My Front Door Needs Help ! !

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Forum topic by gblock66 posted 11-21-2010 07:42 PM 1731 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View gblock66's profile


58 posts in 2929 days

11-21-2010 07:42 PM

This is my Girlfriends front door, it’s an old but beautiful front door that is falling apart at the seams. Even though the door has been painted numerious times you can still see most of the beautiful architectural woodwork. . .I live in Rhode Island and she lives in Plymouth Mass, This door really needs to be refinished and fixed . .can anyone give me some suggestions . . .I have included a few pictures . .

13 replies so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3138 days

#1 posted 11-21-2010 08:32 PM

I can´t see if the toplayer is a water paint but it sure looks like there is some oilpaint
down under , you can test it on a place that can´t be seen by using a heatgun and a scrapertool
if the paint bubles up after a few secons of heat then its oilpaint and can easely be striped with
heat and the scraper , just let it buble and in the secon you take the heat from it you use the scraper
just be carefull not to burn the wood and be realy carefull near the glass , you can use a peice of
hardboard or a plate made of iron against the glass to prevent the heat from getting to the glass
after you mhave striped the paint around the glass were the glass strips is mounted then take them of
and take the glass out before you continue stripping paint down to bare wood .
if you do it right it will only take around 1-1½ hour before you can look at the joints and take it from there
with sanding and repainting

take care

View Brandon Hintz's profile

Brandon Hintz

53 posts in 3031 days

#2 posted 11-21-2010 11:07 PM

most of the details appear to be applied moldings, I wouln’t reccomend sanding until all layers of paint including primer are removed, if it is a mixture of waterbase and oil base paints a chemical stripper like jasco will take it right off, just brush it on wait 15-20 min and wipe it off should remove 3-4 layers at once. Just keep in mind that some of those layers may be contain lead so sanding and scraping soul be done with caution.

-- Potential is limited only by imagination

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3720 days

#3 posted 11-21-2010 11:28 PM

This is a very nice door and is worth fixing.
I would 1st strip it down to the wood and then re glue all joints you may have to take most of it apart.
It will be a long but worth it job; good luck and keep us posted.

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3720 days

#4 posted 11-21-2010 11:33 PM

I see it has a storm door but it may not had one all the time so the door may have been exposed to bad weather for a while enough to damage the main door.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3006 days

#5 posted 11-21-2010 11:46 PM

I agree that you should first chemically strip the door down to bare wood. Given the age of that style door I would guess that the joints may have been glued with Hide Glue. If that be the case with some heat the joints should come apart for you to clean up the joints and re glue the joints back together with water resistant glue.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View dannymac's profile


144 posts in 3038 days

#6 posted 11-22-2010 12:17 AM

if you can get a temporay replacement you should take the door off and have it dipped. then yuo’ll be able to see the condition of the joints. you may be able to get away with injecting the jonts with glue if not it should be simple enough to spread them open a bit to glue them

-- dannymac

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4192 days

#7 posted 11-22-2010 12:23 AM

I agree with Greg. Clean it up. Take it apart. Re glue.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3398 days

#8 posted 11-23-2010 12:44 AM

Looks like it’s worth restoring. It’s a big enough project that it’s likely going to require a temporary main door while you go at the restoration. Maybe you can get lucky with a used door that will fit.

Good luck!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View aurora's profile


229 posts in 3275 days

#9 posted 11-23-2010 01:03 AM

i have stripped a number of really old doors (with much alligatored layers of paint) with a heating plate. heats the paint, then you scrape off with a putty knife . works well once you get the hang of the timing. I liked the heater plate better than a chemical stripper because of speed and cost. it will be easier with the door off, which will be required to re-clamp and glue the joints. i have had a number of bad experiences with dip strippers raising the grain on the base wood with over aggressive stripping compounds (for real thick paints), leaving the doors in too long in the vat, and or water rinsing. i ended up with more work than hand stripping the door myself. i gave up and did it myself with better results, for less money (although time is money), and faster turn around time.

caution: stripping lead based paint results in a hazzardous waste product, ... lead! you must dispose of it per your local code. wear a mask if you attempt to strip old paint regardless of method used.

good luck

View gblock66's profile


58 posts in 2929 days

#10 posted 11-24-2010 07:54 PM

Thanks for the great responses everyone. . . I really appreciate it . .Lot of great idea’s . .I think im going to try heating a corner and see how hard it is to strip. Thanks Aurora that just pushed me further away from having the door dipped. . .Im safer doing it my self. . .This is my first door .

View aurora's profile


229 posts in 3275 days

#11 posted 11-24-2010 08:47 PM


attached is a link to the tool i used to do lots of doors, ... and a whole house.

it’s not available thru amazon any more, but you can still find them, and once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty easy. i found this heating plate to be easier for me than the heater gun. put some drop cloths down to catch all the chips and waste paint, .. and wear a respirator.

happy stripping !!

View gblock66's profile


58 posts in 2929 days

#12 posted 11-24-2010 11:38 PM


Now that brings back memories. . .my father had one he used it to strip the house . . .years. . and years ago . .wonder what ever happened to that . . . .once he got the hang of it. . .I remember. . .he flew throu it. . .Thanks. . .now to find one. . . .off to ebay. . .

View CampD's profile


1674 posts in 3509 days

#13 posted 11-25-2010 12:09 AM

Like Aurora, I to have stripped a few old doors, heat does work the best and the least mess.
1 little sxtra I do, is to leave a patch of paint showing the different layers to show off its history, I do so on the hinge side. Dont forget these old door were made of old growth wood usually fir with mortise and tenon with a pin. Select a finish to show this wood off, the oringial finish most likely did.
It,s a lot of work and only way is to take the door off and lay it on saw horses.
That handle is not the original, bet you find that it’s been patched around that area. I’d see if I could find a orignil style repacement in an antique store. There’s plenty around the Cape.

-- Doug...

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