Paint Your Front Door and Change the Look of Your Home for $30!

A red georgian door on an ivy covered house

Summer’s getting closer!  And with it, comes a natural desire for many of us to get outside and do some work on our homes.  There’s just something about nice weather, sunny days, warm breezes, and all the beauty of Spring that makes us want to “spruce” up our homes a little bit.

Unfortunately, money is a little tight for a lot of us right now and the thought of dropping a few hundred dollars on a big paint job can be daunting to say the least.

Well, if that sums up you (as it sums up me!), then consider this:  what about a smaller paint project that will still have a huge impact?

I’m talking about your front doors.  Doors can be painted, typically, in a matter of just a few hours.  The cost?  Typically under $30.  The results?  (To use the over-used formula):  Priceless.

A new color on a front door can bring your home from “boring” to hip in just a matter of minutes.  A new color on a front door can give your siding–what you may think of as tired and old–a new look.  A new color on your door will interact differently with your shutters, your roof, your landscaping, everything.

In short, a new color on a front door can give your entire home a subtle new look.  All for under $30 (tools included) and a couple hours worth of work!

So, if you’re looking for a project , but aren’t quite ready to repaint your entire home, give this a try!

Caring for Exterior Wood Doors

bigstock-Wooden-Front-Door-4753799_smallerExterior wood doors can be a beautiful addition to your home–a tremendous step up in appeal and appearance from a typical steel or fiberglass door.  But, along with the added beauty comes added maintenance. Fortunately, this maintenance doesn’t need to be painful as long as you keep up on it!Continue reading

Steel Doors Revisited: Surface Prep on a New Door

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Yep. It’s probably a wooden door. But use your imagination…

In an earlier article, we talked about painting your old steel doors.  And while all that information was absolutely flawless (!) in it’s delivery, it’s probably important that we take a second here and attach an addendum.

See, we often talk to people in the store at RepcoLite about their new doors and we usually discover there’s a misconception as to what needs to be done.  Most people tend to think that since their steel or fiberglass door is NEW, they need to do no prep work.  It’s one of the perks of buying a new door, right?

Unfortunately . . . wrong.  New doors, even if they’re pre-primed, need to be prepped correctly.  Even if they’re new, they can be covered with surface contaminants that can affect the adherance of your finish coat.  So, even though your door may be new, it still will need to be prepped correctly before you move on to the paint.

Here are the steps:

  • SCUFF SAND:  Do a light scuff sanding of the door with some 120 – 150 grit paper.  Even though the door is pre-primed, it never hurts to dust over it lightly with some sandpaper to level out any bumps in the primer coat.
  • WASH THE DOOR:  After you’ve sanded the door, be sure to wash over it with TSP (TriSodium Phosphate).  This will remove the dust you created while sanding AND it will remove any contaminants that could be on the surface (body oils from installation, airborne dirt and grime, etc.)

Doing those simple prep steps will help ensure that the paint job on your new door will look great for years to come!

Painting a Steel Door

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Yes. This is probably a wooden door. But we bought the picture, so we’re going to use it! Just use your imagination…

Painting a steel door is one of those projects that can make a big impact on the exterior appearance of your home.  And if you do the project the right way, you’ll be enjoying that color for years to come.

If you’re thinking about sprucing up your front door any time soon, follow these tips and steps to make sure the project goes as easily as possible:

  • REMOVE THE DOOR and THE WEATHER STRIPPING:  If possible, you’ll have your best success if you can completely remove the door from the frame and set it in your garage or your basement on saw horses.  If you can’t remove the door, don’t sweat it–you can still do a good job, though you’ll need to be a little more cautious with paint runs, etc.  Also, many doors allow you to remove the weather stripping.  This is ideal.  Remove it (paying attention to how it will go back on) and store it somewhere safe.
  • REMOVE THE HARDWARE:  Whether or not you can remove the door from the frame, the next step is to remove the hardware.  Remove the hinges, the door knobs, and the kick plates.  You can paint around them or tape them off, but leaving them on makes all the subsequent steps more complicated and more time consuming.  So, remove them if at all possible!
  • SURFACE PREP:  As with any painting project, failure or success is usually determined before you even open a can of paint.  If you’re painting over a previously painted door, you need to make sure that you sand and scrape at all the paint to ensure that what remains on the door is stuck down well.  Sand the door with 120 grit paper (you’re lightly sanding it–not trying to leave visible grooves).  And then, after sanding and scraping, wash the door down well with a solution of TSP (TriSodium Phosphate).  Quick Tip:  When using the TSP, scrub the door down with a 3M Scotchbrite pad (a little green scrubby pad you might use on dishes).  This will serve to dull and etch your previously painted surface and will aid with the bonding of the new paint!
  • PRIME (if necessary):  After you’ve sanded and washed the surface, you should prime any bare metal spots with RepcoLite’s 449 Grey Metal Primer.  This is an oil-based, rust-inhibitive primer, that’s perfectly suited for these situations.
  • BRUSH or ROLL YOUR DOOR:  Either using a high-quality brush or a small, quality 4″ or 7″ roller, apply your paint to the door.  We recommend applying RepcoLite’s Endura Acrylic Latex Paint for the most durable, longest lasting finish.  Work evenly and quickly, starting with the inserts and then finishing up with the remaining flat surfaces of the door.  Apply coats as needed.
  • LET IT DRY and RE-INSTALL:  Let the door dry at least 8 – 12 hours (longer if possible) and carefully re-install it.  UNDERSTAND:  Latex paint will dry to the touch in a matter of hours, but it doesn’t reach it’s full hardness for about 30 days.  You don’t need to leave the door off the hinges for 30 days, but keep in mind that just because it’s “dry” that doesn’t mean it’s as strong or durable as it’s going to be . . . so go easy!
  • RE-INSTALL WEATHER STRIPPING LATER:  If you can leave the weather stripping off for 10 – 30 days, that’d be in your best interests!  As mentioned earlier, the latex paints will dry quickly, but if you close the door and press it against the weather stripping too soon, it’s entirely possible that the paint will peel around the edges when you next open the door!  If you can leave that stripping off for a couple weeks or so before re-installing it, you’ll minimize your risks.

FINAL TIPS and PARTING THOUGHTS

  • COLOR MATTERS:  Dark colors fade quickly.  Red can be especially bad.  Also, reds can cover poorly.
  • NO SHORTCUTS:  One of the worst things you could do when painting a door is try to make a coat of paint cover in 1 coat when it probably needs 2 or 3.  The best advice we can give you on this one is to apply EVEN coats.  If you’re color needs 2 – 3 coats of paint, then resign yourself to applying 2 – 3 coats of paint.  If you try to make it cover by applying it too heavily, you will have all sorts of problems on your hands.  The paint will run and sag; it won’t cure or dry well and you’ll find it sticking to your weather stripping and causing all sorts of other problems!  So, don’t rush it.
  • GIVE IT TIME TO DRY:  Latex paints dry to the touch very quickly, but don’t let that fool you into applying too many coats too soon.  Apply a coat and let it dry for an hour or two before trying the second one.  Sometimes you could apply those coats as quickly as 15 – 20 minutes after each other (it dries that fast), but in the end, you’ll only run into problems.  So give it the dry time the can recommends.
  • LATEX IS BETTER THAN OIL:  Latex Acrylics (like RepcoLite’s Endura) will outperform oil based products.  They’ll hold their color better and they’ll endure the constant expansion and contraction a steel door experiences much better as well.
  • PAINT IN THE SHADE:  Paint when the sun isn’t directly on the door.  And ideally, paint before or long after the door’s been exposed to the sun.  Steel doors will heat up significantly on a summer day and if you get on it and start painting too soon, or when it’s too hot, you’ll have trouble with your latex paint.  It will dry much too quickly and you’ll end up with streaks and roller marks.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  This is a project that usually can be accomplished in just a few hours.  It’s not complicated–and if you take the steps we’ve outlined (and check with any RepcoLite store for more information if you have questions) you’ll be fine!

8 Easy Ways to Increase Curb Appeal

curb_appeal_test2Increasing the curb appeal of your home doesn’t need to be a paint project that lasts all summer long–you don’t need to paint your entire home in order to bump up it’s appearance. Oh, that always helps–and really, nothing will accomplish a complete renewal of your home than a new paint job–but it’s not always necessary. Here are 8 sure-fire ways–easy ways–to increase the visual “pop” of your home:

FRONT DOORS: Your front doors can offer you a great opportunity to say something unique and interesting about your home. Many folks fall back on a safe standard–a maroon or a forest green–but don’t let that be the case with your home. Branch out a little. Be a little daring. Go with a bright green, a bold red, a warm yellow. It’s a small area in the grand scheme of things–after all, a front door is basically 21 square feet. So, it’s a drop in the bucket when you think about the entire exterior of your home. But this little drop can have some impact if you pick the right color!f

GARAGE DOORS: Another surface that gives you a great opportunity when it comes to exterior decorating are your garage doors. Take a look at yours and see if there’s a way to infuse some color into that surface. And really, don’t feel you have to paint the whole thing one big, bright, bold color. You could paint it a slightly darker color than the rest of your trim and then use either a lighter or darker color yet to accent the different raised panels in the door. There are any number of creative things you could try–our point here is to just open your mind to the possibilities. Don’t look at that door as just a big hunk of metal that hides the opening of your garage! Look at it as a canvas–a place to throw some color and increase the visual appeal of your home.

SHUTTERS: Most of our homes have shutters. And most of us have painted those shutters the same color as we’ve painted our front doors. And really, that’s not necessarily bad. But, don’t always assume that there are no other options. Look at your shutters and try to imagine what a color darker or lighter than your door color would do. What would another color altogether add? Shutters don’t take up a lot of space and so a bright, bold color that WORKS with your other colors can infuse some significant life into a boring exterior.

LIGHT POSTS and RAILINGS: This is one of my favorite ideas–mainly because its just something I’ve never really given much thought to before. See, most of us spend time thinking about the colors we’ll put on our doors or our siding that we never really give much thought to extraneous things like railings and light posts. Oh, we figure we’ll just accent them in white or maybe black depending on the rest of the color scheme, but rarely do we ever give them much consideration on their own. So break out of that mindset. Give some thought to your railings and your lightposts. What colors could you put on those surfaces that would really infuse your home with interest?

LAWN FURNITURE: The fifth item we’re going to talk about is something that’s not permanently affixed to your home: lawn furniture. Many of us have Adirondack chairs or other items like this that take up a place of prominence on our yards. They are usually more practical than decorative–they’re the places we hang out and relax over the summer months. But just because they’re practical doesn’t mean that they can’t be decorative as well. Rather than rely on the standard white, why not branch out into some bold colors, some bright colors . . . some fun colors? Because these aren’t permanent items, you can move them, put them away for the winter, etc. So, don’t be afraid to go bold with your colors.

FLOWER BOXES: Not every house has flower boxes attached beneath the windows anymore. But for those of you who have these, don’t forget that they can be used not just to carry a bunch of color in the form of flowers! They can also be painted with interesting colors to add a little excitement to the big blank exterior of your home. Because these are small, you can paint them easily and, if you put some time and thought into the color selection AND the flowers you plant in them . . . you could have an amazing summer result! So don’t overlook them.

WINDOW TRIM: This one’s an obvious choice, but again, so often, we overlook it on our own homes. So many times, we assume that trim needs to be either dark brown or white. But that’s not the case. Oh, you want to be a little careful with your color choices because painting window trim isn’t the most exciting or pleasant project out there . . . but don’t be afraid to stretch your boundaries a little. Sometimes a slightly darker or lighter version of your siding or your front door accents can really “class-up” an exterior. So don’t just settle on the standards–think bigger!

OUT BUILDINGS: One last area that we’re going to cover in this article is your outbuildings. You know, those little sheds we’ve all got crammed full of lawnmowers and kids toys. Most of us paint them very conservatively. We turn them into little tiny duplicates of our homes–same colors, same look. Or, we branch out a little and coat them with a nice, safe white. Or, maybe a wood-colored stain. Well, I’m not saying it’s the right answer for everybody, but for some of us, a bold color on a building like this can create a huge splash of visual interest for the exterior of your home. And by “bold”, I don’t mean it has to be red or bright green. It could be a deep, navy blue. It could be a charcoal building with lime-green highlights. It could be anything. Think about it!

Well, you get the idea. The point is this: think big! Be bold with your color choices and be creative with the surfaces you decide to paint. Small surfaces on and around your home can be painted quickly and easily for very little money. But these same surfaces, when coated with the perfect color, will slow traffic and walkers as they pass your house. They’ll take a look. And they’ll go home and they’ll start looking for ways to add interest to their exteriors!