Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spray painting door knobs

Hey hey all! Well thank you for the kind words yesterday! :) We are very excited.

I’m back with a DIY project I’ve been wanting to tackle for a long time. I mentioned a while back that my house had been finally been debrassified, but I was wrong. I had forgotten about a couple knobs in the house. Drats.

But these were exterior door knobs that we use a key with – so replacing them meant two things: lots of $$ and since they are keyed don’t you have to make new keys when you install them? I always thought you did but maybe not. But still, lots of moola to replace two of them.

I didn’t feel like spending lots of moola so I figured I’d try out a DIY to change them up. I’ve always wondered how spray painted knobs hold up and it’s the age old question – some say they do great, some say they do horribly.

We’re about to find out. Well…in a few weeks/months anyway.

I did a couple doors with varying uses/elements so it will be interesting to see how they turn out. But first, the how to.

You take the offensive shiny thing off:

spray painting brass knobs

Ignore the horrible, dirty mud room door. And missing trim. And blinding brass.

Don’t be afraid to take the knob off – even I avoided this for years and it’s not a big deal. It's two pieces and the screws, that’s it. Just remember how they go back together and always remember the access to the screws side goes inside the room!

First up, and I think this is most important part – clean them. I just used my basic cleaning stuff but anything that will get any grime or grease off is what you want:

spray painting brass knobs

Thing is, if you don’t clean them well the primer and paint won’t hold well – you’ll get crackles (the dreaded crackle, shakes fist in air!!!!) or it will easily wear off those dirty areas.

I took them out in the garage and needed something that would allow them to stand up, so I stuck the one with the long part into a shop towel cardboard box and just laid the other one on top:

spray painting brass knobs

I later stuck the screws in there too – they stand up straight so you can spray all sides at once.

So…the primer part. Well. I have some really good (and expensive stuff) called BIN primer in a spray. But it’s a pain in the butt. I told you more about it here. I’ve tried everything to make it spray smoother but it just doesn’t work. This time my gloves and the can ended up covered in the primer:

spray primer spray primer

SO frustrating. The paint sprayed all clumpy and gross too, so I actually had to sand down the knobs a bit to help that. I’m throwing the primer out, which is annoying cause it’s not cheap.

Anyway…I ended up just using a basic black primer instead:

spray painting brass knobs

The BIN stuff is stronger, better primer, but I was tired of cussing so there you go.

Don’t they already look so much better though? SO. much. better.

I finished up with my BFF…good old ORB (that’s oil rubbed bronze for those not tight with it):

oil rubbed bronze spray paint

Hello my friend. Good to see you again.

When spray painting remember short, light coats – not long, heavy ones. There’s really not much to it if you remember that.

I took the knob off the back door too and you can see the wear on the keyed side from being outside:

spray painting brass knobs

So it will be interesting to see how these hold up – the mud room door is one we use a key on all the time, so that will get lots of wear and tear. The back door we don’t use a key on much, but the outside part gets hit with the elements. And we use both doors numerous times a day.

On the back door I took the knob off and did that first: spray painting door knobs

I didn’t want to take both off just in case something went wrong. You know I don’t have much luck with that door.

The deadbolt part was a little more tricky – we’ve been told we need to replace our whole back door (water issues) and every time I get inside there I see why. The insides of that one were rusted so it was hard to get the lock part off the outside part of the door. I just ended up spray painting the inside part.

I also took the strike plate off and sprayed that, but I know it will get scratched up – it already is. Most of it should stay the ORB color though, so we’ll see how that holds up:

spray painting door knobs

I decided to makeover that mud room door so I can’t show you the after on that one just yet. ;) But here’s how it looks on the back door:

spray painting door knobs

So here’s the thing about painting doors – this is why you really want to take the knob off before you paint. I didn’t and now the knob isn’t exactly where it used to be and you can tell. :)

I can’t wait to show you how it looks on the mud room door! LOVE how the room is coming together! There’s a long way to go but I think it’s going to be fun.

I’ll update you in a month or two and let you know how these are holding up! I’m really interested to see. Our coach lights that I spray painted still look fantastic: spray painting outdoor lights

They are exposed to the elements for sure, but no one handles them.

Have you ever tried spray painting door knobs? How did it turn out for you? I’d love to hear! I love a good experiment. :)

 

Update: To see how these turned out go here.

51 comments:

  1. I haven't tried to spray paint door knobs yet but just about everything else. Spray paint is a miracle paint! I'll bookmark your tutorial as I have brass knobs everywhere and would like to change out as you did. You should post again with an update in a few months. ha
    I think the little things, like this, can make such a difference.
    Thanks!

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  2. When my husband and I changed our door knobs/locks, we were able to have them recut to our existing keys at Menard's. I would imagine Home Depot and Lowes is similar; just in case you are curious. However you just went to all that hard work so I doubt you want to change them now! :)

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    1. Good to know! We'll see how these hold up! ;)

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    2. They can also rekey your locks to your existing key!

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  3. what a simple but dramatic update! can't wait to see the mudroom :)

    Thanks for sharing,
    court

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  4. I am so glad to see this post because I have been thinking about spray painting my shiny brass door knobs, but I have brass door hinges as well. Did you? If yes, did you paint them? Or are they not that noticeable after painting the knobs?

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    1. Tess I was going to but the hinges on our exterior doors are painted white. They're really heavy duty ones too so I didn't want to take the doors off. Interior doors hinges are easier to take off though! I would try it!

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    2. Speaking from experience here! Interior hinges can be taken off but the doors don't always go back exactly the way they were :/ After struggling with 2 doors not closing correctly, I discovered oil rubbed bronze paint in a can! It's in the same aisle as they spray paints and I just applied it with small detail paintbrushes directly on the hinge without having to remove the door. After a couple coats and some overnight drying, I had matching knobs and hinges...and doors that actually lined up with the frame :)

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    3. I should also add that it works great for exterior hinges too

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  5. They look Fabulous my friend. I have been telling people for years I thought this was possible..Now you have confirmed it sister. LOVE IT

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  6. I am not sure what to do. In my upstairs hall I have orb lighting fixtures. I would like to have all the doorknobs in this small hall orb also. The hall is very small with 3 doors. Should the knobs match on both sides of the door? For instance the bathroom I would like the orb in the hall but the bathroom fixtures are chrome. Should I keep the inside of the door silver or paint it orb? grp18@aol.com

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    1. Just my opinion, but I think the days of all matching metals are over. I think it would look perfectly fine to have ORB knobs and chrome fixtures. My last place (a rental) had mismatched knobs on interior doors and it drove me nuts ( chrome on one side and brass on the other - yuck!). The interior door knobs should definitely match on both sides. Happy painting!

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    2. I agree with Mel. I wouldn't sweat the knobs not matching the bathroom hardware, but I think the knobs should all coordinate with each other, especially on the same door :)

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  7. Yes! I did this last year on interior and exterior knobs.

    I buffed them with extra fine steel wool and cleaned them with deglosser, then sprayed with the rustoleum paint+primer in one. It worked really well! All the knobs in the house are still perfect. The strike plates look like yours, BUT, someone told me her store-bought ORB plates did the same thing. The exterior lock is the only piece that needs touching up, but that's because we jam a key in it at least twice a day. :)

    Any hinge painting in your future? We totally skipped that, still rocking brass hinges (blurgh.)

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  8. Paige - what color did you use? I painted 11 doors and all the hardware, for hardware I used Krylon antique gold (cleaned sanded primed) and it is coming off everywhere after 2 months. I can see white primer layer on all the knobs.

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  9. Does your lock still work? I spray painted my bathroom doorknobs and now the locks won't turn. :(

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  10. Looks great!! We sprayed all our interior/exterior brass knobs about 5 years ago, they are still holding up well..a little wear, but nothing too major. Even the scratch plates look alright. I sprayed our brass shower door and it's also holding up just fine too... I do think the primer is the key!. I never thought about the outside lights!! They were bought as ORB, but have faded from the elements, so I will need to do that! We also have a similar backdoor, similar water issues. :(

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  11. We spray painted door knobs before in our old home. It looked great at first, but after the daily use of them, the paint began to wear off which was a bummer b/c they really did look nice at first! lol.
    I used spray paint that is meant for metal...but, maybe I should have used something different? More coats? idk

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  12. I primed and painted my doorknobs in my bathroom. They are the old skeleton key and knob types. I used primer and silver craft paint, then sealed. They lasted about 5 months before most of the paint was worn off. Never thought of spray painting. Will try that instead. So much cheaper than new doors and knobs!!!
    -kendra taylor (bettychitfox@gmail.com)

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  13. I never even thought about spray painting our brass door handles!!! I think this will be on the to do list in the very near future! Excellent job!

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  14. Your spray painted knob looks great! I would love to make my home's door knobs black, so maybe I will give this a try! And congrats on becoming a grandmother!

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  15. I did all mine last year, It sure updates the doors, I also did the hinges, just taped around them with tape and newspaper then sprayed them right on the door frame...

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  16. We have lovely antique brass fixtures, but some are so worn that they can't be polished to an even tone (there are pink spots, which I believe are where one most of the zinc has been removed from the brass alloy, leaving behind mainly copper). So… I did a test run with the knobs on the door from the kitchen to the basement. I sprayed them with gold spray paint in an attempt to get an antique bronze color. They looked okay (not as nice as our real brass knobs), but we use that door multiple times a day, so after about 4-5 months, it's starting to show wear and the paint has worn off in a few places. Sigh. At least I tried.

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  17. My mom did all of her knobs and hinges in their old house. They knew they wouldn't be staying permanently, as they were downsizing in the future, but they held up for many years that they lived there. And yes, Home Depot can rekey new locks to your existing keys (we had all of our new locks done)...this allowed us to change the out as we could afford to do so without having different keys to carry around. Oh, and even the high end ORB fixtures will patina with use after awhile, so the underlying brass does come through a bit. We just chalk it up to character! LOL

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  18. I have been DYING to try this out -- thanks for being the guinea pig! They look fantastic and I would venture to say they will even with a few scratches down the line.
    xo Heidi

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  19. I spray painted our front door handle about a year ago and the inside circle handle, like yours, has completely chipped off. :( I was lookin' at it again today wondering if I should try a different paint.

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  20. I just sprayed my door handles with Rustoleum ORB with the built in primer...I did my kitchen cabinet handles almost 2 years ago and they are holding up fine...I just sanded my door handles and then painted...so far no problems - isn't spray paint great??!!

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  21. I've never tried spray painting doorknobs, but we did replace every single doorknob when we bought our house. We wanted knobs instead of levers (harder for toddlers to open) and that wasn't an option when we built our house. We got our garage door and our front door re-keyed to match each other. Both doorknobs came with a pair of keys each and it was free to have Lowe's re-key one since we bought the doorknobs there. They even gave us 2 more keys free to match the doorknob he'd re-keyed. Just FYI in case your paint job doesn't stick long term. I've heard it going either way, too. Good luck!

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  22. I've been dying to try this since YHL did....but then I count my doors and am amazed that such a small house has so many doors?! What do I live in, Let's Make a Deal?!?!

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  23. I spray painted my door knobs in the spring in a brushed satin nickel. Just the kitchen door so far, but it looks like brand new and has held up perfectly so far. Even the one that is outside. I plan to do the rest of the door knobs too, as I paint the doors.

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  24. A few years ago, I had my husband take every door knob off of every door in our house so I could spray paint them. I couldn't stand looking at that fake brass finish one more minute! I lightly sanded/roughed up each knob. I used a multi surface Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint with a hammered finish. They came out great and much cheaper than buying all new knobs. Anyway, years later they have held up very well! The only one I might have to touch up a little is the one on my son's bedroom door. Go figure.

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  25. I sprayed painted the shiny brass door handle and hardware on our back door with ORB early in the summer. I gave it a coat of a spray-on clear protective finish for good measure. It's a door that gets constant daily use and has been exposed to all kinds of weather...direct sun, heat, rain and even hail. So far it shows no signs of wear. I am curious to see how it holds up through our cold Wisconsin winter. I wrote about it here: http://www.redtelly.com/2013/08/omg-for-orb.html

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  26. My co-worker just de-brassified her house. She used an automotive primer and everything looks great!!!

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  27. I wish I knew this when we moved into our house - which was FULL of chipped brass hardware! We ended up replacing EVERYTHING right down to the doorstops. Don't get me wrong, they look great! But this would have saved SO much money. Hope they hold up, can't wait to find out!

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  28. Your door knobs look great! I have a few to do at my house as well. Thanks! You saved me a lot of money!!

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  29. I spray painted my front door knob and deadbolt back at the beginning of this year. They are holding up perfectly even with the elements/keys/kids etc! Next I want to spray all the inside knobs matte black. Maybe you just inspired me to get around to that this weekend!

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  30. Sarah, Just SECONDS before reading this post on your blog, I read a post discussing spray paint on another blog. The author suggested spraying a clear acrylic coat on doorknobs as a means of protection not only from the elements, but from scratching the paint off due to handling, keys, etc. I didn't see where you said you'd sprayed a clear coat on your doorknobs, so this may be something for you to consider and test for longevity of the finish.

    Best,

    Kimberly

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  31. I literally just did this two weeks ago. Now I was pretty lazy and impatient, having made way to many trips to the store that week, so I didn't do any sanding or priming. I had read somewhere that sanding prevented a smooth finish so I validated skipping it. I did plenty of coats and plenty of drying time. All the knobs but one have held up so far, which for some reason is almost all worn off already- it does get more use, but not that much! Anyway they look beautiful and make such a huge difference. We also recently had the kitchen cabinets painted white, so our old grimy brass hinges were not too pretty. I sprayed them brushed nickel- so many coats and drying....but to no avail. One little pad in the middle scrapes against the one part of the hinge that's exposed and rubbed the paint right off when the hinge opened. Not too pretty. We ended up buying new ones because we couldn't come up with a solution.

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  32. Used primer and paint in one over two years ago, and holding up great so far!
    Only on knobs I knew would get a lot of wear and tear did I use clear coat over...

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  33. I did our front door knobs and it lasted about a year. It gets used a LOT, so we've ordered new knobs, keyed the same.

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  34. Thanks for the post on spray painting. I have the same carriage lamps at my front door, and do they ever look nasty after 20+ years of sun, rain and all other types of weather! How did you paint them? I've been reluctant to try because of all the glass.

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    1. Pat I painted some of them on the ground, some of it while still up on the house! I share everything in the link about them in the post above. It is time consuming to remove the glass but they look so good!

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  35. When we moved into our house 5 years ago, we completely gutted it, so we needed all new doorknobs. We bought ORB knobs for the whole house and they all look fine, except for the one from the garage into the house that we use all day long. The ORB color is completely rubbed off of that handle and now we're left with a dark bronze color. Annoying since we didn't paint these, we bought them.

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  36. hmmm.... cleaning them first..... (blushing).... that's probably why my spray paint job looks terrible! Well, I will redo them in spring when I can spray paint outside - it's too cold to do that now. And then I will clean the knob really good, and prime! (It's the doorknob to my boys bathroom, so it gets gross).

    Your doors look amazing. I love the black doors inside, but my one hallway is so narrow and dark, I can't do black. But I'm tempted to do the outside of the doors black. I think that would be quit stunning.

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  37. I have not spraypainted doorknobs, but have spraypainted lots of drawer hardware that gets daily use. I spraypainted my interior door HINGES in my Atlanta house. We sprung for new doorknobs but I painted the hinges when prepping the house to sell. For the hinges, I removed them, cleaned well with a deglossing cleaner, used spray primer (it had a rusty clay color & worked well & no probs getting it to spray smoothly, probably made by Rustoleum or Krylon), then sprayed w/the ORB (the can says it is paint & primer in one but I also used a seperate primer as a precaution). Then after the ORB paint was completely dry, I topcoated with a clear spray (flat or satin). When we moved 6 mos later, they still looked great. Your coach lights still look fab. The new exterior door knobs we bought at HD came w/kit enclosed where you key your new knob with your existing key. My hub did it & said it was easy. But if the spraypaint works, then more power to you! I had a limit to how many DIY projects I could handle with a hub working out of state, 3 kids, a dog, and keeping the house perfect for buyers to traipse thru so I just bought the knobs, but painting is a great solution. So if they look worn in a year, just remove & repaint them! You can save a lot of $$ that way!

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  38. p.s. - The way I did our interior hinges is that I removed one hinge at the time. For example, I removed only the TOP hinge from each door, took them out to garage and cleaned/primed/painted/topcoated all the top hinges including the screws. Once the top hinges were dry & reinstalled, I repeated the process for the middle hinges. Once the middle hinges were reinstalled, I repeated w/the bottom hinges. I could do a lot of pieces at one time an an assembly line fashion. But by removing only one hinge at the time from each door, the door never had to come off. For me this was easier than taping off each hinge & worrying about overspray in the house, plus it kept anyone from closing the door while the paint was wet!

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  39. Try spraying with the key in the knob. Should keep paint from getting into the key-slot.

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  40. Before you throw away that expensive primer - see about getting a different wider cap! If it doesn't work, you should be able to re-use with other spray paint!

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  41. I'd contact the manufacturer of the primer, it might just be a duff can..

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    1. I wish Lesley! They are all like that -- I continue to try it because some aren't quite as bad as others and it's such good primer. But I think I'm at my limit now. :)

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