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I am about to repaint my 100 year old front door, from white to black. I have reviewed the existing Q&A on the site, but none seem to specifically cover my issues. The door

  • has been previously painted with what appears to be latex/acrylic paint (although there are probably remnants of old oil based paint under there somewhere)
  • has a dull look, but does not seem too chalky
  • is in pretty good shape, does not need a lot of repair/filling, and the paint is not chipping
  • is Dutch style with 30 small windows and a dozen molded panels
  • I am only painting the outside face, and not repainting the edges.

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How do I go about painting the door so the finish looks good, is durable, and takes the least reasonable amount of work?

Specific issues:

  1. Do I need to sand or is a good wash down enough? Or maybe a liquid sander? All that cutting in will be hard enough without struggling to sand all those mullions and moldings (to say nothing of not scratching 100 year old glass).
  2. Do I need to prime, or is the old paint (cleaned a bit) good enough?
  3. Is there any special paint, other than exterior trim (probably satin or semigloss) to consider?
  4. Is there any additive I should use with the paint for flow, finish, hardness?
  5. Do I really need more than 2 coats?
  6. Is there something else I am failing to ask/think about?
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Are you also using a glass storm door? If you are and depending on your location,summer high temp.,sun exposure,etc black may not be the best color choice. I have heard evidence, although anecdotal, of heat build up between the doors. The temperature can get hot enough to peel the paint or damage the door. –  mikes Sep 21 '12 at 15:47
    
To preserve the classic look of this 153 yr old house (update to make it "modern" in 1905), we forgo a storm door. The main door is thick and the house is well insulated w/storm windows (the hang-on-hooks kind), so we live with a bit of heat leakage. Also, the door is shaded by a portico. –  bib Sep 21 '12 at 17:55
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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Do I need to sand or is a good wash down enough? Or maybe a liquid sander?

A good wash, followed by a thorough drying, followed by a light sanding with fine grit sand paper to rough up the existing surface. Sanding ensures the new paint will get a good grip on the old paint.

Do I need to prime, or is the old paint (cleaned a bit) good enough?

No, its been sealed long ago - just clean and sand.

Is there any special paint, other than exterior trim (probably satin or semigloss) to consider?

Since there's already latex on it, exterior latex should be fine.

Is there any additive I should use with the paint for flow, finish, hardness?

No.

Do I really need more than 2 coats?

If it were white over black- you might need 3. Black over white, you might only need one good thick coat.

Is there something else I am failing to ask/think about?

Get saw-horses. Lay door flat on saw horses. Remove door from hinges, remove all hardware, tape all glass. Paint ONE SIDE only at a time, let try completely, then paint other side.

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Put nails into the top and bottom of the door and lay the nails on the saw horses. This way you can flip the door while the painted side is still wet, and do the other side. –  Chris Cudmore Sep 21 '12 at 14:25
    
Actually I am only painting the outside face, not even the edges, so I think I may be able to do it mounted. Although drips are less likely horizontal. Hmmm . . . –  bib Sep 21 '12 at 14:29
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LOVE the nails idea, Chris - never heard that one before. And I'd still remove the door and lay flat and since you want clean lines, tape the edges too. –  The Evil Greebo Sep 21 '12 at 14:41
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Evil gave you great advise here. I would add, however, use about 20% Flowtrol with your latex paint. You will be amazed how well it will flow off your brush and dry with less streaking. Also pick up a Purdy "Clear Cut" brush. Fantastic cutting brush that holds a sharp edge for your type of fine detailed work. –  shirlock homes Sep 21 '12 at 22:00
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