How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors

“It’s all in the details.” We hear it all the time, and how true it is. We all know that one of those details that can give a boost to tired cabinetry is new hardware. But another way to update cabinets is to swap out visible hinges for hidden ones.

Hidden hinges, or European (Euro) hinges as they’re called, aren’t difficult to install, and were part of my mini kitchen update. My kitchen is small, and in order to gain storage space, I switched the 30″ upper cabinets to 42″ ones, but kept some of the existing base cabinets. The very shiny, visible hinges on the base cabinets were a dead giveaway as to which cabinets were the moldy oldies. Here are the originals.

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I mentioned to my super-smart carpenter brother, Mike, that I was wanting to update my hinges but was afraid of ruining my doors in the process.  I watched a YouTube video of DIYer who tried to install hidden hinges, and I’ll be polite and just say that the outcome was not a good one. Thus my fear. The place I ordered my new cabinets from couldn’t order replacement doors, so this was a one-shot deal.

My brother volunteered to investigate the world of hidden hinges for me since he was going to need to figure them out for a project he was working on too. I pretty much bought him every make and model of hidden hinge I could get my hands on, along with the hinge drill kit.

I gave him one of my old cabinet doors that I wasn’t going to be using, to experiment with. And of course, he figured it out. Here are the hinges from Home Depot I ended up using. There’s a big price savings per hinge if you purchase a 10-pack, by the way.

How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Hidden hinges also come in a soft-close style if you’re one of those people who want the latest and greatest. (Is it really that bad to hear a door close?) My new cabinets came with soft close hinges that I personally could take or leave.  I still find myself trying to shut them all the way instead of letting them do their thing. You might not want soft-close hinges if you’re the type who likes to slam things when irritated. (Just a thought.)

Here’s what comes with the kit to install the hinges–a special drill bit, a template and instructions that I didn’t have to read because my super-smart carpenter brother read them for me. You’ll want to be sure your cabinet door is thicker than this bit or you’ll end up like the YouTube guy.

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

There are a couple of types of hidden hinges–ones for cabinets with face frames and ones for cabinets without face frames. My cabinets, which are from the late 80’s, have face frames.

There are also a couple of overlay sizes, most commonly  1 1/4″ and 1/2″. Overlay refers to the distance your door overlaps your opening. Mine didn’t measure 1 1/4″ or 1/2″, and this project still worked with my doors. If you’re looking for information on how to measure your overlay, this is not the post for you because I haven’t the faintest idea. Back to Google you go! (Sorry!)

That being said, buying every make and model turned out to be a good idea. I was pretty pumped when I installed my first door…until I shut the door and there was a gap the size of Kansas where the door didn’t cover my opening. I should have taken a picture because it was pretty hilarious-looking. Wrong hinge. So I removed the 1 1/4″ overlay hinge, installed the 1/2″ overlay and was good to go. The holes that need to be drilled in the door will be the same in size, depth and location regardless of your overlay measurement.

So here’s how this works. On the new cabinets I ordered, the center of the hinges were 4 1/2″ from the bottoms and the tops of the doors, so that’s the measurement I used for drilling on my old doors. The original hinges on the old cabinets were placed at about 3″ from the ends, so I didn’t have to worry about the old holes interfering with my new ones.

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

My brother made me a better, more durable template from some clear plastic he had, so I chose to use his instead. It worked better with the bevel on my door’s edge.

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I drilled through the three holes in the template to create the necessary pilot holes, using tape on my drill bit as a guide so I wouldn’t drill all the way through the door.

How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I then lined up the pointed end of the bit with the center hole.

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then I drilled and drilled. If your drill is a wimpy one, be prepared for this to take a minute…or five.  I realized what a difference a decent drill makes during this process as I had three different ones going–one with a bit to drill the pilot holes, one with the hinge bit and one to use as a screw gun for screwing the screws into the cabinet doors. If you have lots of doors to do, it might be a good idea to borrow a second and/or third one from a friend or you’ll spend lots of time playing musical bits. If you have multiple drills, use the most powerful one for the large hinge-drilling bit.

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I drilled until the top of the bit was flush with the surface of the cabinet. If you drill too deep, you may end up with a nice peep-hole in your door. That would be a bummer. If it’s not deep enough, the hinge will rock back and forth after you set it in the hole, and you’ll need to drill a little deeper.

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And yes, it’s messy!

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I thought it would be a great idea to just pick up the door and brush off the shavings into the garbage can. It was a great idea! Except I left one of the screws on the door which ended up in this sawdust abyss–never to be seen again.

How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s the door all cleaned up. Looks like Swiss cheese. These cabinets obviously had more than one set of hinges over the years. I patched all the extra holes since I painted the cabinets white, and once the doors were painted they disappeared completely. If you have stained cabinets, you can fill the old holes with matching wood putty.

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The next step was to place the hinge in the hole and hope the pilot holes lined up. And they did.

How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The hinges came with these white tabs, but I chose not to use them. Since my cabinets are oak, I shouldn’t have any problems with the screws working themselves loose, but I’ll save them just in case.

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next I screwed the hinge to the door with the two screws provided, and then I screwed the hinge to the face frame on the cabinet box that I had already painted white. The screw on the right in the set of three on the face frame is used to make adjustments to the door to make it sit level if it’s a little crooked after it’s installed.

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

So let’s review, shall we? Here’s the original cabinet. Before…

How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s what the cabinets looked like after they were painted, but before the new hinges were added. I temporarily sprayed the old hinges white until my brother got the hinge thing figured out. During…

 How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And here’s after the hidden hinges were added. Much better. Now you can’t tell the old cabinets from the new ones.

How to Install Hidden Hinges on Cabinet Doors/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The doors look a little naked without their hardware that’s been back-ordered for two months now, but then again this post isn’t about cabinet handles and knobs, it’s about hinges.

Once I got over the fear of drilling into my cabinet doors, I realized it wasn’t difficult. You can always try this out on a piece of scrap wood the same thickness of your cabinets first. Or if you’re lucky enough to have a super-smart carpenter brother, maybe he could show you how. 🙂

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Journeyman Painter and Certified Home Stager /Redesigner. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

How to Replace Interior Doors–DIY

If your home has interior doors that are dated, look like a machine gun had its way with them or perhaps have “artwork” on them from precious little humans, swapping them out isn’t difficult. I’m just an oldish-but-not-yet-elderly woman, and I managed to do this so you can too.

First let me show you what my old doors looked like.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

They were in amazingly good shape, which made me feel a little guilty for swapping them out. But I ended up using them for a couple other projects. More about that later.

Flashback: I once bought a house with a hole in the bedroom door that the neighbor said was from a high-heeled shoe. As the story goes, the shoe stuck in the door after being thrown like a tomahawk during an argument. I guess either he ducked at the right time or the Mrs. was a bad shot. (This was never verified, however.)

So the first thing I did was talk to the door dude at Lowe’s. I certainly can’t speak for all of the employees at every Lowe’s in America, but the door dude at my local Lowe’s knew his stuff. His name was Elvis. Yes. Elvis. And he was a treat—funny guy. He had the sideburns and everything.

At any rate, Elvis told me what measurements he would need in order to make the new doors fit into the existing openings. He first tried to talk me into ordering the doors and jambs that come pre-assembled (aka pre-hung doors). I said no thanks. All I need is the door, I said. He said it’s much easier to rip out your existing jamb and install the whole sha-bang, brand spanking new. I said, nope. Not easier for this girl, Elvis. Just need the door.

Just to be sure, I asked my trusty carpenter brother, Mike about that and he agreed with Elvis. He said it’s easier to tear out the existing door and jamb, and install a pre-hung door, than it is to install just the door into an existing jamb. That may be true if you’re a burly, hairy man who scratches, chews and spits. I know my limitations. Just doors, thank you.

In a nutshell, if you are wanting to replace only your interior door and not the jamb, you want to measure everything that makes the door fit into its existing opening—the height and width exactly, the location of the hinges and where the doorknob sits. You want that new door to be a carbon copy of your current door (only cuter). Don’t round up or down when measuring.  Use exact measurements.

My first door measurement for Elvis was from the top of the door, to the top of the top hinge. Eight inches. Good.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then I measured from the top of the door, to the top of the second hinge. And again to the bottom hinge. That tells the door-making folks where to route recesses for your hinges. If you measure exactly, they’re gonna fit. All of mine fit perfectly and matched up with my jamb hinges.

My existing hinges, fortunately, were the same size and shape as the ones that Lowes uses when they route for you if you don’t want to route your own. This is what they looked like. As I recall, there was a small fee for them to route the hinged areas. Worth it for me! (I spray painted my existing brushed nickel hinges an oil rubbed bronze color.)

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The next measurement was from the top of the door to the center of the bore hole. The bore hole on the edge of the door that is, where the latch comes out. Mine was 44″.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This is where the dead latch (male part) of your door hardware will live. From this single measurement, they will bore both holes that you need in order to accommodate your door hardware. One hole will be drilled into the edge of the door for the dead latch, and the other into the face of the door for the door knob or handle.

When you go to order your doors, be sure to write down each door’s location and the measurements that go with that particular door. That’s important because you’ll need to be able to tell your Elvis which way the door swings, and if the handle is on the right or the left. Just going in with a list of measurements without knowing which measurements go with which door, will be a headache if you don’t keep them straight.

Tip: Even if the doors look identical, take the time to measure each item on each door.

If you’re nervous about all of this, you can do what I did and just order one door, and try it before you invest a bunch of money into a whole house worth of doors that aren’t right. I was glad I did that because I made a mistake on my guinea pig door width measurement. I rounded to the nearest 1/4″ thinking Lowe’s probably couldn’t go that exact. But they can. I had to shave a strip off the hinge side of the door, which cut off my routed hinge spots, but I still managed to finagle the door and use it.

So here’s my hallway with the old doors removed. I was in the process of changing out some of my door casings and baseboards, and painting my trim white, so my photos are going to show different stages of these projects going on.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Tip: When you remove your old doors, remove the top hinge last or wear a hard hat. Trust me on that one.

The doors I purchased were pre-primed, so all I had to do was paint them. I did sand them lightly with a sanding sponge first because there were little bits of stuff here and there that I didn’t want to paint over. It was especially important to sand the edges, which were very rough. I also lightly sanded in between coats.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I leaned them up against the wall and went to town. I used Sherwin Williams “Pure White” color in a semi-gloss. It’s the perfect white.

How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now to install. Since I did this by myself, I decided it best to pre-drill all of my hinge screw holes.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I first screwed the hinges onto the jamb.

How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I then put a block of wood under the door to jack it up to the right level, and then screwed the hinges onto the door. I tried also screwing the hinges onto the door first and onto the jamb second, but didn’t think one way was any easier than the other. I believe the professionals put the hinges on the door first. It was a balancing act to hold the door in one hand, the drill in the other hand and the screws in my teeth, but I managed to do it without swallowing any hardware.

.

How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

For whatever reason, I had one door that rubbed very hard on the carpet when I tried to pull it shut, so I had to remove some of the bottom of that door. Not fun, since I already had it installed and I thought I was done. It was the last door and I was pooped, but I took a breath, put my big girl panties on and decided to carry on.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I drew a pencil line where I needed to cut.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I put some painter’s tape on the line so I could see it better when the sawdust started to fly, and so I wouldn’t scratch the door. I also put tape underneath to keep damage to a minimum on the underside.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since I can’t seem to cut a straight line to save my soul, I decided to make a fence just to be safe.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Done! What a sawdusty mess!

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

My “cardboard” door ended up with some fuzzies, but they sanded right off.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And what’s a new door without a new door handle!

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And here’s what’s inside.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

All you do is screw the strike plate on the jamb like so.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Insert the dead latch, and screw it in.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now we have this.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next, you insert the knobs/handles, and screw them in.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now with any luck, the dead latch will go right into the hole in the strike plate so that the door will latch.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

That’s all there is to it! What a difference a door makes!

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And of course we always want to recycle when we can, so I used my old doors to make shelving for my garage, and to make a workbench. Someday, I’ll post how I did these projects.

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Replace Interior Doors--DIY/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After I installed these doors, the closet doors looked out-of-place so I changed those out too. But that’s another post too!

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Journeyman Painter and Certified Home Stager /Redesigner. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

How to Fix an Interior Door That Won’t Stay Open (or Shut)

I know this isn’t exactly front page news, but my bathroom door won’t stay open. In the grand scheme of the universe I suppose it’s not a huge problem, but every morning when I brush my teeth, my hind end has a door bumping into it. I reach around to shove the door back open and my elbow finds it, sending a pain like that of a taser jolt (just guessing, of course) from my elbow to the tip of my pinky finger. And I should, in theory, be able to walk into my bathroom without having to push the door open every time.

I’m guessing if you’ve done a Google search and found yourself reading this post, you’ve got the same issue, and you’re well aware of how irritating this can be. I’ve given up using a door stop, because every time I need to do my ‘thang’ in the bathroom, I have to remove the door stop to close the door. Then I have to put it back again when my mission is complete. I tried that for a while, but it’s just as irritating as hitting my funny bone first thing in the morning.

Here’s a picture of the door from hell. This is my door’s favorite resting spot. It’s only resting spot.

 How to Fix a Door That Won't Stay Open (or Shut) / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The reason a door won’t stay put is because the hinges aren’t aligned properly. That is, all three hinges should form a perfectly plumb (vertical) line, and they don’t. Either the door jamb has shifted, the screws are working themselves out allowing the hinge to move or the house is simply falling apart. (Joking on the last one.)

In a situation where a door won’t stay open, it’s because the top hinge sits on the outside of the other two. In the above photo of the door for example, the top hinge sits to the left of the bottom two. Visually it’s impossible to recognize, but if you understand physics, it makes sense. (I paid attention in class.) To make the door stay open, I had to realign the hinges so that the top hinge sat directly above the other two.

My original grand idea was to bring the bottom and center hinges out by sliding some cardboard underneath them like so.

 How to Fix a Door That Won't Stay Open (or Shut) / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

It worked!! The door stayed open. Unfortunately, when I went to shut the door, the addition of the cardboard pushed the bottom of the door over enough that the door wouldn’t shut. It hit the jamb. This may be a good solution in some situations, however, if there is sufficient space between the edge of the door and the jamb when the door closes.

But since this idea didn’t work on my door, I went to Plan B. Since I couldn’t move the bottom hinge out (to the left as you look at the photo), I needed to take the top hinge in (to the right as you look at the photo). In order to do that, I was going to need some heavy artillery.

I got some long screws from my stash to pull the hinge and the jamb tighter to the wall, thus pulling the top hinge, and the door, to the right. Notice the difference in the screw length. The original hinge screws are on the left in the photo. The monster screws on the right are the replacements.

How to Fix a Door That Won't Stay Open (or Shut) / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Unfortunately, I only had two of these screws on hand, so that’s what I had to go with. The reason this idea worked is because the screws were long enough to reach the stud that’s behind the door jamb trim pieces, and they had enough oomph to pull the door in tighter.

 How to Fix a Door That Won't Stay Open (or Shut) / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

In this case, since my hinges and screws were oil-rubbed bronze, I used a sharpie to disguise them well enough to blend in with the hinge.

 How to Fix a Door That Won't Stay Open (or Shut) / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

If you have brass or brushed nickel hinges and screws, and can’t find long screws to match, you can purchase two ounce bottles of acrylic craft paint in a matching color (or something close), and dab it on the screw heads with a Q-tip if you don’t own any brushes. The paints only run around $2.00 at your local craft store. That’s the least expensive option.

If you can’t find a color match there, you can stick the screws in a piece of cardboard or styrofoam and spray the heads with matching spray paint. (More expensive, but oh well.) If someone comes to your house and points out that your hinge screws aren’t an exact match, you have my permission to escort them from your home.

Here are my screws after I Sharpie-fied them. They blended in just fine. Mission accomplished!

 How to Fix a Door That Won't Stay Open (or Shut) / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

If you have the opposite issue, and have a door that won’t stay in the shut position when it’s not latched, tightening the screws on the bottom hinge should do the trick. That’s all there is to it!

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

How to Un-stick a Sticky Interior Door

Do you have an interior door that’s driving you crazy because it’s a game of tug-of-war each time you open and shut it? Although a sticky door can be an excellent workout for your biceps, it can also be a major source of irritation. If you have a bicep-builder-door at your house, you don’t need an arsenal of power tools, saw horses or a place to work on a bulky door in order to fix it.

My son, Ross, had just such a door at his condo. It was so tight that it was impossible to close all the way. You can see where all the paint had worn off the jamb from the door scraping against it.

 How to Un-stick a Sticky Interior Door / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This is all the farther it would shut.

 How to Un-stick a Sticky Interior Door / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The solution—my $3.00 rasp that I scored at a garage sale. I don’t know how much a new rasp is, but this handy little device isn’t much more than a beefed-up cheese grater with a handle on it, so I can’t imagine that one would be too pricey. This is also a good tool to have when distressing furniture to wear down square corners and such.

 How to Un-stick a Sticky Interior Door / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since Ross didn’t have a ladder or step stool at his house (Oh, Santa…), I had to use the rasp while standing on a not-nearly-tall-enough chair, which meant working over my head. Not the best arrangement, I must say. Leverage on a scale of one to ten in this scenario was a one.

Basically to use a rasp, you simply place it on the surface you’re wanting to reduce, and drag it across the wood. You need to apply pressure to the rasp so it digs into the wood as you slide it. There’s really no way to mess this up.

 How to Un-stick a Sticky Interior Door / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I knew I was making some headway when the little rasp pocket filled with these adorable, banana-curl wood shavings.

 How to Un-stick a Sticky Interior Door / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After I’d taken several passes across the top of the door, I shut off the light in the bedroom I was working in, and shut the door. The light from the hallway on the other side of the door would show through the crack at the top of the door except where the door was too tight. This told me exactly where I needed to keep shaving. (Obviously this light trick will only work at night.)

After a few minutes, boo-ya! The door shut like it was supposed to!

 How to Un-stick a Sticky Interior Door / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I’ve taken doors off the hinges to cut them down before, and I can tell you that using a rasp on a door that is hung, is infinitely easier than trying to man-handle a door onto some saw horses, cutting off a tiny sliver with a circular saw and re-hanging it. And trying not to scratch the door on the saw horses, or scrape it with the saw is just a little more pressure than I need. It’s an especially rasp-worthy situation in a case like this one where only an eighth of an inch or so needed to be removed.

I’m guessing this process would be pretty difficult on a solid oak door or another hardwood, but it worked well on a hollow core door like this one that had a pine strip lining the edges. Hopefully, if you try this, you’ll have access to a ladder!

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal

Whether you’re getting ready to put your house on the market, or you’re just bored with your home’s exterior, a simple solution for a cheap, quick, DIY spruce-up is to paint your front door. Adding a punch of color through paint can make a significant improvement if you choose an interesting color.

Here’s a before picture of my front door. Boring, dirty and scratched with some dings thrown in for good measure. Unsightly at best. But we’re gonna fix that.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

My house is a neutral color with white trim. Just makes me sleepy looking at it. On the other hand, I’m a bit leery about using too crazy of a color since it’s on the outside of my house for the world to see. I narrow my choices to these three. Unfortunately, the colors aren’t true in this photo, and are a little more vibrant in actuality. If you have a neutral colored house, these three are all great color choices because they stray from the ho-hum white, black and red. They’re unique colors for a front door, but are a little on the muted side so they aren’t too gaudy. These colors are from Sherwin Williams, and the three runners up are–Underseas, Moody Blue and Exclusive Plum. Sort of green, sort of blue and sort of purple.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And the winner is…..Exclusive Plum! (Applause, whistles.) Honestly, the hardest part of the whole process is picking the color. Just remember the beauty of paint is if you don’t like it, you can just repaint. No biggy.

First things first. The key to a professional-looking paint job is always in the preparation. If you don’t take the necessary steps to prep your door, your neighbors may take one look, and wonder why you turned your kindergartener loose with a paintbrush.

This door has some dings and scratches that need to be fixed before painting. If they aren’t repaired, it would be like repainting a wrecked car without fixing the dents first. Yes. Just like that. Not very professional to be sure. Here’s some of what needs to be fixed on this door.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The appropriate product to fix dings in a metal door is Bondo, but I don’t want to invest in that when I have my handy, dandy cure all on hand. Durabond. For more information on Durabond, refer to my post, “Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets“. I’m guessing you could use spackle as well, since it will be coated with exterior primer and exterior paint to protect it. Also, this particular door is under a covered porch, and is protected by a storm door, so Durabond or spackle will certainly do the trick.

Here’s how the imperfections look with a coat of Durabond on them. After it dries, I sand and am ready to go.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now the door hardware needs to be removed. It’s difficult to get a good result with brush strokes around the door knob or with paint globed all over your deadbolt. Take a few extra minutes, and just remove the hardware to keep that blood pressure under control. Trust me on this one. It’s generally just two screws. I’m sure you can handle that!

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next, use an old brush to remove any loose particles that are inside the now-vacant holes. This eliminates picking up particles with the paint roller, and bringing them into the fresh paint on your door. (Another blood-pressure-raiser.)

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The final step before painting is to lightly sand the door to remove any lumps or bumps, and then wipe off the sanding dust with a brush or wet rag, paying close attention to the panels. The door needs to be clean and dust-free in order for the paint to adhere.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s the product from Sherwin Williams that I’m using for my project. A quart is more than enough.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s what you don’t want to do. You don’t want to paint weather stripping as you can see here that the previous painter did. Paint won’t stick to it since it’s flexible, and then you’ll have ugly, flaking weather stripping on your beautiful door like I do. All you have to do to prevent such a nasty problem is run a piece of masking tape over it to keep your paint off of it. Unfortunately, since there’s already paint on this one, I now either have to paint over the old paint or replace the weather stripping. I opt for painting over it for now, and may replace it at a later date.

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

A mini roller cover that is made of a knit rather than a nylon is what I like to use because it leaves very little texture. This one was purchased at Sherwin Williams. I also use a 2 inch angled brush for cutting in areas that can’t be reached with a roller, like the corners of the inset panels on the face of the door.

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now we can finally begin to paint! You’ll need to use primer for your first coat, and you’ll want to do your door edge first. (I’m using a gray tinted primer that I had on hand since my door’s going to be a darker color.) The only edge you paint is the hinge side. The other edge stays the inside door color. That’s just proper door etiquette.

My tip for painting the hinge side is keep the paint off the hinges, for goodness sakes. If you know your agility with a paintbrush is, let’s say, a one on a scale of one to ten, do your door (and the people who purchase your house after you) a favor and cover the hinges with masking tape first so you’re sure not to get paint on them. Simply remove the tape when you’re all finished. Paint on door hinges is a no-no. (More etiquette.)

So to paint the edge of the door, very carefully cut in around the hinges with a brush, and quickly roll through any paint that makes its way onto the front of the door. If you don’t roll through it, you’ll have a line of dried paint that you won’t be able to get rid of. Let me stress this point—I paint only about six inches of the edge of the door, and then quickly roll through the paint that laps over onto the front of the door. If you wait until you’ve painted the whole edge of the door and then go back and roll through the paint on the front of the door afterwards, it’ll be too late to get rid of the lumps and bumps. After you’ve finished the hinge side, check the inside of the door to be sure paint doesn’t seep around the corner onto the other side. If it does, a wet rag will take it right off.

Here’s my door with the edge primed. Excitement is building.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next come the panels. The key here is to work very quickly so you don’t have globs and brush strokes. You gotta paint like a Ninja now. First you quickly brush just one panel so you can get into the corners where you can’t get with the mini roller. Don’t worry what it looks like because you’re going to roll over it right away. Here’s what it will look like right after you brush it. I know. It’s ugly.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now I quickly roll over it so it looks like this. Much better now.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Same thing here.

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Ditto for the area around the peep hole. Don’t paint over your peep hole, or you won’t be able to see those nasty solicitors. Side note: Peep holes are simple to install. I’ve put one in every door to every house I’ve ever owned. They’re a life saver. Sort of like having caller ID on your front door.

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After the panels have been primed, you’ll want to cut in with a brush at the top of the door on the hinge side if your door won’t open all the way flat because there’s a wall behind it. If you don’t, you’ll end up hitting the trim around your door with your roller trying to get that corner.

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next, brush the bottom of the door (then quickly roll through it as well) just because it’ll make your life easier when rolling the main part of the door.

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s what the door looks like now.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now the rest of the door is ready to be rolled out. If you see chunks in your wet primer or paint, don’t leave them on the door thinking no one will notice them!! They will be noticed. Pick them off, and quickly re-roll that spot. This little guy was promptly removed.

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After the primer dries completely, follow the same steps with the paint as with the primer. I add some water to my latex paint, so it doesn’t leave a heavy texture. Do not add water to your paint if it’s oil/alkyd or you’ll have quite the mess on your hands. If you use oil, you’ll want to thin it down with mineral spirits. Important tip: You should be able to see through your first coat, and if you can’t, you’re probably putting your paint on too heavy. If you put it on too heavy, you’ll have a sticky door for a very long time. A very long time. Note the difference here between one coat, and two coats.

First coat–

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Second coat–

 Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

So here we go again. To be clear, I use one coat of primer, and then two coats of finish paint. You’ll especially need primer if you have patches. Without it, your patches will show through your two coats of paint.

Also, it’s a huge plus if you can paint on a day when the weather’s nice, and the humidity isn’t like that of a rain forest. I also left my door open all day to dry since I have a storm door to keep the bugs out. The longer you can go without closing the door, the better.

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Before and after pics. What a difference a day (and quart of paint) makes!

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal / HomeStagingBloomingtionIL

I painted my front door on July 4th because the weather was fantastic that day. A very special thank you to all of our devoted men and women who serve in the military. Thank you Veterans!

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.