Tuesday, November 27, 2012

home improvement: updating door hardware

As our house has come together over the past year and a half, it seems the little home improvement projects have made the biggest impact. Painting walls. Painting trim. Replacing outlet covers, light switch plates and air vents.

Add to that list: spray painting door hardware. Meet our newly updated front door:

Last week, I came across this blog post about transforming door hardware, and I had to try it ASAP because our front door has been driving me crazy. Let me present the "before" photo:

The mail slot and hinges had been painted over, the handle was pewter, and the deadbolt was gold. Clearly the hardware had been cobbled together by the previous owners over a period of time. After spray painting the mail slot, handle and lock (the rusty hinges will wait for another time), the door doesn't look haphazard.

Tony and I woke up Saturday morning and headed straight to Lowe's in New Carrollton. (Well, we headed straight to Lowe's after stopping at the Salvation Army and Community Forklift -- can't miss those if we're heading out all that way. And I bought a large vintage yellow Pyrex mixing bowl for $1.99. SCORE.)

Anyway, I narrowed the paint colors down to four choices, which I laid out for Tony to choose. And he was adamant that we go with oil rubbed bronze (second from the right). I personally had been leaning toward satin black (second from the left). But Tony doesn't often express a strong opinion when it comes to decor and color choices, so when he does, we tend to go with it. And guess what -- he's a genius because oil rubbed bronze is perfection. (Also pictured: glossy black on the far left and flat black on the far right.)

Since the paint cans are backward in that photo (it was a blind choice for Tony), you can't tell the brand, but it's Rust-Oleum Universal paint and primer for indoor and outdoor use.

We got to work when we got home. I have had zero experience with removing and replacing locks and door handles, but it's surprisingly easy. All you need is a screwdriver.

I brought everything outside and laid it out on my trusty drop cloth, which (clearly) has seen its share of previous painting jobs.

Per my dad's recommendation, everything got a good scruffing up with 0000 steel wool. (That's pronounced "four ought" if you want the lingo.) Paint sticks better to a rough surface. Then I wiped everything clean with multipurpose cleaner.

I taped off the bottom of the lock to protect it from the paint. I also put the extra key in the lock, so paint couldn't get in the keyhole.

The lock and handles wouldn't balance by themselves, so I set them up between to bricks. I used the same trick to paint the tops of the screws. I turned the locks and knobs between coats to make sure nothing was sticking.

I used a toothpick to prop the mailslots open during painting, and I moved the toothpick to a different spot for each coat.

I gave everything about five very, very light coats of spray paint, letting it dry for at least 10 to 30 minutes between coats, depending on how distracted I got. As my dad explains it, the paint will adhere better if it's applied this way.

And now, the hardware on the other doors in the house is starting to drive me crazy. I'm going to live with the newly painted locks for a while to make sure there aren't any chipping issues, and then I'm going to bust out the spray paint again.

Small fix -- big impact.

1 comment: