Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Have you ever seen that “vacation” commercial, that featured 6 to 8 identical, and individual, wood ocean bathhouses? Each door was painted a high-gloss, super-bright color? That scene captivated me. (Forget the ocean backdrop.)


Doors are fun to paint or refinish. They can be a challenge to “get right.”


Here are some door projects on which I’ve worked. Each of them very unique. And very pleasing to the eyes!


PROJECT: Spray painted 550 new, and roller re-painted 210 existing, wood guest room doors. Property: 800-room resort hotel. Location: Central Florida. Crew: 2( self, apprentice).

Set-up: Hotel management “blocked out” row/section of rooms according to painter’s schedule.

Challenge: The surface and wood construction integrity of most of the used doors had been compromised. They had many cracks, splinters, gouges, nicks, warping, water damage, and termite damage.


PROJECT: Color-code painted 610 interior and exterior doors, wood and metal; plus archways.

Property: Orphanage and school. Location: Chicago area. Crew: 3 (including self).

Set-up: Administrators “moved” classes and activities to other rooms and areas in school building. Staff “doubled up” sleeping spaces in dorm bedrooms, to vacate half a floor at a time.

Creative Challenge: Starting with base/paint color: White semi-gloss enamel. Tinting over 30 closely-graduated color-palette hues in sky blue, bright green, sun yellow, and peach families.

People Fun Challenge: Children wanted to be a part of the action. Barricading off work areas motivated some children – and adults – to find very creative ways to watch. A few tried to “help” the painter.


PROJECT: Re-painted 360 interior doors, each in slightly different color palette tint or shade. Property: Girls home and school. Location: Northwest Indiana. Crew: 2 (self, apprentice).

NOTE: Area business owner donated all products, materials, supplies, and equipment rentals.

Creative Challenges:

  1. Selecting 360 different tints and shades from Sherwin-Williams commercial color chip book.
  2. Custom tinted base paint white semi-gloss enamel for each door. To do: Poured white base paint into 362 glass, quart-sized Mason canning jars. Formulated each tint using paint dye kit, and S-W’s tinting guide.

Supplies Challenge: Locating 360+ glass jars, and screw lids with seals.


PROJECT: Restoration of 75+ carved, antique wood doors.

Property: Mid-1890s house, cottage. Location: S. Florida. Crew: 2 (self, F-T; apprentice, P-T).

Procedural Challenges:

  1. Required extensive and careful repairing, filling, repairing of carved areas on all doors.
  2. Required special products, then custom mixing and blending for EACH door.
  3. Required ample “wait times” for settling, gelling, drying, melding, and related processes.

Client Challenge: Property owner/family matriarch insisted on residing in main house, while it was being worked on. Frequently, she suffered serious reactions to chemicals in special products needed for restoration work.


PROJECT: Restoration of over 105 paneled and carved wood doors, with inlays.

Property: Small 120-year old church, monastery. Location: Indiana. Crew: 2 (self, apprentice).

Note: Anonymous donor covered costs. For years, monks had struggled to maintain buildings.

Creative Challenge: Custom mixing prep and finish products; testing on each door before using.

Surface Challenge: Most doors had numerous cracks, gouges, pieces of carved strips missing.

PROJECT: Refinished 60+ very old wood doors, poor condition.

Property: Nursing home, built 1930s. Location: Florida. Crew: 2 (Apprentice, self).

Compliance Challenge: A code compliance project, per order of Florida Department of Health.

Budget Challenge: Very limited budget. Home located: low income, underserved neighborhood.


PROJECT: Repainted all doors, children’s wing, including “burn ward” and trauma center.

Property: Non-profit hospital, religious group-owned. Location: S. Florida. Crew: 2.

Management’s objective: Part of effort to “spruce up” wing, and attract more capital support.

Logistics Challenge: No part of wing could be closed down during project. All procedures, tasks, uses of products, tools and equipment had to adhere to facility policies, government regulations.

Product Challenge: All products, materials and supplies had to meet stringent health, safety, environmental, and other requirements, standards and codes.


PROJECT: Installation of red flock wallpaper and wood railing and trim onto doors.

Property: Private residence, circa 1920s. Location: Southeast Florida. Crew: 1 (self).

Creative Challenges:

  1. Applied wallpaper, trim, to doors of living, dining, reading rooms with walls covered in same paper.
  2. Desired effect: Closed, the doors, and their trims, baseboards blended right in with the walls.
  3. Required: Cutting, staining, finishing, and installing of horizontal wood strips of railing, and hand-crafted wood baseboard, on doors. Trims had to align with adjacent railings, baseboards.


PROJECT: Painted doors and wood cabinetry in 17 bed and bath suites.

Property: Small inn. Location: Indiana. Crew: 1 (self).

Owner specifications: Paint each set of doors in slightly different tint of hunter green – Gliddens.

Supplies Challenge: Finding 17 empty and immaculate metal 1-gallon paint cans, with tight lids.

Logistics Challenge: Dividing project into phases, that matched phase schedule for each suite.

Procedural Challenge:

  1. Tinting of each gallon of paint in closely-graduated hue, to match respective color chip.
  2. Testing out each tint on most visible surface of suite, in which it would be applied.
  3. Making certain everyone followed 24-hour “wait and see” to check color, coverage, viscosity.
  4. Following alternating schedule to allow for ample prepping and primer drying.

Example: Starting with suite 1, kept work on each suite “evolving” into next phase.


Like I said, painting or finishing a door can be lots of fun. A great visual contribution to the world.


FIND A DOOR! Any door. And paint/finish/cover it to blend in or match. Or make a statement!

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Many thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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