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Painting & Wallpapering/Re-painting exterior door trim


QUESTION: Hi, we have two exterior doors in need of new paint, because there are some areas of peeling and chipping. Would like to know what we need to do to prepare it, do we have to strip all the paint from the frames or just areas that are chipping? We will be painting the entire frames to have a fresh look, but not sure it needing to strip everything? Hope you could help. Also, the paint color is a dark brown and the frame is wood, put not sure type, but it I had to guess, would be pine.

Thank you

ANSWER: I'll be happy to help, but could you send me a pic?  I need to see the peeling and chipping of the paint in order to give you the very best advice.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Frame of Door
Frame of Door  

Bottom of door
Bottom of door  
QUESTION: Attached are couple of pictures

Those pictures give me the information I needed.  Thanks very much.  This is a fairly simple fix, since there's really not that much paint on the doors or trim.  Below is a list of the steps to take in order to prepare the door and surface properly.  They are in order, so just start at #1 and work your way down the list.  Any good painter will tell you that a quality paint-job must begin with excellent preparation, so take your time on these and do them to the best of your ability, and it will pay off in the end!

1.  Dust or sweep the door and frame to remove loose dirt and debris.  Wipe the door down afterwards with a semi-damp cloth.  A quick cleaning of these surfaces is done at this point, (before the sanding), to prevent you from sanding the dirt & grime into the surface of the door, which could cause deep scratches.  

2.  Scrape the loose paint off the door frame.  Since I don't have much of a visual of the door, I'm assuming the paint on the door is fairly in tact, but if there's loose paint, scrape it also.  Don't put too much pressure on the scraper because you don't want to gouge the wood.

3.  After the loose paint is scraped, use a medium-grit sanding sponge to sand the frame first.  If you haven't ever used a sanding sponge before, they usually come in 3 grits:  Light, Medium and Heavy.  They're perfect for this job, since they are rigid enough to sand corners thoroughly, but flexible enough to contour and bend to the curves of the wood.  I'd get at least 2 sponges.  The frames require the most sanding, so you'll want to use the new sponges on the frames.  Once the frames are sanded, sand the doors with the slightly-worn sponges.  Most DIY'ers aren't clear on how much to sand or to what extent, so I'll be clear:  You should sand the frames to where there is no gloss or sheen left from the existing paint and the edges of the parts where the raw wood meets the paint should be feathered smooth enough to NOT be able to chip away any more paint with your finger.

4.  Once the door and frame are sanded thoroughly, dust them off and wipe them down with a clean dry rag.  Avoid water at this point, since you'll probably have exposed raw wood on the frame.

5.  Do all necessary masking, (frame, ground, perimeter, hardware, glass, etc.).

6.  Caulk the frame's seams and joints using a paint-able caulk.  Follow instructions on the caulk tube as far as dry-time before painting.  

7.  Either use a primer over the raw wood areas or use a finish coat that's a primer & paint in-one.

That's it!  Now you're ready for paint.  I may sound like a broken record, but please take your time with the prep.  95% of homeowners/DIY'ers end up having problems with the quality or longevity of their paint-jobs due to being in a big rush to start painting.  Although painting is the fun part, it's about 20% of the total work.  The other 80% is the prep & clean-up.  Happy prepping!

Troy Stevens, Stelzer Painting Inc.

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troy stevens


Questions I could answer would be anything related to the preparation and painting of a house or building. This would include both interior and exterior painting for residential and commercial structures. I'm well-versed in all painting and staining applications, products and methods. Questions I couldn't answer would be primarily those related to automotive, industrial or marine painting.


I've been painting professionally for over 26 years and I've owned my own business, Stelzer Painting Inc., for more than 16 years now. We specialize in interior & exterior painting for residential & commercial clients, re-paints, remodels & new construction. I'm fully licensed, bonded and insured. I have hundreds of referrals from past customers, an A+ rating through the BBB, and an A rating on Angie's List.

-Better Business Bureau, A+ Rating -Angie's List, A Rating -Construction Contractor's Board Member, (#202027). -PDX Advisory Group Member. -Licensed General Contractor -Licensed RRP Firm

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-High School Diploma -Studied at Mt. Hood Community College, Lane Community College and University of Oregon. -Recently completed continuing education requirements for licensing through the Construction Contractor's Board. -RRP Certified for lead-based paint removal through the state of Oregon. -Although my Real Estate License has lapsed, I was a licensed Realtor for several years as well.

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I've managed to maintain a perfect service record since beginning my business in 1998, with over 1,000 satisfied customers and no complaints. Professionally speaking, this is my proudest achievement.

Past/Present Clients
Richard Swails: (503) 636-7377 Mr. & Mrs. Scott: (360) 718-8676 Lonnie Tongate: (971) 645-7285 On my website,, I also have a link to my referral list, which contains several hundreds more.

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