Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

March, 2004

Repainting Metal Doors with Latex Paint

Q. I have 2 steel entry doors that are 24 years old; they both face south and do not have storm doors. The paint has peeled off and stripped the factory primer in some small places over the past 6 years. Each year, we scrape, sand and wash the bare areas, re-prime and put a latex exterior paint over. And each year the same spots peel off again. We have tried every type of primer and none seem to work. Any suggestions or do we purchase new doors?

A. You shouldn't need to buy new doors.

It sounds to me that the surface under the primer is not as clean as it appears to be. If you are experiencing failure in the same location time after time, and when using different products then I would be suspicious of the surface.

Each year you scrape the surface, loosening any failed paint, sand the bare metal with a fine grit sand paper, and then wash the bare spots. Each year the paint fails in the same areas.

What do you wash the metal with? Be absolutely certain that there is no grease, dirt or sanding dust left behind prior to applying the primer and top coats.

After the scraping, sanding, and washing, use a clean rag and wash the surface down with a lacquer thinner solvent before you apply the primer. You might also consider using a acid etch wash primer and spot prime the bare metal areas first, then apply a good exterior grade primer and top coat system. Follow the manufactures recommendations for application and dry times, these can be very critical

I recommend that you visit the local paint center and tell them what has occurred over the years. They will be able to recommend products for you to use to help prevent this from happening again in the future.

Please be aware that coatings and solvents are chemicals and therefore you should always pay attention to proper handling procedures and be prepared to wear protective clothing, such as respirators, gloves, coveralls, etc. For further information on the health and safety requirements for the coatings and solvents you wish to use we strongly advised you to contact your local coating supplier. If possible, go the extra step and look for this information on the website of the product vendor.


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