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Monday, June 27, 2022

Office Progress: Installing an Old Antique Door

How to clean, seal and add character with a chippy antique door! 

I didn't make as much progress on the office as I would have liked, but I did get the "new" office door hung, which is exciting!

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to add an old door to my home, unfortunately, there has never been a good place for one....until now.

The closet door in my office is the only original door left in the house.  It was the perfect place to have fun and add an old chippy glass antique door. 

antique chippy vintage door

I started looking on Facebook Marketplace for an old door that was mostly glass and full of character.  I then remembered I had an old door in my garage that I bought a few years ago to use in my vintage booth.  It wasn't quite the right size, but I had an idea to make it work in my office


*** I'm not a professional, but these are the steps I took to clean and seal an antique lead paint door***

- LA's Totally Awesome (or another similar cleaner) 
- 150 Grit sandpaper or sanding block


Lead paint or lead-based paint is paint that contains lead.  Lead was added to accelerate drying, increase durability, and resist moisture.


Lead paint was banned for residential use in 1978, therefore, paint used before this time most likely contained lead.  The most telling sign of lead paint is its distinctive "alligatoring" crackle and wrinkle appearance as it deteriorates. 

Lead paint test kits are also available if you prefer to test your paint for lead. 

antique door with chippy lead paint


Dangerous toxins from lead paint can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin.   Lead paint can be especially dangerous when it begins to chip or is sanded and particles are distributed through the air.  Lead exposure can cause brain, kidney, liver, and blood issues as well as learning disabilities, seizures, and death. 

Needless to say, lead paint is nothing to mess with! 

Here are the steps I took to ensure I was properly protected while I cleaned and sealed the antique lead-painted door for my office. 


To eliminate the risk of contaminating the house with lead, I took my door outside and got suited up in my respirator mask before I started scraping and sanding.  

antique chippy paint door before

cleaning lead paint door with respirator


Using a paint scraper, I lightly scraped off any loose chippy paint then went over the entire door with 150-grit sandpaper.  

***Scraping and sanding lead paint will produce hazardous particles to be released into the air.  It's essential to always wear a mask when disturbing lead paint.***


I blew off all the dust, paint chips, and debris that was left after scraping and sanding with an electric leaf blower.   This is my absolute favorite way to quickly and easily clean off furniture after sanding.  


After sanding, I thoroughly cleaned the door with my favorite cleaner.
Cleaning antique door


I applied two coats of Minwax water-based satin poly to prevent chipping and to seal and protect the door.  

Once I had the door cleaned and sealed it was time to trim it to fit the closet door jamb.  I don't have a table saw, so we took the door to my neighbor who helped trim it for us. 

Trimming down antique door

Using a table saw, we cut about a half-inch off each side of the door.  I then cut and attached the extra door pieces to the top and bottom of the door.  It was the best solution to add a little extra height while still keeping the original character of the door. 

To make installation easy, I used the hinges from the original office door to hang the new antique door, which worked out perfectly.  

chippy antique office door

chippy antique vintage door

I still need to touch up the side of the door and I'm on the hunt for an old handle, but I'm loving how the door is looking so far. 

Adding an antique office door

antique card catalog and office door

This week, I hope to finish the back wall and if I'm being honest, I like the door against the Iron Ore wall much better than the green wall.  I'm going to live with it for a few more days, but don't be surprised if I repaint everything in Iron Ore.  

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Would you like to comment?

  1. I love old doors, Katie! This one reminds me of a screen door, probably because of the handle. I thought you were going to use it as the door TO the office, brilliant using it on the closet. And I vote to keep the green!