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Nancy Murray, Realtor®
with Keller Williams Clients' Choice
Direct: 719-964-4810
Office: 719-357-6320
Fax: 866-748-9878
Email Nancy

Updating Brass Fixtures to Oil Brushed Bronze the Affordable Way

Posted By Nancy Murray @ Sep 17th 2015 11:10am In: Remodeling

Updating Brass Fixtures to Oil Brushed Bronze the Affordable Way

Brass doorknobsOur house was built in 1999 and we are the second owners, purchasing the home in 2002.  The home was a builder spec, so over the past 13 years we have completed many projects to give the home more of a custom feel. We installed a large stamped patio in 2004. We updated the kitchen in 2007 with concrete counters and a beautiful travertine backsplash with a 6 inch row of decorative tile. Replaced all the brass light fixtures and ceiling fans in 2008 with oil brushed bronze fixtures. And last year we updated our master bath replacing the builder’s standard white tile counters with travertine tile, solid surface counter and shower bench, and accenting with the same smaller tile as the kitchen.  The home is just beautiful with one exception - the brass doorknobs. 

As a real estate agent, I understand the importance of first impressions and the brass doorknobs in any home shouts “needs updating”, just like ceramic tile counter tops.

Several months ago, I researched how to paint the brass fixtures, but put it on hold because I was looking for an easy way to do it, plus the article wasn’t specific on the type of paint or the process.  So, naturally I was a bit skeptical that it would work and if it would look professional.

 One Saturday morning, I saw a posting on Pinterest that pointed me to an article about spray-painting different items in the home to update them. I don’t usually do things on the spur of the moment, especially major home improvement projects, but this article made it sound easy and in the comments section, more details were provided to include the specifics on the type of paint to use. So, I mentioned it to my husband and he was all for it, I think the brass was wearing on him too.

 I decided to write this article detailing the steps for others, so you won’t have to guess and can learn from our mistakes.

 For planning purposes:

 -       We had 20 doors and it took us 2 ½ days.  The ½ day was doing touchups and spray-painting items in place.

-       We used 3 full cans of Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint and Primer in one with color Oil Rubbed Bronze.

Rustoleum Oil Brushed Bronze

-       An electric screwdriver is a must!  Preferably with a backup battery.

-       We did not remove the larger front door or the door to the garage, because it has spring style hinges that are difficult to install. So I used the ½ day to paint these hinges, the deadbolt lock on the front door, and the half bath sink fixtures.

-       I recommend doing one floor at a time. We started by doing a door at a time, but after the first day, decided it was too much work and felt like we were rushing the drying process for the hinges.

-       As you remove the doors and hinges, mark the hinges with a permanent marker in an area that will not be sprayed (side that is against the door or frame away from the actual hinge). We used a code such as “hb,d,m” which stands for “half bath, door, middle”. This allowed us to put the hinge in the same spot, so it lined up with the matching hinge.  I realize all the hinges should be the same, but we wanted to make it easier in case one or more of the hinges weren’t exactly the same or didn’t line up properly with the other side.

-       Other codes we used were “f” for frame, “t” for top, and “b” for bottom.

-       Doorknobs were also removed and labeled with a one or two letters to represent the room, such as “mc” for master closet and “o” for office. This room code corresponded with the code on the hinges.

-       For the garage doorknob that requires a key to unlock, we covered the keyhole to prevent paint from getting in the lock assembly, then on the ½ day, I used a paint brush to touch up the key hole.

Updating brass fixtures-       We set up a spraying station in the garage on two banquet tables that were heavily covered with newspaper. The day was calm and comfortable, so we were able to work with the garage door open.

-       Holes were cut out of boxes from bottled beer, so the knobs could sit upright when spray painting.Updating brass door knobs

-       Holes were punched in another box for all the screws. If you have different screws for the different parts of the door or different doors, you might want to use different boxes.  You only need to paint the screw heads. We didn’t worry about keeping the screws with the hinges or doorknobs because they were the same.

-       Hinges were sprayed on the newspaper, but the paper often stuck. My recommendation is to figure out a way to allow them to dry upright or move them to wax paper to dry.

-       Both sides of the hinges were sprayed, but on the side that faced the door frame or the door, only the half that showed was sprayed so we didn’t spray over the codes. You might want to cover the door codes with scotch tape so they aren’t accidentally covered when painted.

-       Cabinet doorknobs were propped up by using a nail in the box through the screw hole on the knob so they could be sprayed on all sides without touching.

-       Two coats of paint were sprayed on the doorknobs and the bathroom cabinet knobs.

-       Doorknobs were allowed to dry for 18-24 hours. They were dry to the touch after only 1-2 hours and were moved off the boxes and propped between two 4x4’s to dry while other knobs were spray painted on the boxes.

Spray painting brass door knobs-       To spray paint the hinges, deadbolt, and half-bath sink in place, make sure to cover the area with plenty of newspaper to include the floor and the crack in the back of the hinge. I have a pile of scrape paper that I’ve collected from over printing flyers and MLS printouts, so I used this paper because it is heavier and didn’t bleed through. Use an extra sheet of scrap paper in your non-spray hand to help cover and prevent over spraying.

-       After putting the knobs back on the doors, make sure to test any locks that require a key. I discovered that when messing with the knobs, it can throw off the alignment and might be difficult to get the key into the keyhole to unlock the door (spoken from experience after getting locked out of the house).

-       To touch up with a small hobby brush, spray into a small disposable plastic container outside. Work quickly because the paint will dry quickly. Use the brush to touch up missed spots and keyholes.

-       I estimate that we saved about $750 by using this method instead of purchasing oil brushed doorknobs and hinges. This estimate does not include the updating of the front door fixtures - probably another $200.

-       Two weeks later the knobs and hinges still look good.  The latch plates have scratched for doors that are closed frequently, so we have replaced these with actual oil brushed bronze latch plates at a small cost.

Updating brass door knobs to oil brushed bronzeUpdating brass door knobs to oil brushed bronze


I hope you find this information helpful and good luck!    

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