The Garage Door

One of the many apartments we’ve lived in was a townhouse. When we arrived, the front door was a little worse for wear, so I decided I’d go out and paint it. I hadn’t got an hour into it, when a voice behind me said “What do you think you’re doing?”
I turned to find a, previously friendly, neighbour glowering at me menacingly. “My door looked pretty grungy, so I’m just freshening it up with a coat of paint” I explained.
“You can’t do that, the condo board has to approve it!” He said.
“Well, it’s too late now,” I said, since I’d already had a good third of the door painted, “I’m going to have to finish.”

He stormed away, and later that day a small crowd of people gathered in the parking lot outside our house. I was sure there was going to be a lynching. Instead, two weeks later, professional painters arrived and painted every front door in the complex.

As I began scraping our garage door last weekend, you can imagine that I was looking over my shoulder a fair bit. But no one stopped me, or interrupted my work. A neighbour did, in fact, come over at one point, though. He brought a can of a substance called “Circa 1895” which is a paint stripper that made the job much easier.

Our garage and front door were apparently given a hurried coat of paint, and we were not terribly happy with the color, or the work done. It was a peach/orange color, done with a dull, flat paint, on top of the existing paint job (which appears to have been yellow) — basically we had the worst looking garage door on the street. I set out, last weekend, with the goal of re-painting before Thanksgiving. An hour or two of slow scraping (after I discovered that sanding just wasn’t going to cut it) and I’d revised my target date signficantly. Once the paint stripper arrived, however, with much thanks to our pretty cool next-door neighbour, I was able to catch-up to my original goal.

Two coats of semi-gloss paint went on first thing Sunday morning, in beautiful, sunny weather. It looks 100% better, although I’m not 100% sold on our color choice. Both Nicole and her sister approve, though, so I guess that’s good enough. I still need to do the trim around the garage door, but I think I’ll be painting the front door to match first.

It was a ton of work, but there’s this sense of satisfaction that comes from improving your own home. Its a wonderful feeling, made all the better by the fact that no one can tell you you’re not allowed to do it…

Supplies and Tools Needed:

  • $20 – Used hand sander (that broke just as the project was nearing completion)
  • $35 – Circa 1895 paint stripper (owed to neighbor)
  • $10 – Gift card for neighbor for saving me hours of labor
  • $8 – Cheap paint brushes and paint tray for applying paint stripper
  • $7 – Paint scrapers
  • $3 – 3 Putty knives
  • $8 – Wood filler to fix cracking wood
  • $28 – Assorted kinds of sandpaper, trying to find stuff that would work
  • $70 – High quality outdoor paint, self-priming
  • $15 – Good paint brushes, medium sized roller, paint tray

Total: $204, and one week’s worth of work — with enough supplies left-over to do the front door at no extra cost.