Paint the world red

Rachel and I have both wanted a red door on the house we’d own one day. Our family, for some reason that will probably get explained in the comments, has always had red front doors on our houses. Atlanta, Columbia, Thomson (I think) all had red doors. Maybe it was because we were Jewish and liked the Passover reference. (What, we weren’t Jewish?). Maybe Mom and Dad just liked red front doors as much as Rachel and I do.

In any case, it was one of the first things we wanted to do once we bought a house. Rachel did a lot of research trying to find the exact shade of red. There are apparently thousands of shades of red? So a few weeks ago when Rachel’s cousin was here and we had a free ride to Home Depot (funny story about that later), she went and got a gallon of red paint for the door.

We had been waiting for warmer weather, so over this last weekend I got started. Our current door with the square porthole window is definitely not original to the house. It’s been painted many times on the inside and the front has what looks like stained grain showing but it appears to be veneered as well (it’s cracking at the bottom.) It’s not the prettiest front door but it’s ours for the time being. We’d like to replace it with a door that has a bigger window in it down the road, and when we do, we’ll have plenty of paint for it since we bought a gallon. (The new back door is also getting painted red.)

The door had big holes all the way through the door for the knocker and little holes where the numbers were attached (we’re moving those to the wall next to the door.) The best part was the straight line literally gouged 1/16th of an inch into the surface of the door used to line up the numbers.

You can see it in the photo below. Couldn’t find a pencil, I guess.

Front Door before

Ugh. The door was also darker in places, though I can’t figure out how that happened. Sunlight passing through the security door? To really do this job properly, I probably should’ve taken the door off its hinges, laid it on some sawhorses and really gone to town with a belt sander to get rid of all that grain and smooth it down all the way across. Since I don’t have a belt sander and it wasn’t warm enough outside to take the door off for a weekend, I made do with an orbital sander, a block sander and sandpaper by hand.

Here’s the door about halfway through sanding. See anything unusual in the door anywhere?

Front door halfway sanded

I just couldn’t get some parts of the door sanded down enough. And apparently some of the dark areas were something that sank down deep into the grain and wouldn’t have come out unless I sanded off a quarter inch of the front of the door. So I got it as smooth as I could and then wiped it down to paint.

I ended up putting 3 coats on the door Saturday and another 2 coats-plus on this Monday’s President’s Day holiday. All the coats were required because some of those darker stained areas kept showing through. And honestly, after we let it cure for a few weeks, I’ll probably put at least one more coat on the door to try and cover them up some more.

But it’s all done for now, and looks pretty good.


Of course, now the turquoise blue ceiling on our porch looks worse than it did before and all the trim on the porch is beige/tan. Which looked passable with the old brown door, but now, the beige porch looks terrible with the red door. We were already going to paint it white to match the newer windows upstairs and roof dormers that are already white, but it’ll probably happen as soon as its warmer.

Which is just another edition of the lesson we’ve been learning on this project from day one: One completed project almost always begets another.

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