Picking a finish for your WOOD DOOR/ historic new york city door


analyze old paint chips and recreate an original color

refer to historic color charts of your homes time period

contact the landmarks society for help and or original documentation

coordinate with established colors like roof , mortar and siding.

    To many colors will complicate the house. Harmonize by selecting accent colors for your woodwork (doors, shutters columns and moldings). Dark colors will make the house seem smaller but will draw attention to details. Darker shades of color are used for accenting recess, while lighter tones will highlight details which project from the surface. The darkest paint is often used for window sashes. Strive to balance colors over the whole building.

     Durability plays an important factor in your maintenance schedule. The more intense the color more likely it is to fade. Dark colors also pose more maintenance work as they absorb heat and suffer more moisture problems then lighter shades. The sheen is another consideration as your choice will influence the cost of prep work. The glosser the surface the more likely to show imperfections. These imperfections are dealt with in the prep stage by filling and priming. This lengthy process actually protects the door better and in the long run creates easy maintenance.   A flat or matte finish hides all imperfections and does not need a lot of prep work, therefor it is cheaper to apply but does not have the durability and wash ability and must be maintained more often.

   When choosing a protective finish it is important to understand the difference between the many products available. It is also important to understand where the wood surface will be in relationship to uv exposure, salt exposure, water and heat. The construction methods used are also a determinant in the type of finish you will choice.  Drying oils such as tung oil, walnut oil and linseed oils penetrate the wood and create a good barrier while accent the natural grain and color of the wood but they are not suited to outside extremes or dog scratches. These oils have there place on woodwork that will not see to much sun and weather.  Varnish give’s a high degree of protection. It looks fabulous. It needs to be maintained yearly or bi yearly. It is costly due to many coats. There are two part varnish look alike finishes that are very robust but need to be used on doors that do not move- have joints and are very stable. That is very rare, as a good door is made to expand and contract with the weather.  Another marine coating is CETOL. It has iron oxide pigments that reflect the uv sun so it lasts longer then tung oil varnish but has a brown orange tint to it. I like to use one or two coats of this as a stain and grain filler and then apply glossy traditional tung oil varnish on top. This mixtures gives you two to three years ( as long as you wash winter salt from the base of the door or kick plate) I like traditional tung oil paints like FINE PAINTS OF EUROPE and marine paints like EPIFANES oil paint. The colors are brilliant and the formula is superior to any others. These paints take a long time to dry and dust can not be near. If you want a perfect high gloss London look you must allow time and money for the lengthy high build primer stage. It is well worth it for the look and because the door is enveloped in primer and paint and a re-coating consists of a light sanding – filling dings and one coat of paint. It truly is the way to go! AN entrance door makes a statement so do it well. 


Published by Dana Carini

Sailing thru water. restoring and refinishing wooden boats and homes. Handcrafting a collection of last a lifetime- inheritable objects. ( worldsendny) Inspiration comes from the places we sail, the people we meet and the history of long ago.

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