Monday, July 4

DIY Door Makeover

Since purchasing my home 3 years ago my interior doors have been on my 'To-Do' list.  My original plans were to replace the doors with old solid wood panel doors.  I picked up 2 old doors from a home in Lunenburg to be refinished and planned on finding 2 more to match.  The doorways in my 163 year old home vary, all 80" heights but some 32" openings, others 29 3/4", etc.  With limited spare time on my hands for DIY projects and not knowing how to plane and re-fit new doors I decided that having to strip, sand, paint, apply new hardware, new hinges and plane the doors was a project that could get too costly and time consuming. 

Another option was to purchase new solid wood doors from Home Depot - I love the look of the horizontal 5 panel doors but they are $150 each and would still need to be painted, fitted and new hardware purchased.

My other concern is that the doors I have now work perfectly fine and too often I find people are buying new opposed to refurbishing what they currently have or re-using, so brand new doors are not an option.  I decided to make use of what I have.

Here is what I've been living with.  Plain hollow white slab doors.

I've always loved the look of glossy black doors, especially the traditional European decor trend where the doors and trim are painted the same color, and in most cases darker then the wall color.  I had left over trim from my recent archway project that I knew would give my plain slab doors character.  The key with DIY projects is being able to envision the end result.  I decided what size my square panels would be, measured and penciled them in. 

In my basement I cut my moldings at 45 degree angles using a mitre box.  I needed 16 pieces of trim so that meant 32 cuts. Next I attached the mouldings using PL construction adhesive and set heavy objects on the molding to keep it flush against the door while drying.

 I think I will use "No More Nails" for the next door - it is a construction adhesive that cures completely in 10 minutes where PL can take up to 24 hours. 

After the panels were attached and adhesive cured, I filled in the corners and sides with caulking to give a smooth finish.  Next I lightly sanded the door (with a sanding block) to ensure the glossy paint had a perfect surface to adhere too. This step is very important when finishing - in between the layers of paint on furniture, stairs, etc always give a light sanding - it helps remove brush marks and the paint will better adhere - I got this tip from a professional painter years ago :)

OK, here is it, without the hardware...painted with black acrylic high gloss latex based paint:

The doors look fantastic!  My partner is a huge supporter of my DIY projects however with this one he wasn't convinced at first and now he is uber impressed!  The hardware I've chosen is the Madison Door Knob by Emtek.  I am still shopping around for the best price:

So I've got one door down and 3 to go. 

What I needed:

-Measuring tape, ruler, pencil, mitre box and saw, PL adhesive and caulking (I already had all this)
-Panel moulding, about 24 feet, cost $20.70
-Paint cost $15 - will be enough for all 4 doors if I paint them all black.

But I have still have questions around this project, if you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them:

-Should I leave the trim white or paint it? 

-There are 2 doors that are in a small hallway upstairs that is a bit dark, should I paint these doors glossy white opposed to black (with the same paneling applied)? 

Cheers to re-using friends!


  1. Looks great, Kelty! I would keep the trim (casing) white to match the existing baseboard, but I'd go with all black doors for continuity sake. Good choice on No More Nails. I think it works the best.

  2. AnonymousJuly 05, 2011

    Yes I think black and white is classy too...

  3. It's really looking beautiful! If the door going in such way how about the home. I wanted to reconstruct my deck and looking for calgary deck for my place and hope it will bring desired deck.

  4. I also have black doors with white trim and love it. However, I am wondering how your gloss finish cleans. My flat paint is always streaky. If you rub it or try to clean with a paper towel, it leaves white streaks. I am second guessing my choice, thinking I should have gone with a semi-gloss. I would love your input.

  5. I love the trim you added to the doors, it's just the right proportion! Could you share the dimensions of the trim?

    1. Hi! I don't have the dimensions and I am not in the city to measure but I can tell you it's a standard chair rail style trim, normally used around the tops of baseboards in heritage homes. It would be a very small trim, maybe 1 1/4" or similar. Hope this helps :)


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