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"Restoring black exterior door hardware"


Q. I've just cleaned the chipped gloss paint off the Victorian cast iron doorknob on my front door. It looked great for a couple of days but now there are spots of rust. I really don't want to cover it in paint again. What would the Victorians have done?

Marian Hall
- Birmingham, UK

affil. link


A. As a stopgap to keep the doorknob from rusting any more I'd go ahead and wax it, if it is cast iron it will take a bit to work it into the metal (sweat it out later on in an oven if you can think of a better sealant). I'm going to check with Bill to see if he has any other suggestions.

Marc Banks
- Elizabeth City, North Carolina


A. Well after a bit of a chat, it turns out I was right, most Victorians would have waxed the doorknob while it was still warm. Probably using beeswax =>
(you can use commercial paste wax in a pinch). Just wire brush off the rust (or 0000 steel wool [affil. link to info/product at Rockler] ) and let the piece warm in the sun. Then apply the wax.

Marc Banks
- Elizabeth City, North Carolina

May 9, 2016

Q. I have exterior door hardware that is black and approximately 5 years old. The finish is faded due to the sun. Any suggestions on how to bring it back to life and to its original rich black color?

Karen S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Johns Creek Georgia USA

May 2016

A. Hi Karen. There are a lot of things that are black, and a lot of things that are called door hardware, so it's hard to guess what the finish is. If you are talking about hinges and heavy items like that, my guess is they are painted, and should be repainted. If you're talking about the doorhandle/lockset it is probably some sort of plating and/or physical vapor deposition that you are not going to be able to duplicate yourself.

I would suggest trying a thin single-component clearcoat like Everbrite [a finishing.com supporting advertiser], or if the item is small enough you can try car wax. The idea being that sometimes such metal acquires fading due to a microscopic roughness that starts developing with wear; and getting a smooth finish on it again can restore the look. Everbrite suggests a really simple test: just wet the area with water -- if being wet reduces the fading, then a clearcoat may restore it; if being wet doesn't help, don't bother :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

May 10, 2016

thumbs up signThanks for your reply, Ted. Sorry I didn't specify what the hardware is. It's a door handle and lock set. I just tried the "wet test" and sure enough, it improved the look! So I'm off to purchase Everbrite and bring life back to my front door hardware!

Thanks so very much for your help! I really do appreciate it!

Karen S [returning]
- Johns Creek Georgia USA

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