08 May 2012

DIY: front door color-matching and painting

As I revealed last Friday: YES, OUR HOUSE IS FINALLY ON THE MARKET. FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY. Considering how long and how much work it took us to get it on the market, and considering that we have a sweet new apartment waiting for us in St. Louis, I’m really ready to have this place sold. I have loved you, little house, but it’s really time for us to go our separate ways. And by that I mean you can stay right here in Nashville and I’ll go somewhere else.

You could argue that we’ve been readying the house to sell for years, because every design and d├ęcor decision I’ve made has been while muttering “not our forever home”. But there was still a big push here at the end to take care of those little things that I’d put off. And most of them took place... outdoors. Which makes sense, as we had that horrible hailstorm a few months ago, and also I have generally avoided any vaguely outdoor-related activity for... forever.

But we got them done, dear readers! And I survived to tell the tales!

First of all: the front door. Everyone with an HGTV habit as bad as mine knows that the buyer’s first impression of a home is crucial. That means the front of the house – the landscaping, the paint, the front porch – should be impeccable. And I noticed last Christmas that our front door was looking pretty rough, weird color-balancing aside.

See all those icky spots in the paint? A polka-dotted weather-spotted front door does not make the best first impression. It sort of looks like it has a skin disease... for doors.

As the weather got warmer, the door got covered in pollen. And then, when I tried to take off the magnetic wreath hanger to at least wipe it down...

The paint came with it. Ugh. I’ve since learned that you should put a piece of wax paper between the hanger and the door to protect the paint job, but that doesn’t help me with this thanks.

Worse was the grossness behind the magnetic metal kickplate on the door:

So yes! A quick coat of paint was certainly in order.

Just one problem. Here’s what my inherited, possibly twenty-year-old can of front door paint looked like:

Oh dang. Okay. Well, surely someone wrote the name of the paint somewhere on the can, right? Or at least wrote down the formula?

That’s the only identifying info I have for this. 2YA, 2YB, 2YC doesn’t seem like a paint formula to me. And before you get excited thinking “Batson Burgundy” is the name of the shade... Batson was the contractor who built my subdivision. So. No. Dammit.

Wait, why was it so important to have the exact same shade of paint? Well, we have shutters on our upper windows that are painted the same color as the front door. The shutters look just fine, which is nice considering I didn’t want to pay to have them painted nor hang out of a second-story window to paint them myself. But if I didn’t paint the door the same shade of red, it would clash with the shutters. And the perfectly-matched paint color was all dried up. Arrrrgh.

So... I chipped out a piece of the paint and took it to my favorite big-box paint counter, thinking they could color-match it.

But before I could get all self-congratulatory for being so clever with my brilliant solution, the paint counter guy informed me that my dried paint blob was too shiny for the color-matcher. My best bet, said the apologetic paint counter guy, was to do my best to find a paint chip that matched.

As you might imagine, that was far easier said than done. But the best approach, I found, was to take a tip from the makeup artists. No really! They say to select a foundation by testing it on your skin and making sure it disappears. I did the same thing with random paint chips and my little dried blob of paint.

I tried many more than just those four, but the winner? Behr’s Red Pepper, on the left up there. And honestly, if I’d gone to the store without my paint blob, I totally would have guessed the color wrong. Maybe they couldn’t color-match it, but the dried paint blob was essential nonetheless! I asked for a quart of flat exterior in the new-ish shade.

Once home, I tested the new paint on the door at the bottom, where it could be hidden by the kickplate if it clashed horribly and I needed to come up with a Plan C. But luckily...

Ehh, close enough! Thank goodness! (Wait, can you even see where I painted? Just barely? Then mission accomplished, baby.)

After giving myself a high five, I proceeded to prep the door for painting. I first wiped off all the polleny-grossness with Windex, then taped off the doorknob and deadbolt, being far too lazy to remove them for this little job.

Thanks to the color-matching drama, by this point I was in the home stretch! I used a cheap foam brush for the edging and panel frames (foam = fewer brush strokes):

And a small foam roller for the rest:

In less than an hour we had a freshened front door! No more polka dots! Well, at least, less-obvious polka dots.

I kept the door cracked open as long as I possibly could – intentionally starting this project on a nice-weather day – to allow the paint to fully cure. I think we left it cracked for about four hours, then closed it to run errands for an hour, and left it open again for a few more hours once we returned home. Maybe that was overkill, but we didn’t have any paint sticking to the doorframe!

And of course, one of the most important parts of this job in terms of getting it ready to sell:

The future owner of this home won’t be caught wandering around the paint counter with dried paint blobs, oh no! And there’s plenty left in the quart for when the shutters need a coat.

This is just one of many to-market-we-will-go projects we tackled recently... stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

Wax paper between the paint and the magnet! Thank you for this tip. I wanted to use a magnet, but was sure my paint would stick to it.