Friday, June 5, 2015

The Curse of the Back Door

My friends. I have discovered a curse. I named it the Curse of the Back Door. It's real people. 

When we got our new (faux) french doors installed last fall I knew I wanted to paint them black. I loved the white too (they were actually just primed) but my heart lies with the lovely contrast of black doors and white trim: 

black interior doors
All of the interior doors in our basement and main floor are painted black -- I still have to start the upstairs. 

These doors never caused me any problems. I've shared how to paint them here and here. It takes some time (primer and at least two coats of paint) but in general this is a pretty easy DIY project:

painting doors black

Soooo…remember that one time when I went to paint our atrium door black and the entire glass window fell out and we had a gaping hole in our house for a couple days? Yeah. Good times. 

I knew better this time then to attempt this the same way. Our doors have the plastic grids over the top so when disaster hit last time I was taking the grid off to spray paint it. Other than breaking the entire door that method worked pretty well. ;) The paint held up on the plastic for years. 

Now after looking at our new doors I realized that that old door wasn't properly glued. The glass shouldn't have fallen out -- but I wasn't taking a chance on it happening again. 

I cleaned the grids well before I started: 

painting plastic grids on doors

The paint color I use is Graphite by Benjamin Moore and I have it mixed at Sherwin Williams. Since I was hand painting the grids this time I asked what paint was best and they suggested this stuff: 

paint for grids on doors

It's supposed to grip well to all surfaces. 

At first I was going to do a combo of taping off the grids and sliding paper behind them to paint. I didn't want to tape off all of it and it's easy to get paper behind there. 

As I started to do that I remembered a trick I've seen over the years of just painting the grids and then scraping the paint off the glass after the fact. I've actually done that before on smaller projects and it worked quite well: 

painting plastic grids on doors

It always looks so easy right? You just wait for the paint to dry and use a razor and its simple right? 

FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD DO NOT DO THIS. 

Gah. Arrrgghhhh. Seriously! I cannot express the frustration of this process and the length of this process and the strong desire to kick something during this process. 

It was HORRIBLE. There are many factors that may have contributed to this that I'll go into in a minute. But the bottom line is that it sucked. 

I used a straight razor edge to scrape it all off: 

no taping painting doors

This photo was taken after the fact, when the crying stopped. 

The process took hours and hours and hours. I would scrape it would peel the paint off the grid. Or I would score it first, then scrap, and the paint would go under the grid. Then I'd lift the grid off a bit and have to try to get under there to get it all out. When it did work it was excruciatingly slow -- little bitty strands would come off at a time. 

I sat scraping for three hours one night. THREE. HOURS. 

And I wasn't even done. 

Now. There are a few reasons this may have happened. First of all, this type of grid is just not a good place to use this method. Since it moves around and it's so easy for the paint to get underneath, it creates a ton of work. If you have interior doors with the wood grids that are glued on -- go for it. It will work MUCH better. 

It could have been that I did it too soon after I painted -- I waited almost a day to scrape though, and the paint was plenty dry. I tried it the next day and it was just as much of a mess and pain in the butt. You could wait much longer for the paint to cure even more, but this door gets full sun all day and I didn't want to chance it getting baked on there. I thought it could also be because this paint is an enamel -- maybe it's not as easy to scrape? (It was almost like it was plastic or rubbery when it would come off.)

I don't know what it was, but I've decide I'm never painting a back door ever again. EVER AGAIN. I'm not good at it, obviously. ;) Thankfully I don't see us having any more back doors to paint in the near future. 

And thankfully, I LOVE how it turned out: 

black french doors

I waited a long time to do these for a few reasons -- one, I was just enjoying them as they were for a while. Also, I was trying to decide if I was going to paint the transom and how I would make that work since those grids are inside the window:

black french doors with transom

I went back and forth on it for months. 

But the other day I had a total DUH moment. I painted our front door black years ago and we have a transom up there too -- and I never even considered painting that one. And I love that one as it is, so I went with that here too:

black french doors with grids

I asked my husband and he thought it looked better with it white to match all the windows. He's right. And less work for me. :) I do think the transom would look great painted black as well though!

There's still more paint to scrape and touch ups to do, but you know what? I'm leaving it. It's fine. I need a break from the scraping. It almost put me over the edge. There may have been some maniacal laughing by 11 p.m. that night. 

But I knew the moment I stepped back and took it all in that it was worth it…I will never tire of the look of black doors: 

black french doors with white transom

I think they are classic and also add some interest and character. They also make these pretty doors even more of a statement -- they were beautiful before but they kind of "went away" when you were in the room. And that's OK! I just love how the black makes them pop. 

And it ties in beautifully with our pantry door a few feet away: 

glass pantry door

Oh look! Doritos! 

I love the look of black window frames too, but I think that would get a little heavy. It's not possible with our windows anyway (the grids are inside) and you won't find this girl painting a grid of any kind anytime soon. Or ever. 

So there you go, the dramatic tale of yet another back door makeover. Have you ever tried to paint these types of doors? Any luck? What method did you use? 



56 comments:

  1. I love it! But what about the outside? Have you painted it yet? I'm hoping to paint our front door yellow this weekend to cover the white primer. yea, it's been up 6 years and I have yet to paint it...I hate painting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't yet -- but last time I did our atrium door on the outside I just left the grid white. I'll be doing that again. :)

      Delete
  2. I love it too! If I ever paint my woodwork the doors will be black. I have a question. Where did you get the chandelier over the table? Kind of looks like one I saw at World Market. It's very pretty.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I painted a door in the dining room that leads out to the patio. It is a half window/half solid door combo, so it was much less work. I just used regular latex paint (the door had been painted before by previous owners) and I used the scraping method too. Even when I tape I get paint everywhere because I am super lazy and messy, so I didn't bother. Like you said, our grid is glued down, so it was super easy to scrape. It took about 10 minutes, and then little bit of window cleaner removed the remnants I couldn't get. I am sorry it was so frustrating for you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You've convinced me. I'm painting some of my doors black this summer. It looks AMAZING.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I feel so bad for laughing, but when I read the title the first thing that popped into my head was, "Please don't say you broke this door too!" And you didn't, so at least there's that, right? Didn't help? LOL! It looks great! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I LOVE black doors!! However, I am debating about painting our doors black in our house. If I paint the doors black in our bedrooms do I then need to paint the closet doors black as well? I am scared it will look to heavy with the closet doors black as well. What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tara I haven't started our bedroom doors yet but I don't think I'll do the sliding closet doors in black -- it would just be too much. If I had a single closet door I think I would.

      Delete
  7. The door looks great! It's amazing how much a little paint can completely transform a space. You actually convinced me to paint our interior doors dark gray (SW Iron Ore) and I love them. Have a great weekend :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I know there is something that you paint on the windows and then you paint the grids and trim then you can scrape it off. I have seen Nicole Curtis do this.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Looks fantastic! Did you paint the door knobs too? If so, don't they end up chipping and peeling?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! No they stayed the same. I haven't had much luck with spray painting knobs.

      Delete
  10. I feel your pain. I spent five hours scraping the paint from a mirror that I painted, and even though it was a big mirror, it wasn't THAT big. I thought it would just scrape off, and I would be finished. Lesson learned.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Have you ever given Katie Bower's paint scraping tip a try? I've been using it as I SLOWLY paint all of my 80 year old gridded windows. It works really well... and it's super fun. I included a link to her post about it below but the short of it is to spray your window panes with glass cleaner (must contain ammonia) score with putty knife or razor and then scrape away.

    Something to consider as you are doing your final touch up scraping.

    http://www.bowerpowerblog.com/2014/08/what-a-pane/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't tried this method but will if I ever attempt this again. Which I'm hoping I won't. ;)

      Delete
  12. Did you try spraying the painted window with Windex and then using the razor? Ive done it a million times and it comes right off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I didn't try that. The paint came off easy enough, but it's hard to describe -- it was plasticy and was peeling off the grids, even though I was scoring it. So frustrating!

      Delete
  13. I love my scraper, I find myself scraping windows and paint from areas all the time but I'm a 'picker' by nature so I could go hours. I agree you should paint the transom too but still a nice transformation.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I painted ours about three months ago. We have doors that are identical to yours. I used Sherwin Williams latex paint in Urbane Bronze. I taped off every single grid before I painted. I was soooo excited to complete this project because I knew it would add just what we needed in our eat-in kitchen. I scored each grid with a straight edge before I peeled off the tape. THE PAINT PEELED OFF IN STRIPS....every single grid. I took a week break. Came back to re-paint the areas that had peeled off and used a straight edge to clean the glass. Some areas are still missing strips of paint because it once again peeled off. I feel your pain. I gave up and have not even attempted to make it look decent. I just can't even right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally understand!! I've just left it for now -- it's still too soon. Ha!

      Delete
  15. Love the black door! So chic!

    Http://www.bluelabelsboutique.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I painted my bedroom doors black and I had the same question about the closets! I only painted the outside of the doors, insides are white. I think I am going to leave all closet doors white, but spray paint the hinges and knobs flat black!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question -- I haven't done our bedroom doors yet but when I do the closets will stay white. We have the double sliding doors in two rooms and I think it would be a little too much black in the space.

      Delete
  17. you can buy a product to paint on the glass, then you paint and once done it lifts off glass easily with a simple scrap. Don't know the name but Nicole Curtis from Rehab Addict on HGTV uses it all the time and profiled it many times. Loves the black doors, sorry it was so hard!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The doors look fantastic! After all that I'm glad they turned out so well :)

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  19. It does look stunning. I love the black.

    ReplyDelete
  20. They turned out great. Love the look. Yes, windex works as does applying vaseline around the edge before painting.

    ReplyDelete
  21. It looks stunning! All the hair pulling and crying we well worth it (says the girl who did not have to do the work). Seriously though, the doors look beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Here's a tip that worked for me when I was painting a door grid. Slip thin ( think shirt board or cereal box ) cardboard behind the grids. As long as you're not slopping thick gobs of paint on the grids it will remove easily when the paint is almost dry. Replace with fresh cardboard for each coat. Obviously you can't do that on the edges but that's a whole lot smaller of an area to either tape or scrape!

    ReplyDelete
  23. All of my doors are painted SW Black Fox. ::swoon:: We used that same paint. It's great stuff but once it's cured, it's rock hard!!! I'm not surprised you had a hard time scraping! They look amazing!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Fabulous! Looks so classy. Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I feel your pain, Sarah. When I painted my laundry room door I did it the the same way. I was too lazy to tape each grid off and read somewhere that it was easier to do it your way. I was literally in tears as I scraped each bit of paint away.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Beautiful! I love the white, but wow.. to see it in black, it's just a stunner! For some reason Doritos are sounding good now.. :0) Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  27. It may have been a pain, but the doors look awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I want to paint my doors black, but I am not allowed! :( but I love how yours turned out even after all the drama! Now I need to go find a packet of Doritos as for some reason I am craving them now! :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love it! I'm going to do this! Thanks for the inspiration! It's beautiful! Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  30. We've been painting our exterior windows and didn't want to tape. The scraper method worked great! It was quick and easy. Only one window was a grid but not a loose one, so maybe that's he difference. It also could be the paint.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Stunning! Yes, classic indeed!! I used to work in a hospital. Instead of taping off a room around moulding etc. prior to painting I'd stop by the radiology department for some recycled x-ray film. So thin yet sturdy. Now I think everything is computerized.

    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds perfect! Thin plastic would be awesome for this.

      Delete
  32. You deserve Doritos after that process! Ugh I had to scrap black paint off the window of our back door and it was brutal. They look beautiful though so congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I am curious about how the doors look from the outside. I want to paint a door black on the interior and exterior sides, but am worried that the white on the underside of the grid will look weird. Not sure I'm being clear, but from the inside, you can see the back of the grid that's on the outside...and from the outside, you can see the back of the grid that's on the inside.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's my dilemma too. I painted our french doors black but the grid is still white because I'm not sure how the contrast of the white underneath the other side will look after it's painted black. Sarah can you post an up close picture of yours and let us know your thoughts on this?

      Delete
    2. Yes I know exactly what you mean. There are some spots where the paint got behind but I've been taking a piece of paper and running it back and forth behind the grid. It does a good job of getting those little flakes off. I'm not done doing that yet but I don't even notice it when I walk in and out. If you are particular at all that may be an issue!

      Delete
  34. The French doors look amazing! I love the look of white transom window up top! Sorry the scraping took so long.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I don't know if anyone else mentioned this, but I just painted done interior French doors and did the scraping thing. Before scraping, I sprayed the glass/paint with a vinegar and water solution. The paint just peeled off. I had our double doors scraped and cleaned in 40 minutes- all 4 sides!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I just love black doors! Painting our interior doors black is my summer project. Now I need to figure out a way to do our french doors with grids..... I definitely don't want to do that much scraping! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  37. I painted out doors that have grids on them and painted them white last summer. I used the paper method (just slid it around behind the grid wherever I was painting). If it makes you feel any better, it sounds like it was a little less work than your doors, but it was still a pain in the butt and I still had to do a little scraping off the glass! But it DOES look beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Um, we have identical doors in our bedroom that lead to the patio. I want to do this sooo bad right now. Like, right now. Except, it's 90+ degrees. Not great temps for moving, much less painting. I shall heed your warning and tape first. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Make sure you score along the tape before peeling it off too! :)

      Delete
  39. Wooow! I love black doors! Looks fantastic :-). Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I love the outcome! Like you I have painted all our main floor doors black, my great debate is what to do with the bifold doors for our pantry and playroom closets, any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete

I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!