Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't Always Assume You Can't Do It Yourself

Case in point. I've been living in my house for almost four years now. The house was approximately a year and a half old when I bought it. So, between the age of the house and the sometimes harsh Texas weather (which has ranged between 15 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit in the years I have lived here), the finish on my doors was pretty much gone.

Every contractor I spoke to told me that the only way to fix the problem was to sand the doors down to the wood, and then re-stain and refinish them. Estimated cost for this work? Between $3,000 and $5,000 dollars. Ouch. And, it would need to be redone every 4 years or so .... double ouch!!

The other day I decided to tackle this problem myself and see if there wasn't some way to give my doors a good protective finish without starting from bare wood. And there was!! I can honestly say that I highly recommend Homer Formby's Furniture Refinisher and Homer Formby's Tung Oil Finish. They have saved my doors -- which now look as good as new -- and saved me thousands of dollars.

I started with the furniture refinisher in "Golden Oak." One coat of that took my horribly worn doors and brought the finish up to a depth and brightness that matched the original (which was especially evident in those doors that had partial protection from the elements and were only faded and worn on the lower halves). I have a lot of doors (14 exterior doors alone), but two containers of the furniture refinisher was enough to single coat all of them.

Then, I put six coats of tung oil on each door, letting each coat dry for 24 hours before applying the next. Total time to put a coat of either the refinisher or the tung oil on one of the double doors was about 10 minutes. Just rubbed it on with a shop cloth ... it was easy.

A $8.00 container of the tung oil was enough to do six coats on one door or on one half of a double door. The furniture refinisher was also about $8.00. So, total cost:

Two containers of furniture refinisher: $16.00
Fourteen containers of tung oil: $112.00

I spread the work time out over several days. Whenever I had ten or twenty minutes to spare, I'd pop outside and do a door or two. No fuss no muss, and the materials were only $128.00. That is one heck of a lot better than $3,000 - $5,000 plus whatever the stain and finish would have cost me.

This is the sort of job that I can stick on my "do it every other year" list and keep my doors looking great for the long term. So, while I was working on the assumption that refinishing all the doors in this house would be way too much work for me to accomplish on my own, it turns out that it's actually very manageable ... as long as you are working with the right tools and materials.

Thank you, Homer Formby!!

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