Paint Brushes: What to Consider When Finishing Or Refinishing Your Exterior Doors


Long ago when I started finishing solid wood doors, and more importantly exterior wood doors, I learned two things: first, that good paintbrushes do a smooth job; and second, that good brushes call for good treatment and special care.

A Good Brush: Your Exterior Doors Will Look Great

My favorite brushes have been serving me for more years, if fact, I have a few of my Dad’s horsehair brushes lying around still, and they haven’t failed me yet. If you have finished as many mahogany doors as I have, you know the value of a good brush. At $30 a pop, you can go broke if you choose not to take care of them.

If you are considering refinishing that investment you call your front doors, invest in pure bristle, preferably ox hair in the larger brushes for applying all sealers, under-coats, paints, and varnishes.

If you are looking to apply a thick glaze to fill in the surface of your exterior doors, use hog or any good short bristle brush (almost stiff) to apply the glazes; a bamboo brush for lining or doing detail and finial designs on the exterior doors molding.

None of your needs will require more than two larger brushes-about 2″ or 3″. There are brushes manufactured for every purpose.

You will NEVER be satisfied with the nylon-bristle brushes; they will leave a grain line running all the way through the surface and it is impossible to keep the bristles from dropping into the finished surface of your mahogany doors. Door Refinishing have spent a good deal of investment when customers demand I refinish their front doors because they found a bristle in the finish.

Good brushes eliminate the need for a lot of rubbing down and sanding out, and they also yield a perfect surface for the final polish finish to your exterior doors.

Cleaning Brushes: Taking Proper Care of Your Brushes

There are many good brush-cleaning liquids on the market, but I would use the kind of brush cleaners that artists typically use for their very finest brushes.

Artisan brush cleaners will contain no harsh solvents to weaken the bristle or cause it to become brittle. Proper cleaning can only be accomplished by first swishing the brush around in alcohol or turpentine, then swishing it around some more in the cleaner, and then giving it a good washing in rather warm, but not hot, water.

I use grease removing liquid dish soap for final cleaning. Wash the brushes until the water is clear and no paint particles remain up close to the handles. If you fall short in this, you will end up with a brush that is only good for painting fences or brick walls.

Most ferrules, or the metal part of the brush that hold the bristles together, are rust-resistant. This means that in drying them you can use a container that holds your brushes upright and allows the ferrules and bristles to protrude from the top, which is the perfect means of drying. This allows the bristles to return to their gentle shape.

Never let your brushes dry while touching something especially mahogany doors; they will dry harder than concrete, and take just as long to work out straight and shapely again.

While you are working, keep a container of clean alcohol or turpentine (whichever is required for cleaning) handy to drop the brushes into as soon as you complete each finished coat. This keeps them available for constant use. Have a bunch of old rags at hand for quickly wiping out the residue and deposits. I have coffee cans lying all around me when I am refinishing doors.

Paint Your Own Conclusion

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