How to Refinish Doorknobs

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Hardware replacement on doors can get costly, especially with high-quality exterior doorknobs and deadbolts. If you don’t like the look of your door’s hardware, but it still works fine, refinishing the metal presents an easy way to upgrade them without the cost of replacement. The biggest expense involves the project's time, but it can still be done in a day or over the weekend, depending on how many doorknobs you want to refinish.

How to Refinish Doorknobs
(Jenean Hare/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Flat-head and Philips screwdriver
  • Tongue and groove pliers
  • Dropcloth or plastic tarp
  • Steel wool
  • Liquid deglosser
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rag
  • Spray primer for metal
  • Spray paint for metal
  • Clear coat spray
Step 1

Use the screwdrivers, based on the fastener heads, to remove the door hardware, including knobs, latch assemblies, deadbolts and hinges. Some doorknobs may call for the use of tongue-and-groove pliers to remove the plate behind the doorknob.

Jenean Hare/Demand Media
Step 2

Cover your work area with a dropcloth or plastic tarp. Sand the hardware with steel wool to remove the old finish and allow better adhesion of primer and paint.

Jenean Hare/Demand Media
Step 3

Put on rubber gloves. Wet a rag with liquid deglosser and rub the hardware thoroughly to remove skin oils and any leftover sanding debris. Allow the hardware to dry.

Jenean Hare/Demand Media
Step 4

Spray a thin, even coat of primer over all hardware pieces, holding the can about 12 to 16 inches away from the hardware. Allow the first side to dry for 10 to 15 minutes. After that, turn the pieces over and spray the other side. Allow the primer to dry, between 30 minutes to an hour, based on weather conditions.

Jenean Hare/Demand Media
Step 5

Spray a thin, even coat of paint over all hardware pieces. Allow the paint to dry between each coat, typically around 20 minutes depending on the humidity and weather. Apply up to three thin and even coats, holding the spray can about 12 to 16 inches away from the hardware. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly before sealing.

Jenean Hare/Demand Media
Step 6

Seal the new finish on your door hardware by spraying a light, but even coat of clear-coat sealer on the hardware. Allow the clear coat to dry and cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which may take up to 24 hours. Reinstall the door hardware.

Jenean Hare/Demand Media

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