Last week marked a major milestone in the saga of the front vestibule project. After months of laborious effort with tedious paint stripping, restoring, woodworking, door hanging, glass cutting, window glazing, measuring, trimming, shimmimg, shaving, adjusting, bleeding, sweating, crying, arguing…you get the picture, we finally made the significant step of painting the exterior doors.
I know, I know, painting shouldn't really be considered a major step when we've already covered painting the interior front door, but I assure you, this is a horse of a different color.
Once we had the astragal and drip edge attached, we test hung the doors to verify their basic function. Satisfied that all was set, we moved onto the next step of painting. However, this wasn't any normal approach to painting.
Several months ago I was browsing around on Apartment Therapy and came across a furniture paint project that one of the contributors had completed. The paint the project’s owner used turned out so wonderfully smooth and super high gloss that I immediately said “That’s how I want our front doors to look!” Luckily, the project outlined the specific brand of paint the piece’s owner had used. The brand of paint was one I had not heard of before, so it piqued my curiosity.
The paint was called 1 Shot, so I relied on my trusty friend and colleague, Google, for some fact finding. What I found was a high quality and very high gloss oil based enamel paint developed for professional lettering and sign painters. It also seemed to be used extensively for things like automotive pin-striping and detail work.
The 1 Shot website has a section called “Ask Louie” where you can submit a question to their expert technical staff. I sent in a message to inquire about using their product on our front door to achieve a high gloss and high quality finish and heard back within 24 hours. Louie had some good news for me. Not only was our situation a perfect job for their paint, he also provided me additional information about what primer we should use, which brushes work best, and how to best apply the paint. To say Louie was helpful is a major understatement.
I got to work buying the paint that we would need for the french doors. Unfortunately, this isn’t just normal “run out to the store and pick it up” type of paint, so just the purchasing process was no small task. I found a place on Amazon to purchase the paint in a one pint container, as well as the brush cleaner I would need, but the primer proved to be more difficult. The primer Louie suggested was their special “chromatic” primer. I could not find a supplier online or a local distributor anywhere that carried it. Again I turned to the 1 Shot staff and gave them a call. They helped me out and arranged for a drop ship by purchasing over the phone from a local distributor. The one quart can of primer showed up at our house about three days later. Not too shabby.
Before I go any further I’ve got to tell you, this paint is not cheap. The one quart can of primer was $30, and the one pint can of paint was another $20 with shipping. I really hoped it would achieved the look we were going for -- a door so shiny you could see your reflection in it, almost like the famed door of the home of Britain's Prime Minister on 10 Downing Street. Otherwise I knew my better half would not be thrilled at spending this much money on a failed attempt.
Last week we got to work on the primer, and I have to say, this was the nicest primer I’ve ever worked with. The primer had excellent coverage, went on very smooth, flowed nicely after painting it on, dried quickly, and was able to be sanded without coming completely off of the doors. This is a pretty significant difference from what I’m used to on non-oil based primer (this is a vinyl primer).
Although it dries quickly, you need to give this primer a full 12-16 hours before applying the top coat. So after the obligatory wait time passed, I wet sanded the dry primer with a 600 grit sandpaper, much like I had done for the front door when we were painting it last month. At last, we had reached that long anticipated milestone of painting the exterior of the french doors.
Painting was a slow go. We had purchased two different natural bristle brushes, just like Louie told us to. One was a Purdy brand brush I had used on the new front door, and the other was a natural hair artist’s brush we picked up at Michaels craft store.
Since this is a french door that will be exposed to the elements, including the ocassional driving rain, I had to paint the mullions very carefully. In this case, the paint is the door’s final line of defense to keep the water from getting down into the back bead of glazing and drying it out. For this reason it is very important to get a small bead of paint on the glass to actually bridge the gap between the wood, glazing, and window. This important step of painting aims to make the glazing waterproof to help the door and paint job last as long as possible.
With six panes of glass on each door, it was a slow process, and one that really put a zing in my back. This may have explained my general crankiness while painting, as well as my awesome choice of socks and shoes.
Wendy and I tagged teamed the paint process. While I worked to paint the mullions and area right around the glass, Wendy used the 2” ShurLine rollers Louie suggested we use on the flat parts of the door. We were able to knock out one side of both doors in the matter of about two or three hours, and I’d say the majority was my very careful work around the glass.
We gave the first coat of paint a couple of days to dry, wet sanded with 1500 grit paper, and then went on with the second coat. The second coat went way fast since I didn’t have to move so slowly around the glass. Just look at how glossy and reflective this paint is. You can pretty easily see my looking back at the camera.
While I was painting the second coat, I was having difficulty determining where I had and hadn’t painted, that’s how shiny this paint dries.
Because the 1-Shot paint needs to be applied and dry flat (otherwise it will sag too much while drying) we have to wait to paint the interior side of the doors. I plan on waiting a few weeks until the outside paint is 100% dry and cured before I lay this flat anywhere. The last thing I want to do it damage the paint at this stage of the game.
So what do you think? Does it look good to you? (Try to ignore the dirty panes of glass and missing knob/hardware when you make a judgement.) Shiny? Black? Interesting? Or perhaps we should have focused our efforts elsewhere? At any rate, I hope we have a good set of doors that will last a very very long time.
If you're looking for a super high gloss and durable paint with excellent flow characteristics, look no further than 1 Shot. It is a bit pricey, but it sure gives you the look you are going for.
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Note: We weren't compensated for this review. We simply want to share good products when we see them, and hope that learning from our mistakes can help save you time, money and frustration.