Painting the back door.


I believe that I managed to follow the checklist on how not to paint a door yesterday.  Actually I did do one thing exactly right.  I removed the door from the frame before painting it.  This strategy, while at first look seemed wise, actually set into motion a whole series of screw-ups.

The job was pretty simple.  The door that goes from our garage to the back yard had a hole that I cut for a cat door a few years ago.  It needed to be patched with sheet metal, and painted.  Green paint for the outside, white-ish paint for the inside.  No problem.

At first I was going to pull the hinge pins to remove the door, but when the pins wouldn’t budge I had to unscrew the hinges from the door.  Upon reflection this was my first mistake.  This made the orientation of the door slightly less obvious.

Then I placed the door on a table in the back yard so I would have a flat surface to paint. The door handle was in the way keeping the door from lying flat, also I didn’t want risk getting paint on the handle so I removed it.  Now the only indication of which side of the door faced out was the little striker mechanism, and well the location of the door knob vs the weather-stripping at the base of the door.

After preparing the door for painting I noticed that the edge of the door needed to be painted as well. So I removed the striker.  Now the only indication of which side of the door faced outside was the door knob hole position vs the gasket at the bottom of the door.

Apparently this distinction was too subtle for me to notice.  Unknown to me at the time, I painted the wrong side of the door.  50% chance of screwing it up turned into 100%.  Once the paint dried it was time to reassemble the door hardware.  Naturally I assumed that the dark green side was the outside so I installed the lock with the key on the green side.

Then I went to hang the door.  It was then that I noticed that the only way it would fit was if the green side went in.  Yes, I finally realized I screwed up.  The house needed to be secured before I went to bed so I hung the door anyway.  No time to repaint.

Then I looked at the door knob. Yep, it was backwards.  I used the green side to orientate the lock.  Now the door could be unlocked from the outside and I would need a key to unlock the door from the inside.

So I took the door hardware apart and turned the knobs around.  The screws are a pain to put in and takes a lot of finesse to even find the holes to start the screws.  But after a few moments of fumbling around I managed to tighten it up.

I went to close the door and Boom, it just slammed into the frame and didn’t latch.  Oh, I forgot that the striker needed to be flipped over to work properly.  So I had to take apart the door hardware yet again and rotate the striker, then fumble around again to locate the screw holes.

Once the whole thing was put back together I tested it out.  Yes after screwing up everything I could think of it actually worked.  I went into the house to announce to my lovely wife that I was done for the night.  I said that the hole is patched and the paint looked great, but don’t laugh when you see the door.

Without missing a beat she replied, “You painted the wrong sided, didn’t you?”

This proves that while I am capable of a lot of handy man activities it is the simple things that seem to allude me.  Like which side of the door to paint which color.

My wife’s statement was just a little bit too quick. I know she is smart, but I think her response was more from experience.  This is the difference between intelligence and wisdom.  I count myself lucky that my wife possesses equal quantities of both.


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