Paint removal – Part 6: Digging through doors

There are several aspects to time, such as age and duration. I sometimes have to wonder if there is a proportional relationship between the two.


Take the original 100+ year old doors from our building – the age component. These are solid and heavy and had salvaging and reuse written all over them. Despite all the layers of paint we got the occasional glimpse of the buried treasure.


The process of recovering that treasure is a familiar one. The Silent Paint Remover removes the bulk of the paint, followed by a layer of Soy Gel to take off the residue.


That leaves the wood clean and ready for sanding, which is quick and easy, except for the panel profiles, particularly the corners. Those required a lot of attention to detail – and are a time suck – which gets us to the duration component.

It feels like working on the paint removal has extended the duration of our project indefinitely. And refinishing 12 of these age-old doors certainly factors into that equation.


The two coats of zero-VOC lacquer helps wrap up the refinishing and restores the doors to their old glory.

doors-01  doors-04

These doors will always be special to us, because of their quality, their age, and the time and tender loving care we put into them. This might just as well be the definition of salvaging.

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

2 thoughts on “Paint removal – Part 6: Digging through doors

  1. It is amazing how you succeed in restoreing the finsish of these beautiful doors with their renewed finsish. My confession: I never liked oak very much (maybe too german for my taste – and I am still one!), but I have to admit that you opened my mind and eyes to this truly warm material. Thanks for that.

  2. I hear you, Oliver. This is, however, oak in a quality that I haven’t seen back home in Germany. It often has the beautiful tiger strips from the quarter sawn cuts. Precious!

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