Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Refurbishing Hardware

**** UPDATE to this post can be found HERE.

It finally happened. After 6+ years of living in this house with brass hardware everywhere … and cheap white plastic light plates and outlet covers … I decided to take the time to take off every single door handle, lock plate, dead bolt, outlet cover, switch plate, etc. and used Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint to give everything a face lift … for pennies. That’s what I call MAKING CENTS!

So, here is everything before:

oil rubbed bronze hardware6

Builder’s grade brass …

oil rubbed bronze hardware7

… and cheap white plastic covers on everything.

oil rubbed bronze hardware5

Superman set up the garage, covered everything of value with tarps, and went to work.

oil rubbed bronze hardware1

He had everything down to a science. He stuck all the screws through a shoe box lid so that the tops of every screw got painted as well.

oil rubbed bronze hardware2

But, he wasn’t about to stick bright white safety covers into those outlets … so he rigged up a few more box tops and painted all of the safety covers to the outlets to match. Here is the result:

oil rubbed bronze hardware4

Uncovered, I think they look great (sorry about the blurriness) …

oil rubbed bronze hardware3

Slap the painted safety covers on and they blend in well and look so sharp on the wall.

spray paint oil rubbed bronze hardware8

I am not going to lie to you … this project was intensely time consuming. Plan on about 2 full days of work. It takes lots of time to get every piece of hardware off of every door and wall … and then a couple hours to get everything painted evenly without drips.

spray paint oil rubbed bronze hardware9

Speaking of drips … see how the handles are lined up across the 2x4 in that picture? Yeah. Don’t do that. Drip. City. Instead, paint them while they are upright (as shown in the picture just above that one). Much better result … way less frustrating. (ps- Check out the mismatched frames hanging up … they all got a coat of paint to match. However, again, I would lay them flat/horizontal, not vertical. Way less dripping that way)

spray paint oil rubbed bronze hardware10

This is the hardware on the front door (please ignore the dirty paint … we’ll get there eventually). It was so weathered and worn out. It used to be brass. But, by the time we painted it (and made it look amazing again) it was looking really worn out. I had priced out hardware to replace it: $180 on the low end. Um. No thanks. How about 50 cents worth of spray paint instead? :D

spray paint oil rubbed bronze hardware11

The inside of the front door. Light plate, handle, deadbolts … all painted to match.
Don’t they look so sharp?!

In all, we replaced 29 door handles and probably 100 outlet covers and switch plates. Total cost? About $15 worth of spray paint. Total savings? About $1,000. Win.

Here’s the side by side, one last time:

oil rubbed bronze spray pain hardware deadbolt before after

And yes, everything is holding up GREAT!

oil rubbed bronze spray paint hardware doorknobs before and after


  1. I love this idea. Has the paint held up?? Will that particular spray paint chip off in due time?? Thanks

  2. The paint has totally held up. There is only one place that has chipped and I don't even care. I know you are wondering where ...

    Look at your door. You know the little metal plate that the door rubs past when it latches closed? Yeah. That has chipped just a little bit, right on the spot that gets rubbed everyday. But, that isn't hardly visible at all, unless the door is open. The handles, lockes, etc. are all still in 100% perfect condition. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

    I can't speak for any other paint, but Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze is incredible stuff and very durable. Our shower is still in perfect condition 7 months later, after having constant water all over it.

    Good luck! You won't regret it!!

  3. How do you keep all the moving parts (knobs) swinging lock etc still able to move without being all stuck together from the paint?

  4. No real explanation to that one. We just spray painted everything and it all worked perfect once it was dry. We had to run a key in and out of the front door lock a couple times, but other than that, everything turns and functions 100% after being sprayed, eventhough we didn't do anything special to them before spraying them. I think because it isn't a gummy, sticky paint. It's a hard as nails enamel that dries hard as a rock. Maybe? I don't know.

  5. First, I am so impressed and hope to follow your wonderful ideas in my big brass house. However, did you lightly sand the door hardware(hope I did not miss this somewhere)? Enjoy your blog and thanks for posting your progress.

  6. The only thing we did to prep the door handles and all the hardware was clean it. Wipe everything down really well to make sure there isn't anything sticky (if you know what I mean) on the metal before spraying it. No need to sand anything here.

  7. I love, love, love your Rustoleum ideas! Do you think I could just tape off the shower instead of taking it apart? Next, could you figure out how I can "re-do" the ugly white blinds everywhere? haha

  8. How did you not manage to scratch the door knobs after you re installed them?! I've been spray painting mine but then they get all scratched up when we put them back on. =( The drill and or screwdriver messes them all up!

  9. Oh man, that is not cool!

    I don't know ... how long are you waiting before re-installing them? We waited a full 24 hours before re-installing everything. But, maybe you did too. ?? We also did not use the drill when we put them back together. We just used a hand screwdriver and we were pretty careful.

    I'm so sorry that is happening to you. HOW FRUSTRATING!

    Oh. Wait, did you wipe them all down to make sure there wasn't any grime on them? I don't know. I just don't know. But, I'm sorry. Real sorry. :(

  10. Melanie,

    So sorry. Never saw your comment until now. Someone else asked the same question once. And ... I don't really know the answer. You would have to make sure that you stripped down every inch of silicone caulking. And, you'd have to still sand the metal pieces and wipe them off really good. I'm sure it can be done ... just can't really give you a big fat thumbs up because that isn't how we did it.

    Good luck! :D

  11. Jessica, Gary said to put some tape around the screwdriver to make it a smooth surface that won't chip the paint when it rubs/touches the doorknobs. Probably too late for that info now ... but, that would definitely help.

  12. so it's been 6 months. how's it holding up now? i want to try it too.

  13. It's holding up great! No regrets. A couple of the higher traffic/used knobs needed touching up. But nothing major. Just make sure to lean everything really good (I recommend using xylene to clean them). Then spray them. And let them sit for at least 48 hrs. When you reinstall things, use a manual screwdriver and wrap the metal shaft in tape so that the metal doesn't clank against the knobs. Good luck!!

  14. And. It's been a year! Can't believe it! We did all the hardware during thanksgiving break last year.

  15. How did you leave the hardware off for so long? My husband doesnt like the idea of leaving the front door without a lock for 2 days.

    1. Lol!!!!! That's understandable!

      We painted the front and back door locks early in the morning and then put them back on late at night before we went to bed. But, we were working all day in the garage at the time. We didn't think much about it because we were in and out all day working. Once you put the hardware back on the front and back doors, try to use them as little as possible. For a day or do.

  16. What did u do about hinges?

  17. What did you put the shower pieces in to soak them?