I recognize that this may be more appropriate for DIY, but what I'm doing hies pretty closely to classic woodworking, so let's give it a try.
I've read a few Q&A related to refinishing wooden storm doors but they either discuss timber choices or stains. Feel free to tell me about any I have missed.
What I have are two sort of antique wood storm doors that need some repair and updating, and I'm hoping the SE hivemind can help me move this project along before I poison my child any further.
Oh, right. It turns out that these two doors, which see a lot of element abuse here in SW Ontario, are conveniently covered in paint containing lead. The paint is in decent shape, but let's assume that the lead is sloughing off as we speak, and I'm loathe to spend one more windy summer letting these things blow heavy metals into the house.
I think the doors are made with fir, though a scratch test might indicate white oak. They have matching screen and mullioned glazing inserts that we swap out depending on the season. I'll have to refinish those as well.
I'd like to remove all the paint (which may be over c. 1920 varnish of some sort) and not just paint over it for a few reasons:
- I'm removing the mortice lock and handle and replacing it with a ball-catch and some newer hardware.
- I'm going to repair and cleanup the hinge mortices and holes so I can rehang them with confidence.
- My family has decided they want a bold colour, and I want to do a good job sealing and painting these to make them pop.
So, my idea is to:
- Remove the doors from their frames and strip them of all hardware.
- Carefully strip off as much of the old finishes as I can; I'm ok with sweat equity here.
- Do the carpentry necessary to fixup the gouges, holes left by the unused mortice lock, scratch plates, and knobs (the knobs have to go because when I installed a new lockset on the front door I neglected to take into account that I didn't have the depth I needed and the lockset interferes with the screen door knobs) and generally repair the door to get it ready to hang. (How to best fill a big mortice hole in a door might be a follow-on question.)
- Prepare the surface (either bare wood, or more likely, a surface ready for priming) as safely as possible. This means no or little sanding. I'm hoping to keep all the lead confined to splotches of removed paint that I can seal up in bags and dispose of safely and legally.
I've done a fair amount of refinishing in my time, so I have the "get things down to a ready surface" part in the bag, with the caveat being I'm treating the old finish like toxic waste.
What happens next is my question. I've read about "sealing", though I don't what that is in comparison to primer. I think I need several coats of good exterior paint on top of some number of coats of primer. Given a decent mostly bare wood surface, what is the recommendation for finishing so we get a nice looking finish that is also nice and safe?