|Before. Gross, yellow, '70s laquer on doors and trim.|
You may have noticed the frequency of posts has gone down recently, but it's only because we've been working on the mother of all projects--refinishing all the doors in the house. Definitely easier said than done.
We started with a single door, to experiment with our techniques. We started with a light sanding.
After the second coat it looked better, but we weren't happy with it. The gel stain gives a somewhat wood-like appearance, but it hides the real wood grain, which is actually pretty nice on the doors.
Since we didn't like the finish, we chemically stripped it and started over.
Our second attempt was a one-step stain and poly, in an attempt to avoid having to do multiple coats. It was supposed to be a rich mahogany (pretty dark), but it didn't look anything like the can and just made the door look like it did when we started. We quickly wiped it off as best as possible and returned it.
After some online research we found the next potential finish. Royal Mahogany Dura Seal Quick Coat stain, meant for wood floors with a clear Danish Oil top coat. Chrissy went to buy the stain and discovered it is only available to contractors...and cute girls who are very persuasive.
Thanks to the utility onesie, the stain went on beautifully. It highlighted the beautiful wood grain we barely realized the doors had.
The Danish Oil gave it the perfect sheen. Not too glossy, but nicely finished looking. This first door is slightly rough, but we deliberately used our closet door as the first test.
Once we had our system down, it was time to expand to do the rest of the doors.
The next step was a whole lot of miserable stripping. I cannot stress enough how nasty this stuff is. Chrissy started on the ground, but after 30 chemical burns, I convinced her it would be better to have the doors at a better working height.
After many hours and several doors, Chrissy had had enough, so we called in backup. We were lucky to get help from my brother, uncle and cousin. We owe them big time.
We went through four gallons of stripper and scraped the goo into a steel bucket. Once the stuff dried out slightly, I dumped out the nasty clump of rags and stripper into the trash can, saving the bucket for another project.
After everything was stripped, my cousin Garland sanded every door, with a sander purchased just for this project. Notice how many there are in the stack behind him. In total, we did 13 doors (eight closet, three bedroom, and two bathrooms).
I didn't want to look at them, so I made some filler pieces and carefully glued them in. There wasn't an easy way to clamp the piece, so I wedged a stick in the doorway to hold the pieces in place and draped a towel over it to make it more visible. I could imagine someone not paying attention and walking into it.
After sanding each doorjamb they all got at least three coats of paint. Yes, it was very tedious, just like the rest of the project. Thanks again to Garland for finishing up the painting.
We also had to get all our hardware in order. That meant painting the closet door tracks.
We did, however, spend a little money on new knobs for all the doors. We went with the Venetian Bronze finish because it went great with the new door color.
With everything ready, it was finally time to hang the doors.
I also painted the closet door pulls. I wasn't about to pay $7 per set for new pulls in the correct finish.
Unfortunately we skipped the door to the garage and the front doors because we didn't want them removed for a long period of time. Hopefully they will go fast since we are now experts on the process.
Update: I just realized I didn't include the total cost for this project. Here's the approximate breakdown:
Stripper: ($20 x 4) $80
Danish Oil: $10
Trim Paint: $40 (lots of leftover)
Spray Paint: $5
Closet Door Rollers: $15
David: 4 Beers
Garland: 3 lbs lentils
Mike: 6 gal herbal tea
Chrissy: 32 chemical burns