Q: Three years ago I painted the front door and the paint has started peeling. What could cause this?
A: I can only guess the reasons that the paint failed. Not knowing the conditions present when peeling occurred, I can only start by eliminating possibilities.
The three most common reasons paint would fail: 1) defective paint, 2) Improper preparation, or 3) lower grade of paint. However, this is probably not the case, since the paint job did last for three years before it started to peel.
I would venture to guess that the undercoat or prime coat did not attach to the surface, either an unfinished surface or over pre-existing paint. This could go undetected for over a year before the peeling occurs. There would also have to be some sort of agitation, such as cleaning the door, etc. because the chemicals in a cleanser could have reacted with the paint. Exposure to sun, elements or pollutants are also possibilities. However, the variables are virtually unlimited.
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The correct procedure to repaint a door is as follows:
First you would remove the door from the opening to paint correctly all edges, including the bottom.
If the door is painted with oil based paint, you would sand the door to rough up the finish and make sure that all loose paint is removed.
Paint on an undercoat or primer that is oil based. (If the door was originally painted with oil-based paint, use a water-based primer as an undercoat.)
After 24 hours drying, light sand and paint final finish coat with oil based paint.
Allow to dry at least 12 hours and re-install.
You may wonder what you should do with the opening while painting the door. Well, you may leave the door in place and paint it, not allowing it to close until at least 12 hours or more.
Craig Eastman, Eastco Enterprises, Inc., San Antonio, TX