Submitted by Aaron Arkin.
For 24 years, the front door to my little house has been white: much like many of the other front doors around town. But in my strolls through the neighborhood, I began to notice other front door colors, and how they seemed to enhance a home’s presentation from the street.
Thus began my musings about undertaking a project to change the color. And it might have remained musings had I had not come upon an article stating unequivocally that painting your front door with a vibrant color would not only enhance your home’s curb appeal, but would materially increase the value of your abode.
For better or worse, that little bit of wisdom sent me down the road to actually having a project. What many non-homeowners might not realize about “home projects” is that they are often “one-offs”: that is to say, there is no learning curve and you are practically guaranteed to make mistakes. To head this off, I sought advice from a local paint store. They confirmed I would need a primer and, because I had in the end selected candy-apple red as my new color, I would need at least two coats. This is because, according to store guy, when it comes to paint pigment, red is not really a color. I’m sure there is some chemistry, physics and/or philosophical reasoning behind that assertion, but with the burdens of this project staring me in the face, I decided not to get into this with him.
I also went on-line for advice wherein I learned I would be best off removing the door and all its hardware before starting. Since the door is too heavy for me to lift, taking it off would give Lucy the cat her first opportunity for real freedom, and removing the hardware would almost guarantee I couldn’t properly put it back together, I opted for the tutorial’s Plan B: carefully mask those parts of the door and other surfaces that you don’t want to paint.
For anyone who hasn’t tried it, masking tape is designed to establish without equivocation, that most homeowners are all thumbs. No matter how hard I tried, I could see that I wasn’t going to achieve what I was aiming for. So, I decided I would soldier on and come back later to see if I could fix mistakes.
There is a point in an effort like this, when staring at the original color of the door and realizing it had been painted by a professional, that the very need for the project comes into question. And to be honest about it, I might not have gone ahead except for the forty-odd dollars I had spent for paint and supplies. So, I commenced.
Applying the gray-tinted primer didn’t do anything to lessen my sense of foreboding. (For those of you who are curious, tinting the primer gray is again (according to paint store guy) because red is not a real paint pigment color and gray is easier to cover than white.) First mistake: because I used an old brush for the primer, one that had previously been used for a white latex paint, streaks of white began to show up in the primer coat. Unwilling to change course at this point, I rationalized that these were only trace amounts and wouldn’t affect the final result. I continue to hold fast to this belief. After the primer coat was applied, I went back to the street to survey it. I can report that the primer coat did nothing to enhance the curb appeal of my house.
After the primer dried (to my credit I did read the paint can’s instructions on how long this would take), I applied the first (non-existent) candy-apple red pigment coat. True to paint guy’s warning, coverage was not great and I could still see the gray primer. This started me thinking about whether black paint pigment was a real color (it never occurred for me to ask paint guy about this even though I had considered that color option). Second mistake: because I was so concentrated on the inconsistent coverage of the first coat, I failed to notice the drippings I created trying to get a more even color.
Convincing myself that the final coat would (1) give me the coverage I desired, and (2) correct the drip marks, I followed the paint can instructions and waited the four hours before applying the second coat. Second coat applied, I still wasn’t sure if I had achieved an even color but decided to wait until the next day to look at it at which time I would pull the masking tape and, hopefully, be more optimistic.
The denouement: (1) the color looks good; (2) the drips are still there; (3) I can see the places I need to fix because of masking errors. The best news: the imperfections disappear if you are more than six feet away. Curb appeal: knocked it out of the park!
Feel free to let me know if you need advice on your next painting project.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.