19 September, 2010

Stripping Wood Doors, Part 1

I hate stripping paint.

It probably wouldn't be so bad if some previous owner didn't use peachy-flesh-colored enamel on everything. It's nearly impossible to pull up.

I blame this paint for me dragging my heals at attempting to strip any of the doors, but the time has come in our bathroom restoration for it to be done. This will be my first door project.

And so, for the next week or so, we'll be without a bathroom door as I work to remove the six layers of paint that coat it. Yes, six. I counted. We're using a folding screen as a door, designated shower times, and the honors' system that we won't peek to get us through the week.

So here we go. This is the door in question.

The hook, we discovered, is early plastic, but broken and painted over so is not worth saving. I hate the skinny towel bar, but because it's vintage, I can't throw it away. It goes into the storeroom on the shelf of vintage house parts that I don't plan on reusing, but won't pitch out.

Here's the doorknob.

The shiny nickel finish is wearing off on the knob, but we're going to keep this one. I like the idea of 85 years' worth of hands turning the knob. The plate looks like it's in pretty good shape (I removed some of the paint to take a peek). It's also polished nickel. The reverse side of the door has a glass knob, as do most of the doors in the house. The bottommost layer of paint, under five different layers of five different shades of white, is not, as it turns out, the dreaded fleshy peach, but yellow. Not a bad color, but we have no intention of repainting the door. It also turns out that it's about as difficult a paint to remove as the peach.

The first step was a $20 heat gun, set on high. It took about 2 1/2 hours to remove the bulk of the paint.

A closeup.

So now, as I type this, I have the entire side of the door coated in Citristrip. Of the strippers I've tried to date, I like how this one works; it doesn't give me a headache and if I accidentally splash it on my skin, it doesn't instantly burn. It's slow-acting, so I'll leave it for about 12 hours before attempting to see what's underneath.

Curious? Join me tomorrow to find out what we discover.


Jen said...

There is a layer of cream high gloss enamel that is stubbornly stuck to all our millwork. The heat guns stops on that layer. In 95 years I do not think anyone ever stripped any layers of paint before they repainted at our house.

Jen said...

In other words, I truly feel your pain.

Brigid Keely said...

I'm looking forward to updates. Your blog is really helpful and informative when I make plans to restore our circa 1930s Chicago 2-flat. :D

Joanne said...

Thanks, Jenni - So what do you use to get rid of it? I'm resorting to melting it as much as possible with either heat or orange goo, and rubbing with a brass bristle brush and scraping corners with metal turkey lacers. The lacers have a curved end that exactly matches the curve of our trim, so I can scrape it along. Tedious. Tedious. Tedious.

Brigid--Two flats are fun; if I screw up something on one, there's always the other unit to perfect my skills. I can't remember if I asked before, what neighborhood are you in? We're S. Evanston, border of Rogers Park.

Brigid Keely said...

We're in Albany Park. My husband grew up in Evanston and if we purchase our own property (my in-laws own this one) we'd like to be in Evanston. Some friends of ours are house hunting RIGHT NOW and one sends me links to places he thinks I'd like. It's maddening because we can't afford anything, but also cool. :)

Joanne said...

@Brigid: Albany Park--so you're not far from us at all.

Travel and Leisure just voted Evanston as one of the country's coolest suburbs. :-) We've loved it ever since we moved here 2 1/2 years ago. Home prices have dropped like a stone, however, and I'm sure we've lost value; now's the time to buy, and part of me wishes we had waited.

We've met sellers who would consider creative financing, such as seller-financing. (We'd love to do it for our condo in Uptown, if anyone was interested. Hey readers--is anyone interested?) I'll keep an eye out for you, too; I've seen FSBO homes that aren't listed in the MLS. There may be a deal that you just can't pass up. :-)

Joanne said...

@Brigid: I forgot to mention that Ted was living at the south end of Albany Park when I first met him. I really like the area; it had a great mix of people. We drove through earlier tonight on our way to Guey Lon at 3968 N Elston Ave.--they have awesome "Chinese Spaghetti."