Restoring Your Wooden Carriage House Doors: A Step-By-Step Guide For DIY Homeowners
Do you have some garage doors that look like twin house doors rather than the swing up and open doors? These are actually known as "carriage doors" because they are built onto old structures that were once used to house carriages. The double doors opened outward to allow for the removal of carriages and buggies before cars were commonplace. Later, the "horseless carriages" of old could fit through them too. If your carriage house doors are looking quite ragged, you can either replace them with a modern garage door, or you can restore the old doors yourself. Here is how you can restore the doors rather than opt for a full-on garage door repair and replacement job.
These old doors might be on oversized standard hinges or on extra long bolt hinges. If you see sets of oversized hinges, just unscrew the hinges from the garage/carriage house to remove the doors. If the hinges are bolt hinges, use a screwdriver to wedge underneath the top of the bolts and then use a rubber-headed mallet to tap the bolts up and out of the hinges. Set the doors across a couple of wooden saw horses for the next step.
Sanding and Scraping
If possible, use a paint scraper to remove all of the flaking and peeling paint and/or varnish. Then use a sander to buff away some more. If there are some stubborn areas of paint and/or varnish left, use a paint and varnish stripper to remove it. Just follow the instructions on the can to soften the difficult spots and then the paint/varnish should come up, no problem. After the stripper has done its job, you will need to sand the doors again to create a smooth surface for fresh paint or varnish.
If you are just going to repaint your carriage doors, start with a primer. This seals the doors against the elements and absorbs the paint better. Then apply your coat of paint. You may apply a second coat after the first if you do not like the faintness of the color or lack of opacity. Just be sure to lightly sand your doors between coats.
Varnishing is more labor intensive, even though you will not need the primer layer that paint does. Instead, you will have to apply thinned layers of varnish, one layer at a time, to the doors and sand in between each layer. Some people like three layers of varnish, others like more. After you let the varnish dry and completely set, and you have oiled the hinges sufficiently, you can reinstall the doors on your garage/carriage house.
If you need help with your garage door repairs, consider contacting companies like M & M Garage Doors and Service.