Last Updated on July 17, 2017 by Dave Farquhar
I have three storm door handles, much like the one to the right, that were a bit worse for wear. The painted black finish had worn off over time in places, creating an uneven finish of dull black and dull gray. Replacing them would make the house look a lot better in a subtle way, but there was nothing wrong with them–they worked fine, they just looked worn out.
So I repainted them instead of replacing them and saved myself $30.
These handles are generally cast from a zinc alloy, exactly like die-cast toys are. The metal is cheap, rather durable, and doesn’t rust. The paint eventually wears off, but the alloy takes paint happily, so they’re really easy to repaint.
All you have to do is remove three screws. Then the handle comes off easily. Then drill a hole in a piece of scrap lumber large enough to accommodate the button’s push rod so the handle can lay flat. This simple jig makes painting easy.
Scrape away any loose paint with a stiff brush, then wipe the handle down with alcohol, ammonia, Simple Green, or another similar household cleaner to remove any residual oils. Primer isn’t strictly necessary but can help the top coat to stick.
Spray with a moderate coat of paint and leave it out in the sun to dry. Don’t glom on the paint because you want the button to still operate. Black paint on a sunny day when it’s over 70 degrees outside will dry in less than an hour. I have about 20 additional spray painting tips if you need them.
Take another look once it’s dry. If you think it needs another coat, spray it again. Otherwise, replace it on the door. It’s very unlikely you’ll be able to tell a difference between repainted and new. And it probably takes less than 25 cents’ worth of paint to repaint one. The whole process is very similar to spray painting patio furniture, if you’ve done that before.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.