Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hardware Headaches

When we moved into our house over 5 years ago, we fell in love with all the little architectural details stashed away inside.  Sure, there was a TON of work to do.  And yes, we were probably way in over are heads...but we were two crazy-in-love kids, who thought they could take on the world!!

We soon figured out that there was more to home ownership than just adding a coat of paint to the walls, and sitting back to enjoy your work.  There were expenses.  MAJOR expenses!  Things needed fixed and updated.  Problems had to be dealt with (all at once), and sacrifices had to be made.  We soon learned what our priorities were, and that some "dream projects" were just not in the cards.

It was at this point that the "shiny new home" bubble popped.  We realized that in order to maintain our  1920's home, we were going to have to pour more than just money into it.  We need to sacrifice some blood, sweat, and tears too!

This mainly meant, that if we wanted a project done in the house, it was going to be up to us (and not a contractor) to do it.  For me, I've always loved projects...for my husband...well lets say he likes funding MY projects and leave it at that!!  And since we are extremely frugal cheap home owners, we save every penny we have for BIG projects.

Which leads me to the point of this post (about time, I know). 

I came across this article on line about fixing up your doors hardware.  It was mainly a whole how-to on stripping paint off old knobs and hinges.  Let me tell you, the "Hallelujah" chorus was going off in my head as soon as I read it.  And this is why:

{Sorry about the bad picture quality, but you get the idea.}

Pretty much every single door knob, lock, and hinge in our house is coated in multiple layers of sloppy paint.  And before I go off on a tangent about bad-home-owners who are to lazy to remove hardware before painting; lets just say that I was not looking forward to replacing everything.  Especially since it was all original (including the glass knobs), and I wasn't sure how much I'd have to pay...let alone if I'd be able to find any.

So the article sparked a fire in me, and I said whattheheck, and gave it a try.  So here's what I did (Side note: this was probably the easiest, and most environmentally friendly project you could ever ask for!!):

  • I started off by removing all the hardware, and lining them in the bottom of an old crock pot.  Note:  you do NOT want to use your nice crock pot, because it will not be fit for food afterward.  If you don't have one, I recommend looking at garage sales!
  • Next pour a layer of water in the crock pot, making sure that it more than covers the hinges.  Try leaving at least an inch of  water above the hardware, because in this case it's better to have more then less.
  • Next pour in at least 3-4 Tbs. laundry detergent in with the water.  Sounds odd, I know, but trust me it works!!  And it leaves your house smelling really good in the process (which = no strong chemical smell!!).
  •  The only thing left to do is put on the lid, set it to low, and leave it be.  This will take at least a day, but sometimes it takes 2, which is why you want extra water, cause eventually some will evaporate.
  •  You'll know it's done when the paint brushes off easily with your fingers (preferably protected in rubber gloves!).  Note: Some paint might be a little more stubborn, which might require a hard-bristled, plastic brush...not metal, it will scrape off the plating.  But hopefully when all is said and done it will look like this:
  •  I finished everything off with a mild metal cleaner, which brought everything back to their original shine.  And the Hubs fitted it all back onto our newly stripped and painted door!!

 Some extra notes for anyone doing this at home:
  1. Be sure to dispose of all leftover water and paint scrapings through a chemical disposal company.  Do NOT throw this down your drain, especially if it might contain lead paint. 
  2. If you have glass knobs, do NOT put them in the crock pot.  I have no idea if it will be able to handle the heat.  If they need cleaned, boil equal parts white vinegar and water in a pan.  Using rudder gloves and an old wash cloth; dip the cloth in water and press against the painted areas for a few minutes.  This should softer the paint up enough to scrub off.
And that's it!!  Pretty easy, huh!?!  I love that I didn't have to use expensive/scary chemical strippers...and that I had everything I needed at home!  Woo Hoo!!

I'll try to do a follow up post on how we stripped all the doors; which was a much longer and more intense project.  Heck, I'm still working on some of the doors :(  But in the end, I guess it's worth it!

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