Bonafide Farm

Front door saga

November 3rd, 2010 § 2

Of all the fussy tasks involved with this house, the front door has been one of the most annoying. I estimate I’ve spent about 25 hours trying to get this thing right. And that doesn’t even count the numerous conversations with my builder before I moved in because he didn’t install either of my doors properly. The doors weren’t cheap—thousands of dollars each, and I’ve had nothing but trouble with them. Locks that won’t close, cheap weatherstripping, gaps between the door and jamb that let in light and cold air. Suffice it to say, I won’t be recommending Therma-Tru anytime soon.

But this post is really about aesthetics, so to that we go. The front door is a fiberglass door, and one of the reasons I bought it was it was “stainable” to approximate a wood tone. What a great challenge, I thought! How fun!

I did my research, ordered three colors of special gel stain from someplace in Iowa, made sample strips and a decision, and finally applied the stain.


And it was okay. Except for the unevenness and some weird blotchiness. The stain was ridiculously hard to work with, because it didn’t penetrate the surface and instead just sat on top and got gummy. Which meant that any attempt to “fix” bad areas just ended up making the problem worse. If I were to ever stain a fiberglass door again, and I hope never to be assigned such a horrible fate, I would quickly wipe the stain all over it and not touch it again until it dried.

I also didn’t love the dark color. Though it looked passably like wood, didn’t give me a good feeling when I approached it. Which is key! But I figured I could live with it if I could just fix the bad spots. So I tried to correct bad areas by taking off the stain, which required lacquer thinner and probably took years off my life, but no dice. I gave up and went to plan b, which was paint!

So that required a few days of playing with paint chips, and another $40 in Benjamin Moore sample pints. Luckily, among the three colors I chose to sample, I found one I thought would be okay. So back to the paint store for primer to cover the stain and a $20 quart of really nice paint.


And so I continued, dedicating an entire weekend to priming, and then last weekend to painting. The bad news is I am not thrilled with my painting skills, which require quite a bit of touch up that I’ve been doing every night after work this week. And the liberal use of my rationalizing imagination, which is protecting my sanity by telling me that my front door looks like it belongs on a 100-year old dream cottage, all banged up and caked with a century of loving paint applications.

But the good news is I love the color I picked. It is just what I wanted and what I should have just done from the start instead of messing with the stain.


In fact, before I built the house and was playing around with color combinations for siding, trim and door, this was what I came up with as my favorite. I even found an old screenshot I took of the Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer, where you can try paint colors on a house that vaguely resembles yours.

House colorsWeb

Pretty close, huh? Now I just have to muster up the strength to paint the inside of the front door, and then I can cross this odious project off the list.


§ 2 Responses to “Front door saga”

  • Milkmaid says:

    Hi. Found your site from a google image search for painted front doors (I’m trying to decide on a color), and haven’t been able to pull myself away from your blog for the past half hour. Just lovely. (I use the same theme on my infrequent blog!) Anyway, beautiful images you have here. Best to you.

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Thanks, Milkmaid! Glad you’re enjoying your visit and good luck with your painted door!

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