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Priming/painting tips on an interior metal door

I've primed an interior metal door in my condo with oil-based Zinsser Cover Stain. It was an absolute joy to use - I can understand why it comes very highly recommended as a primer.

I started with a brush and found it left heavy brush marks, something I have read others complain about with Cover Stain. I then moved to a mini-roller and got better visual results.

After 2 coats it looks great but is rough to the touch. I know a light sanding will smooth it out nicely. But should I need to sand? Will an enamel topcoat smooth it out without sanding? And, finally, any recommendations for enamel brand/type? (Rustoleum, oil, latex?).

Thanks in advance.

Re: Priming/painting tips on an interior metal door

If you want a glass smooth finish, then you have to sand. Lightly sand with a 240 grit and then go to a 400 grit. Then spray with a rattle can spray paint like Rustoleum or Krylon. For the ultimate in a smooth finish, take it to an auto body and paint shop and have it sprayed, but that will be $$$.

If you like the rustic finish look, just brush or roll on the final coats of what ever paint you like. If you want something in between, sand with the 240 grit and then paint.

Re: Priming/painting tips on an interior metal door

Warmer temperatures also help a paint 'lay' or get smoother while it dries / cures.

Our preferred method is to spray doors. Rustoleum makes an epoxy appliance paint in a spray can if you like the color. Since it is an epoxy paint we lay the door flat so we don't get runs during the 3-4 hour drying time.

Re: Priming/painting tips on an interior metal door

Whenever I use spray cans, I heat them in hot water. Run straight hot water from the faucet into a pan and let the can float around in the water for several minutes. The heat will increase the pressure in the can, hence better spraying. Also, oil paints become more viscose when warm. They will flow out better.

Heating paint was an old painters trick to increase the flowing ability of oil paints. Oil just levels itself better when warm. Likewise, it is never a good idea to try painting with oil paint or varnishes on a cold surface. Hard brushing and a ropey, brushmarked appearance results.

Most people don't have heated garages. Don't try to work with paints in cold, damp garages. Not only does cold adversely affect the qualtiy of the paint job, but the sky high relative humidity also degrades the paint and slows the drying.

If you don't have a permanent heater in your garage, try purchasing one of the propane heaters that clamp directly to the top of a standard 20 pound propane tank. A 15K BTU single heater can be purchased for about $40. Most people already have a propane tank for the patio grill. 15K BTU is actually considerable heat and will keep a two car garage comfortable if it has a ceiling in it.

Do however extinquish the heater during any actual spraying with solvent based paints or primers.

Re: Priming/painting tips on an interior metal door

Oil primer isn't going to lay down very smooth unless it has a lot of oil in it. Some (low-VOC) primers have no oil. You can add a small amount of boiled linseed oil to the primer to enhance the brushing characteristics, but also add a quantity of Japan Dryer to it to make sure it will cure in a reasonable time.
For ultra-smooth enamel work you need to block sand the primer, then fully dust off w/compressed air and wipe down with naphtha or paint thinner.
Rustoleum oil paint is not great, but usable, especially on an exterior door. I would avoid any of the big box brands of glossy acrylics. I have never seen one of them do a decent job on a front door.
Moore's acrylic/alkyd emulsion paints are really good. They apply very smooth, low-odor, dry as hard as oil paint, water clean up.
For a super-shiny front door (which requires immaculate surface and prep work, and dust-free conditions) use "Hollandlac Brilliant" from Fine Paints of Europe. It's very expensive but in its own class of gloss, durability and finish.

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