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Home do-it: Interior doors not difficult to repaint

Sun., Feb. 2, 2014

Q. The paint is peeling on several of our interior doors. We would like to try repainting the doors but painters tell us it would be cheaper to replace them. What do you think?

A. Some new interior doors aren’t expensive, notably the hollow-core type with thin, smooth plywood on both sides. But if you have panel-style interior doors, they can be pricey. You would also have the hassle of making sure the new doors fit (the opening might not be quite square) and installing lock sets and hinges. I think you can repaint the old doors if you have some time and patience.

It is much easier to work on doors if they are lying flat. Removing them is easy. Just use a screwdriver or punch and a hammer to tap out the hinge pins. Keep the door closed and latched while you do this. Once the hinge pins are out, the door can be opened and will be easy to lift off the hinges. Sawhorses are the best supports, but you can also use chairs or even an ironing board.

The work will be messy, so protect floors with sheets of plastic. If the paint is really bad, you can strip it, which should be done outdoors. Before stripping, however, I would try scraping the loose paint and sanding the surface with a powered finishing sander, which should give you a reasonably smooth surface.

Any bare wood should be primed before repainting. The paint you select might specify a primer by brand name, or you can you a good all-around primer like Bulls Eye 1-2-3. Apply two coats of top-grade latex paint. Choose a gloss to suit your taste, but low-luster paints like satin or eggshell are less likely to show defects in the surface than a high-gloss paint.

Q. My asphalt driveway developed a couple of potholes during the winter. How can I fix those potholes?

A. The best way to fix them is to fill them with blacktop mix, which is sold in bags at home centers.

I suggest calling some home centers to make sure they have the product for sale this time of year. If you can find it, read the directions; some shouldn’t be used in temperatures lower than 50 degrees.

If possible, warm the bags of mix indoors so it pours more easily and is easier to compact. Compacting is very important or you will end with a saucer-shaped depression instead of a good repair. Metal tampers are available at home centers, or you can use a length of 4-by-4-inch wood.

Clean the pothole with a vacuum or broom – there should be no debris in it. Follow directions on the container, but in general the blacktop mix is poured into the pothole in layers and compacted before each new layer is added. Add mix to about one-half-inch above the driveway surface and tamp again until you have a smooth, flat repair.


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