Painting an Exterior Door
LESLIE: Evelyn in Georgia has a problem with her door. What happened?
EVELYN: The paint is chipping on the back door. I have kept the heat on but when I went to open the door to check on the house – back door – it’s the white enamel and it’s been several coats and it’s all over the floor and it’s kind of bustling up on the door itself.
TOM: What kind of door is this, Evelyn? Is it a wood door?
EVELYN: Wood door. Uh-huh.
TOM: OK. If you have a lot of coats of paint on that door – and especially if the heating and the cooling in the home is running inconsistently because it’s a vacant house – what you might be finding is that that door simply can’t hold anymore paint. And so, it’s stripping. As that wood starts to get moist, especially, a lot of that wood will fall off. So if you’re not running the air conditioning all the time or if you’re not running the heat on a regular cycle, it’s not going to stick very well.
At this point, the best thing to do is to strip the paint off the door and to repaint it. Because if you try to put new paint on top of that, Leslie, I think it’s not going to stick.
LESLIE: (overlapping) It’s not going to stick. And your best bet is to take that door off of its hinges; you know, pull the pins, pull the door off and lay it down on some horses outside and work on it on a flat surface. Because it’ll really help you to strip the paint more efficiently.
EVELYN: I figured that much but I didn’t know what to use. That was my question.
TOM: Well, the best thing for you to do is – once you get the old paint off – is I want you to prime it next. Don’t put a top coat on it, directly, without putting a primer first. And for a wood door, I would use an oil-based primer like KILZ.
EVELYN: But how am I going to get the paint off to start with?
TOM: Well, you’re going to scrape off all of the loose stuff and then you’re going to sand whatever’s left. You don’t have to go right down to the raw wood, but get as much of it off as you can.
LESLIE: And get it to as smooth as you can.
TOM: Yeah. You know, you don’t want to leave any loose stuff on there is the bottom line. But then you want to put a primer on it. I would use an oil-based primer like KILZ. And then, use a surface paint over that. Just use an exterior grade trim paint, is the best thing to use, because the trim paints on the exterior grade, they have more pigment in it. They have more titanium dioxide, which is the colorant in paint. And that tends to stand up and be a lot harder and tougher; especially in a problem paint area.
So that would be the way to do it, Evelyn. And I think if you do that, that door’s just going to look good all over again.