DIY Tutorials Room Redos

Come and knock on my door

March 20, 2015

Doors! As I shared in The Library reveal post, I was quite smitten with the doors in this photo:


Which led me to choose this bi-fold closet door from Lowe’s:


We unscrewed the hinges that held the doors together in the middle, so they could open and close independently (like french doors). The plan was to add three hinges to each door to then be attached to the door frame. Simple as that. Except we had a problem. Despite measuring the door that was previously there (three times) the doors were too small.

They were too short.


And once unhinged, there was a 1″ gap between them.


The doors were listed with two measurements on Lowe’s website. One set was listed as the measurements and the other set was listed as the “actual measurements”; which was about 1″ less in length and width. I’m assuming the difference is to account for the hardware needed to operate the door as a bi-fold closet door. The door the next size up would have been too large, so when ordering, I convinced myself that 1″ wasn’t going to matter that much. Well…

I didn’t mind the gap at the top, because I knew that the door would not be sitting on the floor once they were actually installed. Also, the bed blocks the view of the bottom of the doors, so if the 1″ gap were near the floor it wouldn’t be that noticeable. The gap in the middle, however, was a problem. I wanted doors, so that I could hide out in there make coffee in the morning without waking Michael (who typically sleeps later than me). We discussed a number of solutions, but ultimately we decided to add a piece trim to the front of one door to block the gap. This means one door would have to be opened before the other, but when we looked at the other french doors in the house, they were set up in the same way. We purchased a trim piece from Home Depot. We held it between the doors to make sure it was wide enough before cutting it to size and attaching it to the door.


Michael attempted to use the t-square to draw a guide line on the door, but the top edge of the door wasn’t straight, so that didn’t work.  (I leave lines and cutting things to Michael, because I can’t draw a straight, with a ruler, to save my life.) We ended up just lining up the corners of the trim with the corners of the door. Michael laid down a line of wood glue, then he used the nail gun to further secure the trim to the door once the glue had set up a bit.



(The paint cans and ax were used to hold the trim in place while the wood glue dried. We really need to invest in clamps.)

I used my finger to push caulk into the nail holes, then I used a sponge to dampen my finger and wipe the excess caulk away.


I let the caulk set for about 45 mins, then I used Zinisser Bull Eye 1-2-3 water based primer to apply one thin layer of primer to the front of the doors. I used a small foam roller for most of the doors, and a paint brush for the crevices. I like using the foam roller, especially on doors and cabinets, because it doesn’t leave brush strokes. Truly, however, the key is thin, even coats no matter what tool is being used.

You can see from the picture how thin the primer coat was.


Once the primer dried, I used these nifty sanding sheets that Michael found at Home Depot. I’m not sure what they are made of, but they are flexible and were great for the corners and curves. Sanding in one of my least favorite things to do, but I actually didn’t mind it as much with these flexible sheets.


I used black paint, Silhouette by Martha Stewart in satin, that I already had on hand from painting the other door fronts in our bedroom. I also added about a capful of product called Floetrol to my paint. It’s a paint additive / conditioner that helps reduce the appearance of brush marks by slowing the drying time of the paint.


I applied four, thin, even coats of paint.


Yes, it took four coats. Multiple coats is right under sanding on my list of least favorite things. (Read: I’m impatient.) Sure, I could have slapped 2 thicker coats on there and called it a day, but it could have ended up looking sloppy, or worse the paint could start peeling.

After letting the paint dry over night, I flipped the doors to the other side and applied Minwax in Weathered Oak. (The instructions suggested using a wood conditioner before applying the stain, but I didn’t have any on hand. I like the way they turned out without it, but I might try it the next time to see if it helps keep the color more even.) I started by using an old shirt to apply the stain, but the shirt seemed to soak up more of the stain than it put on the door, so I switched to a brush.


The stain gets darker the longer it sits and the more coats you apply; I let the stain sit for about 10 minutes before wiping it off. It took three coats on each door to achieve the color I wanted.


While the stain cured, I went upstairs to take care of the holes in the door frame from the previous door’s hinges.


I used a wood filler and a spackle knife to fill the holes. This particular wood filler goes on pink and dries white when it’s ready to be sanded. I always have a hard time with wood filler. It doesn’t spread very well, because of its sticky, clay like consistency. I found the best way to deal with this is to use more filler than you need, spread it as best you can, and sand the excess off once it’s dry.  It didn’t turn out perfectly. It could probably use another layer of filler, but it won’t show once the doors are in place.


I also put a coat of primer and semi-gloss white paint on the trim. All of the trim in our house needs to be repainted. Imagine me groaning like Homer Simpson. Anyway… It was easier to paint the frame before the doors were in place. So, while I was painting the frame, Michael was attaching the hinges to the doors. He picked up six hinges when he was buying the sand paper and the stain. He only put screws in the first and last holes on the hinges, because we were afraid the middle hole, (which was off center from the other holes), was too close to the glass, and would crack if we tried to place a screw there.


We propped the doors one at a time on a book, to get them at the right height, and then secured the hinges to the door frame.



(Bare with me for the next few photos. Stormy skies, and inside lights do not make for good lighting.)

LOVE them! They open and close easily, and the trim we put on does its job at hiding the gap between the doors. JUST KIDDING! Nothing in DIY ever works out that perfectly; at least not for us, anyway. Despite dry fitting the doors, I attached the hinges too close to the door stop and they wouldn’t close all the way. So, we called in the big guns.


(Eleanor is always so eager to help with projects. :))

We took the doors down and then lined up the edge of the hinge with the outside of the previously drilled middle hole. This moved everything over by about half an inch.


It worked! We were able to close the doors. Crisis averted. Take that Murphy’s Law!

It’s hard to get a picture of the true color of the stained side given the lighting, but you can see from this picture that it’s still natural, but slightly grey in color.




The trim piece hides that middle gap perfectly. This is the view of the doors while sitting in The Library:


It’s amazing. The room feels so much more finished. It even feels bigger – ironically. The windows are perfect for diffusing the light enough not to be disturbing in the early morning, but still letting enough light in from the window, so it doesn’t feel like a cave in there.

Woo! So glad to have that done. We’ll need to add knobs, of course. I’m considering stealing the agate pulls from the bathroom vanity, but I’ll have to figure out how to secure them; since they were not made for doors. I am just desperately trying to add some color in our lovely, but very grey bedroom.

I hope you all have a great weekend. We’re supposed to be getting a lot of rain. I guess we’ll see if our rocks work.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Gammie. N. Pop March 21, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Great lil helper my angel ELEANOR !!

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