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What to do with these doors??

  • Strip them and refinish in a nice oak. How can one appreciate that old-wood look if it's covered?

  • Just Kilz them and repaint a nice, unobtrusive white.

  • Leave them as-is. Shabby-chic is always in style.

  • Other

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Trainer of kids, dogs and horses...fears nothing
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My folks have an enormous old Craftsman-era house that they've taken a bunch of doors out of over the years. Between just leaving the doorways with no door, or removing an entire wall that held the door, they ended up with a half dozen of them that have been in the basement between 10 and 30 years.

They gave them to DH and I for our new house and I'm thrilled! :)
These things were original to their house, so we're talking century-old solid oak doors, complete with all the original hardware and glass knobs.

BUT, they're all painted and not even the same colors! One is an ugly shade of brown, one is a dirty yellow…several are white on one side, but not the other. All of them are chipped.
Dad asked if I was going to strip them and start over or just leave them as-is as a kind of shabby-chic thing. (Our new house is all exposed pine siding, so EVERY color of paint will go with the rest of it)
 

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I would get a lead test from the hardware store and check for lead paint before I did anything myself. If they are lead paint it might be wise to send them out to be stripped.
 

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Trainer of kids, dogs and horses...fears nothing
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Yeah, I'm betting there's lead-based paint. I'm not planning on sanding or anything until after I've stripped with a solvent of some sort.
 
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Yeah, I'm betting there's lead-based paint. I'm not planning on sanding or anything until after I've stripped with a solvent of some sort.

Strip them... it will be like a Christmas present, you won't know what you have until it is unwrapped!
 

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Strip them. Oak can be a pain because paint gets stuck deep in the open grain, but worth it. Careful if you decide to send them out. Most places will put them in a dip tank, which can wreck the glue and weaken joints.
Try citric acid stripper. Pretty good on paint and safer to use. I have heard of, but not tried, applying it, then wrapping in plastic sheet to keep it wet and active for a bit longer.
 

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I calls em like I sees em
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What a great gift!

Oak and pine, I'm not a big fan of the two together. A pine wall with an oak door in it, doesn't paint a pretty mental image for me. Especially since the pine is new and the oak is old.

So my suggestion would be to paint them. Also you are spared the hassle of the lead testing, all the work of stripping maybe to find the woodgrain isn't all that attractive, etc.

Now, what color? If you like shabby chic, paint them all a color you like as an "accent", then paint them white and sand them a little to give the "distressed" look. Or, paint them a nice rich brown and call it good, the overall impression will be that of wood. Or, pick a color that ties in to your overall design and paint them all that color. Or, try your hand at faux woodgraining.

Decisions, decisions! Maybe take one door and experiment on it, divide it into sections and you can have a visual aid of different finishes.
 

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Our 1817 farmhouse had all the interior doors painted...I stripped one and found that they were oak. The time I spent on that one door I stripped (not to mention the cost of the stripper...chemical, get your minds out of the gutter...LOL!), and then getting an estimate to get them all stripped convinced me to leave them be. Besides, the build up of paint over 180 years made the fit better.
If you strip them, they are libel to shrink and expand with humidity extremes...our 1 really did. The painted ones; not so much.

Matt
 

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Leave them painted but feel free to repaint them. We dealt with the same issue earlier in the year. I got a wild hair in my butt to start stripping a door and revealed some lovely oak underneath. The trouble was there are tons of doors in the house and I don't have tons of time. It takes A LOT of work. If you're only doing a couple, it may be worth it, but several will become a huge beast of burden.
 

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No matter what you do, I wouldn't give the lead a single thought.. You get more lead in your system putting a sinker on a fish line and biting it closed than you have on a door...

People drank out of lead pipes for years and years... The paint isn't as dangerous to you for a short term exposure as Unkle would like you to think...
 

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I wouldn't sand them due to lead in the dust. Also really watch if you stain them after stripping them. I did that on some woodwork and the stain took very blotchy. Someone told me it was because some of the paint layers were oil based paint which soaked into the wood over the years. Some places took the stain well, some, not so well and some not at all.
 

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I used the orange scent (citric) stripper on my kitchen cupboards. Worked great. I then primed and painted, but they did not look good otherwise. I say strip all that old nasty paint off. Sand a little, and then decide if you want a clear coat or stain. I’d not stain, but that is just me.
 

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Personally I would see the quality of wood was after stripping and then decide if it was good enough to be stained, but that's a personal preference though I've never understood covering good wood under paint unless it's to hide sub-par quality like corkwood.
 

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I love black doors.
Idk if that would match your house, but living in a house with white doors, I'm always cleaning them
 

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I like painted doors, but I voted to strip and see what they look like. If they are really nice, then you might want to leave them stained, but if you don't care for the look it would be easy enough to repaint them, and you wouldn't have that "rounded off" look of overly painted doors. And I think shabby is fine in an old place, but not in a new place.

Nice gift from the folks, and they get a cleaned out basement! :)
 

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Trainer of kids, dogs and horses...fears nothing
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Discussion Starter #18
I love black doors.
Idk if that would match your house, but living in a house with white doors, I'm always cleaning them
This hadn't even occurred to me. I was thinking "painting" like just painting them white, but I'll bet black would look REALLY sharp!
 

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My name is not Alice
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Let your grand kids strip them when you hand them down. There is nothing wrong with painted doors, even if they are old. I wouldn't do white, though. I voted 'other'.
 
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