis as it’s a lovely light colour and I thought it would give a slightly vintaged look. For the outside of the door I went for the same brand of garden paint but in the lovely rich Summer Damson colour.
The metalwork has come up quite nicely too, and I’m going to keep it looking slightly distressed and just treat it with some beeswax to keep the rust off it.
All in all the job took about three full days from start to finish, although it was spread out over slightly longer as I needed to wait for the paint to dry properly in between coats. I won’t lie, it was a nightmare of a job and at times I really really wished I had never started it. However it was worth doing, and doing properly, because the door opens and closes so smoothly now (and the back stairs are so much less dark and dreary). I hope that I won’t have to do anything to this door again for at least another ten years!