I would probably do more than just sand. But then I have to put out a
warrantable product so my take may be different than some. Solvent
based finishes often do not lend themselves willingly to adhesion of
other products, especially after they have aged, and worse still if
they are damaged.
Before anyone craps a banana, this of course excludes all build
finishes. But in this case, we are talking varnish.
As a sidebar, if the clear finish (no matter what it is) is dried out,
cracked, discolored, crumbly, or the wood underneath is discolored, the
finish is gone. All you are seeing when the surface is in this
condition is the last 5% of the finish, just the part that hasn't
fallen off. In this case, simply sanding off the crumbles won't work,
you must strip and sand to get to a good bondable substrate.
Anyway, it begs the question Max, how do you know it's varnish? When
we refinish a door, we have found that most homeowners and many
contractors use polyurethane for original finish, and then for
refinish. If it is a homeowner job you are looking at, you can almost
bet it was poly. Varnish and poly are two different animals, and if it
is poly, you should count on stripping the door before painting.
Me, I would strip anyway to be absolutely sure, especially since you
are probably talking about one side only. The oils, resins, and
hardners in the varnish (if that is what it is) have no doubt
penetrated the wood over the years, so there are things in the wood
that could kill your adhesion. And since you are going back over it
with paint, you wouldn't have to have the surface "perfect" before
painting, especially if you go back with oil based paint.
If you want to go latex, strip, coat the stripped side with KILZ 2 to
seal the resins in the wood and to assist in bonding, sand lightly
when dry, vacuum up the particles left from sanding, then put a couple
of coats of paint on it.
If you don't want to strip, clean the door up, sand the snot out of it,
vacuum up the particles, wipe down with thinner, seal it with the
original KILZ (for bonding purposes) and have your paint store match a
quart of oil based urethane to your latex color. It may be cheaper
(stripper for latex = $20; quart of custom mix oil base = $12) and
easier to avoid stripping and just to bite the bullet and buy a quart
of oil based paint. A couple of coats and you are finished.
Hope this helps.
On 2 May 2006 18:04:04 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
You've said a mouthful. Being the guy I am, I had to learn the hard
way. I too wanted to use latex over a "varnished" surface at my
house. In my case, it was the risers on some interior steps. In no
way shape or form was that paint (Sherwin Williams superpaint) going
I ended up using a heat gun and stripping it all off. It was a time
consuming PITA, but the results after sanding the scraped surface is
perfect. A beautifully smooth surface with excellent adhesion.
I say strip the old surface in whatever manner you want then sand 'er
smooth. Then apply the paint.
I had an idea that stripping might be required but I didn't want to if I
didn't have to. On the other hand, I want a good finish and I'm willing to
do whatever I have to do to get it. I have a good heat gun and I can get
stripper. Which do you think would be better? I'm not fond of stripper
because of the fumes and the mess but if it's what I have to do, I'm game.
<<And I don't mind spending whatever I have to for a good finish. The
I used on the trim (Glidden Endurance) seems to be holding up very
I'm wondering about the durability of an oil based paint. What's your
Recently, Glidden latex went head to head with several different
paints and won the overall comparison due to its UV resistance, the
ability to be washed, and color retention. I liked Glidden paint, and
used it exclusively for years and NEVER had one bit of problem with it.
It was considered old fashioned by some as it was clay based as
opposed to the powder based stuff, but I liked it, and more importantly
so did my clients. Never had one complaint with Glidden.
But the local lumberyard that sends me a lot of business pushes
Coronado. I really like the top end of their line for spraying and
rolling. It has so much ammonia in it that it kills anything the power
washer doesn't take off, and it penetrates the wood and old paint
really well. I don't like to brush it as it is like bubble gum on the
brush after about 15 minutes time. This is not workable for painting
a house full of door frames or a 15 panel exterior door. For brushing
outdoors and smooth trim, I like the top end of Sherwin Williams (700
line?). It smooths like glass with a good brush.
But Max, you have brought another issue to light. If YOU sprayed them
with McCloskey's and you say they now look good, you putting in the
last piece of the puzzle that would make my decision. McCloskey's is a
pretty good finish, and I think their strong suit is supposed to be
their marine line. So if you say it looks good (as in good shape),
chances of adhesion from ANY finish being what you want (10 more
years?) to these doors are almost none. McCloskey's has something like
30% resin in it, so it is a heavily resined product, meant to be
industrial strength. I personally don't think sanding would do it, and
with all the work involved to get it off, you would be faster to strip.
Sanding would just expose fresh, hard varnish.
If it was my house, I would put on oil, and here's what I would do.
Take the door off and put it in the shade so it stays cool. Put it on
some saw horses put over a cheap tarp (I buy mone at Big Lots - 6'X8'
is something like $2). Clean off the surface with some thinner. When
it is dry, tape the edge of the door up with some good masking tape,
NOT the blue stuff. Apply Bix K3 (the orange can) or better as
This is an old timer's tip, and it will take the sting out of the
stripping. When you see the finish starting to bubble, and you are
ready to hit it with the plastic putty knife, don't. Put on a couple
of handfuls of sawdust in the area you are working first
and literally scrub the door with a stiff nylon brush. Keep the
sawdust in the brush, and buy a couple of different brushes at the
dollar store to make sure you have the one you want. The sawdust is
the tip here, and it is worth its weight in gold. The sawdust will do
three things; it acts as a pore and nook and cranny cleaner, a mild
abrasive, and it will pick up the spent stripper with a lot of the old
finish attached. Work your door in thirds, and the door will be pretty
close to or actually dry at the first third by the time you get to the
end. You won't believe what that sawdust will do to the loosened paint
and how much it speeds and cleans up this nasy process.
Brush off any loose sawdust. With only a coat or two of finish, you
shouldn't need to do this more than once if you are patient enough to
let the Bix work (always hard for me, no matter how many times I do
it). Sand as needed to make you happy, remembering that since it will
be painted you don't have to have it perfect.
Then I would put two to three coats of urethane oil enamel on it. No
matter whose brush it is in application, no door ever looks as good as
when it is sprayed by a good hand. At this juncture, I would like to
mention Mike Marlow, who >really< helped me get my finishes first rate.
If you are following this thread, thanks again, Mike. Anyway, take
the door off and spray it.
I use urethane oil as opposed to alkyd as it is easier for me to spray,
and it seems to dry as closed to the same hardness as the old lead
based paints as any of the finshes out there. It can also be tinted
just about any color. For me, I shoot Coronado (the only one I could
find that I like that comes in quarts!!) with about an ounce of Japan
drier and an ounce of thinner for 30 ozs of material. It will dry like
glass, sticks like hell, and you can get another coat on the door in 4
hours on an 80 degree day, not the 8 the recommend. So you could two
coat in a day (depending on how you do it) and then the following day
put a final coat on it in the morning and hang it that night. I always
use the Japan drier as it makes the final finish harder, and of course
it makes the finish catalyse faster. The thinner amount depends on the
temp, and if it above the middle 80s, I usually don't thin. I am
putting these details in hoping you still have the rig you sprayed the
door with in the first place. I am using a high pressure auto touch up
gun which works great for me.
Of course, YMMV. And as always, depending on your rig you may not want
to do anything to it, just follow the manufacturer's requirements.
The door can be hung when it is really dry, and if you handle it right,
you could do it all in a weekend, weather permitting.
Strip and sand one morning (2 hours), then apply coat #1. Few hours
later, coat #2. Next morning, coat #3. Hang as late as possible that
In case you haven't used some of today's coating for a while, you
should know that the total dry and hardness of the door will not be
100% for about 20 days. The door will be dried, but not cured. So
don't test out the scrubbability with 409 when you get some grease on
it from reinstalling those old locks. Mild soapy water is always best
anyway, but a must for about three weeks.
My only concern would be this; you will be in the same boat as you are
now if you want to refinish this door at a later time. So if you
change the paint color on the house and want the door to follow again,
you will start at the top.
However, if you do it in latex, you can follow pretty much the same
procedure and get pretty good results. The finish won't be as hard,
and won't be as UV/scuff/water resistant, but then when you need to
paint again, you can just clean it, sand it, and paint it.
Let us know what you did and how you did it. Hope this helps.
Thanks again, Robert.
I have a couple of things working in my favor.
I'm retired. Plenty of time to do it right.
I have a piece of 3/4" OSB that I cut to fit the opening for the door so I
can have the door off for as long as I need to.
I have a DeVilbiss high pressure sprayer, a couple touch up guns and a Fuji
I'm going to get the door stripped down and then decide what final finish I
want. I'm leaning toward the urethane just because I want to see how it
looks and how it lasts.
I'll keep you *posted*.
I almost bought one of those but I wanted one a little longer. Mine is
approx. 8' long (or wide, depending on your point of view).
and it's a little higher. Lowe's had those on sale awhile back. You might
ask if there's any chance they would do it again.
Thanks Max. I am a general contractor that specializes in
repair/remodel and maintenance. I do a fair amount of just about
anything but electrical and HVAC.
I install doors for a local lumberyard, and many times I wind up
finishing them. I also refinish a lot of metal and wood doors, and I
am playing around with a lot of the newer super finishes that are out
there to add to my tool box.
In an effort to cut down on my overspray, I have used an HVLP pressure
gun. It cut down the overspray a lot. A huge difference. I bought a
knockoff one of the newer lower CFM requirement guns to test it out and
I liked it.
That is until I tried a real, turbine powered HVLP setup. These units
can be tailored to have almost no overspray at all. The first one I
tried was the top line Turbinaire, and it was nice. I don't have
concerns that some have for the machine, and it seems that all that buy
them love them. My concern was that it was one loud machine. I will
also be refinishing (kitchen cabinets) in people's homes, so the less
noise the better.
Accuspray it too expensive, and the gun does not have metal airways or
paintways inside it. They are Delrin, which in fact may be better than
metal. But on the other hand, they sell an upgrade gun that touts the
fact it has real metal ways inside it. The noise level is the same as
the Turbinaire, which is no wonder since they use the same exact
turbine. I didn't like the fact all accessories are expensive, and
that some seem to think that the repair end of things is too slow.
That could be a matter of opinion, so I will go back to the plastic gun
(which Jeff Jewitt was not enthusastic about, but told me was "it was
fine") and the higher purchase price and higher accesories. But then
no one has ever said anything bad about the performance of their
So that brings us to Fuji. I am looking at the Q4, and their new gun.
The upside is that when you have a question or concern, you can talk to
the owner. I have done this twice now to make sure you actually do it
more than once. They sell the machines through a system of dealers,
and one Ohio guy is a prince, and a couple of his customers told me
that he will overnight parts to you if you need them. The owner in
Canada told me he could not overnight, but he could do 2 days if need
The turbine (although it is the same as the previous two) has different
baffles and some other kind of business inside it, so it is
substantially quieter than the others. All accessories are really
reasonable. And the machine is a little less $$ to begin with,
especially since most dealers ship for free.
The air hose can be put on the bottom or top as you need. And what I
really liked about the new gun is the fact that you can disconnect the
cup from the bottom, flip the housing around, and you can make it a
gravity feed gun. The aluminum cup is $54 buck for a 20 oz cup and you
are in business. I like this feature because I spray horizontal and
vertical projects, and the conversion is literally about 2 1/2 minutes
from cup to gravity. That really sounds great to me as I like both
designs for different applications, but don't want to buy two guns.
So why don't I have the Fuji now?
I read the article in Wood magazine that covered most of the major HVLP
machines, and they didn't like the gun as well. Even though they use
it in their pictures to show the patterns a gun shoots, They felt
like it wouldn't shoot a pattern less than 5" in width. (I am thinking
2" rails and stiles here.)
I called 3 different Fuji dealers, and called the Paul Smith, the
owner. They denied that statement as completely false. I mean they
were adamant. I talked live to a refinisher that told me that just
like the other guns, when you got the gun closer to the work the
pattern was smaller. He confirmed to me that to shoot a pattern that
was about 1", he had to hold the gun at about 4 " away from the
surface. Then he told me that he had to do the same with his other
HVLP gun, too.
As it is, to have a contained, usable pattern of only 1", that 4" is
about where I am with my high pressure guns.
So, since you have no financial interest in this, can you shed some
specific light on this pattern business? Can you give me an idea of
how you like the machine besides that, and maybe an idea of what
materials you have sprayed with it?
Thanks a million.
I just got the sprayer about a month ago and have only used it for the prime
coat (exterior oil based) on the door I'm refinishing.
But I do like it. The gun has enough adjustments (material flow, air flow,
pattern, etc) to allow close operation and narrow pattern. The article in
Wood magazine is not the first to seem hastily written (and likely not the
last). I think most tools require a little "tinkering" with to get the best
performance. My experience with conventional spray guns is an advantage in
the "learning" process with the HVLP.
I can't make a meaningful comment on the noise since the Fuji is the only
turbine operated unit I've used.
However, one of my sons, who has been around other units, claims that my
Fuji is quite a bit quieter (maybe "less noisy" would be more accurate).
I intend to use an oil based finish on the door but I need to spray a garage
and I will be using latex. I'll let you know how it works out.
(my e-mail address is obvious, just drop the "not")
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