My wife and daughter are away for a month so I elected to do a little bit of DIY. This is how it went.

I set myself a task: To strip, trim and paint all of the interior doors in the house. They’re varnished pine and arguably not really worth the effort. As this task involves oil-based paint (the solvents in primer and gloss) it must be done quickly to give the smell a chance to go away before my wife and daughter get back.

The photos below have some pretty interesting angles, obviously I’m far better at scripting than I am at taking photos.

Day one – Saturday 12th

It took far too long to take down the doors and remove all the metalwork they have attached.

Someone took all the doors off

I’d been waiting in for deliveries all day, mostly to do with this little project, so I started the real work a bit late. Still, there was time to start sanding the first door, the one belonging to my daughters room. There it is, out in the garden.

Someone left a door outside

The door has always dragged against the carpet, and since I’d bought myself a circular saw it was time to do something about it. I’ve no idea who cut it last time, I guess it was done sometime before set-squares, straight-edges (a long wooden ruler) and C-clamps.

Who cut that

I’m using the bits I’ve chopped off to pack out the hole where the lock mechanism was on each of these doors. I see no reason to have locks on bedroom doors (especially if you don’t have the keys).

Day two – Sunday 13th

Sanding takes ages (or maybe I’m just not very good at it). Still, I got a second door out and attacked it with the sander (and then attacked it again with some sandpaper).

Finally, two doors sanded and filled, ready for the next step. These are my proof of concept doors, if something goes wrong here the other doors will not be done.

Sanding done

Primer! I may have bought the wrong colour, still I figure the other two coats of paint it’s getting will deal with it.

Primer done

That’s it for Sunday, it’s almost 9pm.

Day three – Monday 14th

I had to go to work so progress is limited. Still, paint needs time to properly dry so it only stopped the sanding. This time they get some undercoat.

Undercoat done

Almost there, the other side of each door needs undercoat; it had it’s primer done tonight. First (and hopefully only) coat of gloss goes on tomorrow.

Day four – Tuesday 15th

Undercoat done, and the first coat of gloss goes on. I say first, it was going to be only, but the primer has come back to bite me.

First gloss done

Day five – Wednesday 16th

On reflection, the colour of the primer didn’t have much of an impact, instead the availability of daylight did. Several areas of the door simply weren’t painted yesterday. Anyway, the second coat went on and aside from a few dribbles they look much better.

Second gloss done

Day six – Thursday 17th

Unfortunately all the progress above is limited to one side of the door. Here we go again, two last coats to do before these can go back in their respective door holes.

On goes the second first coat of gloss.

Second first gloss done

Day seven – Friday 18th

It’s Good Friday today, I’ve taken down the last of the doors and sanded the bits of each which must be done by hand. I managed 5 of them before I lost the will to carry on. The last one will need to be finished tomorrow.

A little bit of sanding

The doors which have received so much attention above get their last coat of gloss. They’ll be ready to hang tomorrow.

Second second gloss done

Today has been a very long day, another one to come tomorrow.

Day eight – Saturday 19th

The first two doors are back where they belong, they look much better. Had a few problems though:

The ball-bearing hinges I bought, while very pretty push the door too far from the frame (hinge side). I had to abandon those and go back to traditional hinges which fit just fine.

The other problem is the door knobs; we bought some a long time ago from a DIY store. To be blunt, they’re crap. The screws must go in at an angle which makes missing the latch exceptionally hard, to make matters worse they ship with very poor quality screws, two of them snapped. I decided they were too bad to put up with and got some replacements.

Anyway, here are they are, complete at last.

[column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Bathroom door[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Bedroom 3 door[/column][end_columns]

The gap at the bottom of the bedroom door is a bit larger than I’d hoped, but the starting point was very poor and there’s no chance of it wearing out the carpet now. They’ve a bit of a creak too (just a little) which I’m putting down to lack of straight door frames and the rubbing this causes the hinges.

I sanded the rest of the doors, it was pretty hard going, took about 5 hours. My belt sander chucked out a little bit of metal when I was down to the last pair of doors. It was presumably there to stop the belt slipping as the sander then proceeded to eat belts at an increasingly alarming rate. I gave up and sanded the last door by hand, I’m not entirely sure I have a lot of skin left on my hands now.

Here are the doors, sanded, washed and filled:

[column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Sanding done 2[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Sanding done 3[/column][end_columns]

Knowing the order of the doors at this point becomes quite important. From left to right (front-door to back-door) they go:

  1. Dining room
  2. Upstairs cupboard
  3. Living room
  4. Bedroom 2
  5. Bedroom 1
  6. Downstairs toilet

One last job for the day, first coat of primer. I found some in white primer in the cupboard so they look a bit more advanced than the prototypes. Alas the tin is almost entirely empty now, it won’t do many of them when I turn them around in the morning.

[column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]First primer done 2[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]First primer done 3[/column][end_columns]

Day nine – Sunday 20th

Happily I can give my neighbours a bit of a quieter day. Primer goes on the flip side, as predicted, not enough of the white primer to go around.

[column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Primer done 2[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Primer done 3[/column][end_columns]

I’ve filled the holes in the frames upstairs for each of the locking mechanisms and now I’m a bit out of things to break. That means I get a bit of a day off, I’ll cook something proper for dinner I think.

The doors got their first side of undercoat at around 6pm, I forgot to take a photo so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Day ten – Monday 21st

The second side had it’s undercoat done this morning.

[column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Undercoat done 2[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Undercoat done 3[/column][end_columns]

They’ll be ready to turn around late this evening so the first coat of gloss can go on, that starts us off on the slowest part of this project mainly because I have to go to work.

Here we are, with added gloss:

[column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]First first gloss done 2[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]First first gloss done 3[/column][end_columns]

Day eleven – Tuesday 22nd

Back at work again, but the second first coat of gloss goes on. The new tin of paint is quick drying, it makes life a lot easier.

[column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Second first gloss done 2[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Second first gloss done 3[/column][end_columns]

Day twelve – Wednesday 23rd

I’m trying to decide if I need another coat on top of this one or not. Anyway, on went a second coat of gloss on one side.

[column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]First second gloss done 2[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]First second gloss done 3[/column][end_columns]

Day thirteen – Thursday 24th

Today I went to the pub, which is probably a good thing, painting the doors takes little under 2 hours a night and a break from it is welcome.

Day fourteen – Friday 25th

Another coat, maybe the last, I’ll make a call on that when daylight is strong on Saturday.

[column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Second second gloss done 2[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Second second gloss done 3[/column][end_columns]

Day fifteen – Saturday 26th

It’s 6:30pm and I’ve just finished work for the day (started at 8:15am) and this little project has almost come to a close.

Today I’ve finished the doors that needed a little more painting, attached handles and latches, then hung 5 of the doors. It wasn’t exactly perfect:

  • The door on bedroom 1 will not close completely. The layers of paint and the extremely poor fit in the frame have added that extra millimetre or two.
  • One pair of new door handles was defective, I had to trim down the piece of metal which goes through the latch (no idea what it’s called). Fortunately I have a hacksaw with blades designed to cut metal (see below), time-consuming if only because I had to drag out things to hold it still while I cut it.
  • I managed to get the latch the wrong way around on one of the doors. It’s the cupboard so I’ve left it as it is.
  • I have no hinges for the living room door, for whatever reason it uses 100mm hinges where the rest use 76mm hinges.

The thing which had to be trimmed:

Trimming the thing

Day sixteen – Sunday 27th

Today was a day of rest, I did a bit of clearing up, a bit of washing and probably not a whole lot else.

Day seventeen – Monday 28th

This marks the end of the project, all the doors are back, the last of them went on tonight. It’s felt like a lot of work getting to this point.


[column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Downstairs toilet[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Dining room[/column][end_columns]
Living room


[column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Bedroom 1 and 2[/column][column width=”45%” padding=”15px”]Cupboard[/column][end_columns]