Sometimes my good ideas come with glitches. Like the time I decided to re-use my old door jambs with my new fir doors, somehow missing the obvious problem of their being covered in multiple layers of old paint. Not only would they not match, but a few of the layers very likely contained lead*.
Mistakes Make You Get Creative Once I realized I was not going to put in the time and risk to sand away the layers, I decided on the far easier route of painting the jambs to match the fir. This is a technique an architect friend of mine, Christopher Keyser, had used quite successfully in a high-end kitchen remodel. I’ve always loved the simplicity of this solution.
The Right Color I brought a piece of my trim to Daly’s Paint, knowing that as the wood continued to age it would become even more orange. The staff at the Seattle Daly’s store are quite familiar with our 1920’s housing stock in Seattle and have solved this problem before. They recommended a low voc C2 paint: LoVo, color 117 Cognac, eggshell acrylic.
Imperfectly, Perfect I scraped the loose paint off the jambs with a putty knife, ran a layer of drywall mud over the very lumpy jamb, sanded it level as best I could (a longer sanding block helps, it can be a 8-10″ piece of 2X4), caulked the jamb to the trim, and painted. I saved some paint for the inevitable dings, but after 3 years it’s still holding up well.
Just for you, I took a close up photo so you can see how imperfect it is, and the full length photo so you’d be able to see that it doesn’t matter. This is an interior hallway with no bright daylight so the colors are muted anyway. Plus I think the brain sees what it expects to see– a jamb that matches the door, almost!
* Cautionary note! Approximately 3/4 of the homes built before 1978 had at least some lead based paint. Heavily leaded paint was used in homes built before 1950.