Now that you’re caught up on the door saga, lets talk paint. As I mentioned when we were modifying the doors 5 years ago, the plan was to paint them white. I’ve waffled back and forth between a few different options, but for a while I’ve wanted black doors. Mike and I recently were talking about this and he was a little concerned they would be too dark or too trendy. I told him that black is actually a very classic door color and after 5 years I was pretty sold on the idea, plus I already had the paint!
The doors in their raw wood state were actually really great and I had thought that maybe I could add some sort of matte wax to protect, but keep the color we had going on now. Ultimately, I decided that while the doors might look good (they’re cherry so I wasn’t sure if I could add wax/sealant without going too red), they would probably clash with the finished floors.
While still wanting some of the wood integrity I decided to try some ebony stain. I thought this would be the best of both worlds since some of the doors had larger Bondo spots from the modification process. Mike must have told me 27 times that stain might not be a good option because the plan at the beginning was paint and he wasn’t necessarily treating the modification process with any other option in mind.
I bought some ebony stain and some matte poly and even though I was up at 4:45 in the morning for a work deadline I got enough energy to sand and stain the first door. I coated the entire door with a brush and was feeling good (even though it was a little red for my taste) until I finished and started wiping it off. I knew I wanted a dark, saturated color so I didn’t rush, but the spots where the wood glue wasn’t completely wiped off made for more than a couple streaks.
Mike seemed almost apologetic when he kept telling me he wasn’t exactly careful because the original plan was to paint.
I really wasn’t too bummed because the ebony stain definitely was picking up more red tones than I cared for, and I was only disappointed because now I had to use an oil-based primer.
For those wondering why I didn’t just sand the glue streaks out, you have to remember that this is just cherry veneer and sanding too much (I had already done a thorough sanding before this stain) would risk sanding through the veneer (which was actually happening towards the bottom at the spot Mike cut/modified).
While I thought I was compromising by getting the dark look I wanted but keeping the wood grain, it wasn’t meant to be in the end. I bought a gallon of Sherwin Williams ProMar 200 Primer (oil-based) and ProMar 200 in Eggshell – tinted to Tricorn Black (SW 6258).
I painted everything in two batches – 3 doors at a time. I sanded/primed all sides first, then it took 3 coats of black paint to cover completely. I had hoped for a smooth matte finish, but the first 3 doors were almost chalky (I did add some Floetrol to prevent brush marks so I’m not sure if that was the reason) and every touch left little grayish marks. I realized these couldn’t be babied forever, so I did a final coat of RustOleum Pro Finisher Water-Base Polyurethane for Floors in Satin (which I had left over from painting the basement stairs). It left it less matte than I had originally wanted, but the extra protection is worth it. I did all the black/poly coats per door, then flipped over and started over. For the second set of doors I forgot to add the Floetrol and it wasn’t chalky (in case anyone else is thinking of painting a boatload of doors in their future), but I still think I would have wanted to add poly even if I had had the choice at this point, for the added piece of mind.
Overall the process took me over 3 weeks because of drying times and well, life, not to mention that 5 coats per side x 2 sides x 6 doors = 60 coats of painting!!
Overall I’m really happy with the black doors and they look really great against all of the white trim and our medium stained floors!
The final poly coat left them a little streaky, which can only be seen when light directly shines on it from the right angle, but of course as the painter I see them all the time. I tried doing a second coat on one panel which made it read a little blue but I think it just wasn’t completely cured at that point. If it dries clear, I’ll probably do a second coat on all the inside panels which is where it’s most noticeable. If I do, I’m doing it quickly before I lose steam and another 5 years passes before these doors get finished (just kidding!).
I’ll share more door photos when I show the office progress which will be later this week, because as crazy as it sounds, once all these doors were put back on the hinges I couldn’t wait to paint some more!