Most epically horrendous DIY disaster to date

Have you ever done something so incredibly stupid that you have to sit back and laugh or else you might just crawl into a corner and cry?

Last week I made the biggest Do-It-Yourself blunder of my life. It was so horrible and such a huge mess that I’m going to say it was epic. Epically horrendous. And I don’t use the word “epic” lightly.

I decided after painting my mantle black that it would be awesomespice if all the doors in my house were also black. I have a thing for black doors. Love them! I started by painting the back door black.

I loved it so much I tore through my house like a crazy lady painting every door in sight black. I was seriously digging this look. I know black doors can be quite polarizing, so if you hate them, I have good news for ya. Just read on.

I had just finished the 10th door (TENTH! Front AND back, so basically twenty sides) before I was awakened to my complete and utter stupidity. Are you dying to know how these pretty black doors could possibly be a bad thing?

The paint started peeling off.

And not just a little. It literally was peeling off in sheets.

At this point reality set in. I had just painted TEN doors. We are talking twenty sides of doors. Twenty sides that were now a peeling disaster.

What the? But why? How on earth could this happen? I have painted so many baseboards in this house with no issue. I have painted trim and sills and door moulding with no issue. Why now?

All I can figure is that the builder sprayed all the trim and baseboards with a latex paint but must have painted all the doors at the factory before installation using an oil-based paint.

Latex (water-based) paint will not stick to oil-based paint. Of course, I stupidly made the assumption that the doors were latex based on the fact that all the other trim in the house so far has been latex.

So, the question of the hour is, “How can you tell if your trim and doors are painted in oil-based or latex?”

I did a bunch of googling and the consensus for testing oil vs. latex is this:

Apply a small amount of denatured alcohol to a cotton ball. Rub the coton ball onto the painted surface. If the surface is latex, the paint will rub off onto the cotton ball. If it is oil-based, no paint will come off. Touch the area. If it feels tacky, the paint is latex and not oil-based. (Source)

So I started peeling. And peeling. And peeling some more. And then I ran into even more issues. Some of the paint didn’t want to peel off. It liked where it was and it wasn’t going to budge.

So now I’m sitting here with 10 doors that are half-peeled and half stuck with paint that won’t budge. I felt like I was staring at cow prints.

I have doors that are mainly white with specks and streaks of black that won’t budge. How on earth am I going to deal with this?

Some doors peeled much easier than others. I had two doors that were downright stubborn.

After a few choice words and lots of time pondering, I grabbed this Steel Safety Glass Scraper.

Worked great. I went through dozens of blades, but it scraped most of the paint off the door and got the job done much better than my finger nail was.

This door was exceptionally difficult. I got as much paint off as would allow, and then just left the rest.

I told Ben that these doors look like they belong in a house where someone was murdered. So creepy looking. Yikes.

Once the doors were scraped and prepped it was time to paint them again, this time the right way.

Fortunately I am a member of the True Value DIY Blog Squad and am extremely grateful to True Value Hardware for providing all the materials needed to fix these doors. They seriously saved my rear over this fiasco.

I headed over to my local True Value Hardware and picked up my supplies.

After browsing and searching for just what I needed, I grabbed a can of primer and a can of paint, as well as a few other things.

Here’s what I ended up getting for this massive door project:

A can of Kilz oil-based primer, a can of True Value brand latex paint in Semi-Gloss color matched to Sherwin Williams color “Alabaster” (the same white as the rest of my trim), a few small plastic paint trays, a few cheap paint brushes, a foam roller and a few extra rollers, and a wire brush (I ended up not using the brush).

If you want to paint latex over oil-based paint you have to prime your surface first with oil-based primer. I made sure the back of the Kilz primer specifically said I can paint over this primer with latex paint.

I bought all of the brushes and containers because painting with anything oil-based is gross. The stuff smells awful, sticks to your skin, and requires mineral spirits to clean it up. I don’t do oil-based clean-up. Not going to happen. I buy cheap supplies and toss it all in the trash when I’m done with it.

The only oil-based paint I like or will willingly use comes in an aerosol can.

Because working with oil-based primer is so yucky I put plastic down everywhere just to be extra safe.

I worked on the 10 doors for 3 solid days (minus a few breaks for lunch, snacks, and unwinding to Parks and Recreation on netflix.)

Once all the paint was scraped off, I primed each door twice. I used the cheap brush to prime the indents in each door and the little foam roller to prime all the flat surfaces of the door.

After the primer sat for at least 30 minutes (per the instructions on the can) I used my good angled Purdy brush and a 4″ foam roller to paint the latex paint. I generally did two coats of the latex as well.

I ended up going back to white again even though I really enjoyed the black doors. I guess after more than a week of dealing with peeling paint, stinky primer, and flecks of black paint that are stuck to my tile, I’m kinda over it.

Also, I’m probably not going to end up giving each door in this house a fresh coat of paint, so if I went back to white I could leave the rest of the doors in the house alone. If I painted these doors all black again I’d be signing myself up for priming and painting every single door in this house; all 25 of them. No thanks.

If I had painted only one door I would have rolled my eyes and laughed at myself. Cleaning up 10 doors was like running a marathon. At times I didn’t think I’d be able to finish it.

But I did. In fact, I finished the last two doors this afternoon.

So, bottom line. If you are planning on painting any doors or trim, rub them with a cotton ball soaked in denatured alcohol. You’ll be glad you did your homework beforehand.

And here are a few side-by-side before and afters of the black to white doors.

So, tell me, do you like black doors?

Also, have you ever done a DIY project that turned out so epically awful? Please tell me I’m not the only DIY idiot out there!

*A special thanks to True Value Hardware for literally saving my rear. I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.*

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. I still really like the black doors. I think it gives a certain class to a home. I am too afraid to do black in my own home though. My house has mostly neutrals browns, greens, etc. Do you think chocolate brown doors would have the same effect???

    • I think if it was a dark enough chocolate brown it would look fabulous!

    • I do have chocolate brown doors (came with the house) and I love the way they look!

    • Kelly, I have alot of browns in my home and all my interior doors are black, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE it! Wouldn’t go back to white doors again.

    • O I think Chocolate brown would look great, black would be amazing as well. I love color trim and doors its bold and brings impact to any room

    • Diane F. Strain says:

      If BONDING PAINT was used first (it’s used to paint OVER stained surfaces, as well), there wouldn’t have been a problem. I’ve used it over stained, polyurethaned French doors to my deck, interior doors. Would have saved so much trouble. I liked the way the doors looked black. Still, it’s a nice home, and still looks lovely w/the white doors!

  2. I love the black!! They have so much impact . I might have to snag your idea. πŸ˜‰

    I have botched more things than I care to list. I have had cabinets peel, a school bus yellow bedroom wall, linoleum tile that shifted and caused a sticky mess, you name it and I have delt with it. The good part of that is I learned each time I doofed and now I can do those same things properly. They were all “learning experiences”. πŸ˜‰

  3. I liked the black- but I get why you went white. I might have cried- and I don’t really cry. I’ve had some pretty good disasters, but wow I can’t beat this! lol I’m glad they look good now! Rachel

    • I really loved the black. I just don’t want to deal with 25 doors, so I went back to white. Maybe some day I’ll want to try again, but for now the thought of painting these doors again makes me cry!

  4. Oh, yikes! What a mess! But you did a fantastic job fixing it all up!

    I have to say, though, I LOVE the black doors! I have a general rule of thumb – anything that is going to get constant human contact that I’m going to paint gets primed. LOL For example, walls that don’t need primer to cover one of my color experiments don’t get primed. Doors do (I painted our downstairs family room doors black to pop on my red walls).

    But when I painted our kitchen army green (gee, as I’m reading this, you must think I’m a color-lunatic, but it really does look awesome LOL), the paint I bought peeled off the walls in places! So, I’m a little familar with your disaster, but nothing on your scale!

    Kristy @ Shona Skye Creations

    • That is a good rule of thumb – one that I am probably adopting right now. I can honestly say though that I will never paint latex over oil ever again. I definitely learned my lesson the hard way.

  5. Oh, Allison, that makes me want to cry FOR you!! This is totally something I would do. I’m so sorry you went through all of that, but thanks for giving us all the heads up on what to do before we get into a project like that ourselves. I am painting my front door soon and will be heeding your advice!

  6. I just discovered your blog, and it’s great! We renovated our builder grade house *almost* to the point of being satisfied… and then we moved five weeks ago. So I’m in the trenches right now myself. This peeling doors post makes you a kindred spirit, I think! I am currently doing research on a paint by Benjamin Moore called ADVANCE that is supposedly an alkyd (oil) based paint that cleans up with soap and water. It’s supposed to level well and be durable. I want to refinish/paint my kitchen cabinets with it. But I digress…

    Thanks for having such an interesting blog to keep me up WAY too late here in ATX!

    • I’m in ATX too!! Maybe we’ll bump into each other some time. How awesome would that be?!

      I haven’t heard of the Advance paint. I will definitely look into it. Thanks for the heads up.

    • Jodi and Allison,

      I just painted my daughters “trashe to treasured” craigslist find bed in the ADVANCE paint. I had gone into a Benjamin Moore carrier in RR and asked for a different paint that I had read about using on furniture. The sales guy suggested ADVANCE because of it will harden up like oil enamel and cleans up like latex. After painting her bed and desk, it does clean up well but it takes a very long time to “cure” and stop smelling. It’s been 2 weeks now and her desk has almost stopped stinking. I didn’t put polyurethane over the desktop and now there are homework marks it. After I get those cleaned off, I’m going to try a wax finish on it.

      • Wow, good to know. Thanks for the tips about Advance.

        • Audrey Fischbein says:

          I’m an interior painter and have done many black doors as well as Brown doors – bent color is – French Press from Ben Moore ! also I only use Ben Morre Products πŸ™‚

          Advance product from Ben. Moore is the best!

  7. I just painted all my doors black! πŸ™‚ We used Zinsser primer (oil based) first though. I use it on so many things! I actually use oil base paint for my kitchen cabinets too! I like it so much better than latex.

    I am sorry you had this happen. πŸ™ I would have freaked out. Like bad.

    Your house is still beautiful. πŸ™‚


  8. Holy cajoles, that must have been a nightmare! I botch a lot of projects, but this one might have done me in, especially with the oil based paint. That stuff is horrid, if I have to use it I toss my supplies too. Good job powering through and sorry you didn’t get your black doors!

  9. You poor thing, yep I’ve had my share of crappy results. But at least you know now. You could have left it a week and said it was Halloween decor.

  10. Hello! I am new to your blog and to the blogging world. Wow! I completely feel for you. I think I would have had some colorful words and put myself in a time out. I would have been a complete mess! I can only imagine how exhausted physically and mentally you must be. πŸ™

    In any event, I love the black and the white versions. Applause to all your hard work. πŸ™‚

  11. You get a big “poor baby” on that one girl! No Fun :((( They look really pretty now. They better right?
    We had hunter green trim on everything in this house when we bought it and nothing would stick to it. I finally had to spray prime it with a shellac based primer and then I could prime and paint it. The spray was enough to seal it. Otherwise, the green dragged into anything I tried to paint it with using a brush.

  12. Oh man, that’s terrible!!! Um…so this has me wondering if the door I just painted black is going to stay that way. *yikes*!!!

  13. I like the white best. I am impressed you fixed everything so quickly and your house is back to normal! And Parks and Rec is a great way to unwind.

  14. omg I would have cried too, but they look so nice and fresh now, but I did like the black, that was a great look

  15. YIKES. What a horrible experience – every DIYer’s worst nightmare! You really did a great job to get everything back to normal though, but I’m sorry that this all happened! I guess you have to chalk this up to a learning experience, right? It’s not a mistake you’ll make again. πŸ˜‰

  16. I love the back door in black. I think I still prefer interior doors to be white though. I think I would’ve just sat on the couch crying if that happened to me, great job powering through and getting it all sorted out.

  17. I love black doors. It’s on the ever growing “to do ” list. We’ve DIY’ed three houses. So yes, we’ve had nightmares. In our house now we’ve got no less than five major projects going on… Painting the kitchen cabs right now and even though I used ‘fancy’ primer, I’ve got a few peelers. When we installed our countertops we cracked one… Our kitchen tile- hubs wanted to use premade thin set on 18″ tiles… So they started popping up in the centers. We’ve busted a bunch out, super fun. But left the others sk a few ‘pop’ when you walk on them. I hate the tile now so we just deal with it until we can get rid if it. But the biggie. We ripped out our shower stall on a whim. Knocked into the master closet to make a huge shower with bench. Beautiful slate. It’s three. Years. Going. We can’t find a shower door that isn’t brass that will fit- we need custom. Didn’t think of that. So weve been using a clear plastic shower curtain.We’ve had to regrout, recaulk about 10 times. Hubs convinced himself there was water behind the tile and was about to rip out the walls…

    • Candice, wow you have had some serious issues! I’m glad you are getting them all sorted out though.

    • i know this is like a year later…but just thought I would let you know…yes slate is beautiful!! But it is also a natural stone and porus!…you must seal slate (especially in a shower) every 6 months! Poor hubby…water was getting behind the tile….it was seeping thru it if you guys never sealed it. You can buy the sealant for this tile at any Lowe’s or Home Depot in the tile section.

  18. OMG!! That’s horrifying! I think I would have a panic attack if that happened to me! Good job thinking on your feet and attacking the problem as fast as you did! Kudos for your hard work and turning it around like you did! I love your blog! Thank you for sharing your stories and projects!

    ~Cathy Mini~

  19. What a nightmare. I have actually had this happen to me (with only one door). But I don’t think the root cause was the same. I think mine peeled b/c the paint was very old. Anyway, I just painted all the doors in my downstairs hallway black and I love them! πŸ™‚

  20. I am amazed that you had the energy to finish all of the doors! I would have sat in a sad puddle on the floor and left it for weeks, cussing every time I caught a glimpse of the peeling black paint.

    In fact, I painted my foyer in the spring, and left the very top “cutting-in” section undone because I needed more paint. True to my nature as a master procrastinator, I waited weeks, maybe months to paint that final section on top. Because, you know, other (more fun) projects present themselves every day! When I finally forced myself to finish the job, I realized the second batch of paint was not exactly the same color. So now I cuss every time I look at the foyer and I’m getting close to biting the bullet and repainting the whole dang thing. So hooray to you for fixing your mistake completely! (and sharing the whole experience with us)

    • Oh I hate that! I recently had to get some touch up paint but my brand was discontinued so I had it color matched. It’s the same color but the sheen is slightly different and it makes me cringe. Ugh.

  21. Oh. My. Goodness!!!! That is unbelievable. I kind of had the same thing happen on our porch railings- but I didn’t know that was the reason… I haven’t painted it again b/c it was so tedious and annoying- but now if I know to get that primer, maybe I will… the neighbors would probably like it!! I liked both looks- but I probably would have gone backto white too if I was in your shoes! Craziness!!!

  22. OH MY GOODNESS!! I just can’t believe the fiasco you had. I am so sorry ! That is never what we have time for in life is it? Well you can now say that all your doors have a fresh coat of paint and they look great! All my doors need a paint update so thank you for the tip! I will say you persevered in this project! Hoping your next DIY goes super smooth!

    • My entire house got backed up for more than a week. Dishes piled on the counters. Baskets and baskets of overflowing dirty laundry. Dirt all over the floors. Whenever I tackle a big project it sets me back in my “housewife” areas for weeks.

  23. Oh no, that was too bad! I liked the look of the black doors against the grey walls (not so much with the yellow walls, though). You could have left the paint left-overs, that would have been a great Halloween look! (Always trying to see the silver lining here *g*).

  24. Great post – I think these stories really help those of us who are afraid of mistakes get over our fear. Also, I thought exactly the same thing about the Halloween decor – you could have slapped a set of creepy eyes on that one half-peeled door.

  25. Oh girl…bless your heart! I’m impressed you were able to make this post sound so positive. I’m afraid you would have heard the whining in my voice if I had to write it. ha! Thanks for saving the rest of us.

  26. Wow…I felt your pain reading your blog. That was a lot of work to paint then have to re-do the job, I would have been in tears. Thank you for sharing your experience, so those of us who would like to tackle a paint job will not make the same mistake. I did love the black doors, a very classy look. I painted our house and garden shed doors black and loved the look. BTW…love your emails…THANK YOU!

  27. Oh man! You poor thing! I would be a nut case after that fiasco. You know cussing, throwing things, etc!! I have to say though, that the black doors were gorgeous! I learned a long time ago about the merits of a primer called “Gripper”. The names says it all. It’s a water base primer so no stinkiness. It’s put out by Glidden. Thanks for warning the rest of us!

  28. OMGosh….I’m so sorry you had to go through that….I might have kicked the doors down if I had to go through what you did!

    I like the darker door but not necessarily black….maybe a dark grey?

  29. Oh my!! I would have been in the corner crying…
    Plenty of botched crafty adventures and DIY catastrophies. So many that I can’t figure out which are the worst. I do love the black doors though.

  30. FYI… Ben Moore ADVANCE paint is a dream!!! I’ve got oodles of dark stained wood trim & doors that I’m priming (with a nice bonding primer called Stix, so no sanding!) and covering with ADVANCE in classic White Dove . Husband detests brush strokes, so I figured I’d trust the Petersiks and give ADVANCE a try. (John & Sherry used it when they painted their kitchen cabs.) It’s A FABULOUS product!

  31. I LOVED the black doors! I can understand your reasoning for going back to white. What a disaster! I would have cried and cried. I think I have a few layers of oil-latex on some of the trim in my house. I have one section that will peel pretty nicely, but I haven’t really wanted to explore it further. Painting trim sucks.

    I want to paint the interior or our exterior doors a kelly green. My husband thinks I am a nut job. I said, “I am an artist! If painting three doors kelly green will bring me a bit of happiness, don’t you think I should do it?!?!” He gave me his “you are a nut job” look and didn’t answer, so I guess that’s his blessing, no? My friend did this in her house, and it is just such a nice shot of color and fun.

  32. Bless your little heart. I would have cried, cussed and headed for the Patron!
    You are simply a SAINT!

  33. Had a similar experience when I painted the paneling in my basement. I primed with “sticks to anything” primer, painted two coats with a primer/ paint latex. Looked good. Then it started to peel in big latex sheets, like yours. Of course, there were the stubborn spots that had to be scraped off. I had to “unpaint” the whole basement before starting over. I do love the black doors, but don’t have the courage…

  34. I love the white doors, just a nice clean crisp elegant look. Glad you got it all worked out. Had you painted them all read, would have been great to leave up til after Halloween, one of those doors looked like it belonged in a horror movie.

  35. OMG…you are a trooper…I KNOW I would have curled up in the fetal position and cried!

  36. I’d have probably left the peeling black paint til after Halloween and say I did it purposefully and that I’m uber-committed to my Halloween decor… then cackle…

    then go in the bathroom and cry.

    I definitely get scrapping the black after all of that though.

  37. Wow! I probably would have bawled like a baby after all of that. haha

    To be honest though, I like the white much better. Except for the back door, it looks great black. Maybe you could just do a few black touches here in and there if you still wanted to go that way.

    I just seen that tip on HGTV the other day and was just thinking how simple and handy that tip was. πŸ˜‰


  38. Good for you for sticking it out and doing things the right way. Thanks for sharing your tips. I’ve pinned it in case I ever need this useful information. I certainly want to learn from your mistake rather than repeat it.
    Thanks so much!

    • I do miss the back door being black. I may end up painting just that one door black again but leave all the rest white. I also painted my front door black but it wasn’t an epic fail. I’ll blog about it really soon. It looks so great black.

  39. Oh. mylanta. Allison!! What a disaster — I can’t even imagine dealing with that! They looked amazing black, but are also beautiful white! So glad it’s all over for you, and thank you for sharing that tip to maybe save some of our tushies!

    ~ Mara

  40. Yikes! I have been wanting to paint my doors black for a while! I love the way they look! My front door is currently the only painted door in my house (the others are just plain brown wood), so I will definitely check to see if it’s painted in oil or latex. Thanks for sharing how to do it!

  41. What is the color of the paint that is on the walls, that has a yellowish color to it?

  42. We just moved into a house – and the previous owners made this mistake. And we’re the ones paying for it. Every door in our house is peeling – even our front door. It’s awful. My question, how did you deal with the paint that was still on the doors that wouldn’t come off? Did the primer and paint cover it or can you see lines from where the old paint was still on there? Did you have to sand it off?

    • I peeled all that would come off then painted right over the rest. It covered it really well. You may want to sand the edges if you can see any. Or prime one coat, and if you see edges just sand those down. I lost patience and didn’t sand anything and it looks fine.

  43. Oh, wow, what a pain in the rear! I really like black doors, but I think I would get tired of them if all the doors in my house were black. Black exterior doors are my fave so definitely paint your back door black again! Our front door and the door that leads into our house from the garage are both black and I love them!

  44. Yikes! Live and learn, eh?

    I have to say though-I love love love the black πŸ™‚

    Maybe you could just redo the back door?
    That looked awesome with the glass door- a great picture frame for the outdoors.

  45. Wow- I feel for you! I had that happen to me when I repainted my front door to my previous house, but the paint just misbehaved while I was painting instead of abandoning ship like yours did.

    I love the black, but I totally understand why you might be a little sick of it and want to go back to white!

  46. Oh, what an awful (awful) lot of work! I love the black doors. You could have left them all a peeling mess until after Halloween, they were pretty creepy looking! I love your posts. Thanks for sharing all you do!

  47. Wow, what a mess! I think I would have grabbed my car keys, taken a right turn out of my driveway, and just kept going!! Good for you for pushing through.

    I like to tackle a lot of DIY projects in my home, so I`ve gone through a few “oopsies” in my time. Back in the sponge painting craze, I sponge painted the walls in my rec room in the basement with a combination of very bright fuschia and very bright blue, so essentially I had alternating spotches of pink and blue all over my walls … it was a psychadellic mess!! Live and learn …

  48. Yikes…what a disaster! I must say that I do like the look of the black…especially on the french door leading outside. Perhaps, after some time and when you finally clean all the paint from under your fingernails, you could paint that door black again. On the up side…all of your white doors are nice and clean and brand new looking! πŸ™‚

  49. This reminds me of the time I was installing trellis over the top of my fence and spent the weekend cutting over 24 posts 4 inches too short. I had to either cut all the trellis panels – too finicky – or start over. Why didn’t I double check my measurements? Then for several years I held on to the posts thinking I could turn them into raised beds or stairs or something, but it never happened…they were stacked in the garage as a constant reminder..

  50. I feel your pain. The family we purchased our home from painted the entire house with latex primer over oil based paint used by the first owners. Luckily only the bathroom is peeling for now! I’ve been scraping the walls of their second latex color and am about to start sanding the first.

  51. Oh Allison!! I was so not even laughing…I have had some disasters of my own..Girl I think I would have cried after this one thought….I remember one time putting a cabinet together and trying to be the hee-woman I think I am…I tried to move it and it fell over and busted into a million pieces…I can laugh now but I wasn’t then!! You’re house looks great once again πŸ™‚

    • Oh man that’s terrible! I did that with a bookshelf once. It just totally feel and crumpled. I just kept on dragging it – straight to the garbage can.

  52. Oh noooo!! I am totally feeling your pain after ALL THAT WORK. Halfway through reading this post I was thinking that maybe you could start a new trend – chippy (peelie) painted doors? Yes? I’d buy it. πŸ™‚

  53. Oh my… that is a ton of work. I’m so sorry you had to learn this way. I would have done the same as you and gone back to White. Thanks for passing on the lesson!

  54. Oh wow. I would have cried like the little baby I am! Kudos to you. Wow. I appreciate the cotton ball tip. Honestly sometimes I forget Oil based paint exists.

  55. That really does suck – painting doors is hard work we have just done all our interior doors black and I LOVE the look it gives with my newly painted grey walls!

  56. I love them in black….But I understand………..Thanks for the information on testing paint. Dee

  57. Oh my gosh! You are amazing for sticking it out and repainting them all. I do like the back door in black, but can see why you’re not into that anymore!

    Thanks for the tip on testing paint, like you, I wouldn’t have done that first either!

  58. {{hugs}} to you!! This would have happened to me if I decided to paint my doors–I just know it! The black is so beautiful and elegant. You should have at least kept the back door black.

  59. WOWZERS! You have lots of patience! I like the black doors, but they def don’t go in my house! I’m currently working on a DIY art project that I’m starting on for the 3rd time…

  60. OMG! I would have a complete melt down if this happened to me after painting 10 doors!! I really do like the black doors, I wish you would have found out sooner about the paint πŸ™ Thanks for sharing your story, I’ve done plenty of things like this – we’re just human and DIY is about trial & error?!!!?

  61. Oh no! And they looked so good black! I’m so sorry that happened, I would have just had a meltdown and cried!

  62. That’s really weird, but you have fixed it amazingly. Bad experience always gives you a good
    lesson at the end. πŸ™‚

    Nicely done, keep it up.

  63. OMG! You get 10000 points for patience and recovery on that one. I must say, though, I love the black doors. So much so that I plan on painting my front door black. Thanks for a the wonderful and helpful tips.

  64. OH, I laughed/cried with you as I read this! What a nightmare! I painted all of my hallway interior doors black over the summer, and I absolutely love them! All of the doors inside the bedrooms are still white, but that doesn’t really bother me. Thankfully no peeling problems. At least you got nice fresh doors!

  65. I’m soooo sorry you had to go through this, but I’m sooo grateful, too! We just bought a house built in 1979, and the “condemned asylum” hallway in the basement is painted in a hideous maroon-brown color that I can’t just paint over because it is peeling like crazy πŸ™ Every time I’m down there, I’m like “what is up with this crappy paint?” , but DUH, the original trim paint is probably oil-based. And now I know how to check. Thanks!

  66. I love the black doors! I get it that you don’t want to go back and change them. I feel sorry you had to go through all the trouble so we know what to do if this happens to us. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  67. Oh Wow! So sorry about your disaster! That stinks! I personally like white doors better, but the black do look really nice!

  68. I’m Sooooooo sorry! πŸ™

    Just my two cents: if you aren’t going to paint them all black again, at least paint the one glass door black again. It made your outdoors look like it was picture framed and was so much prettier and interesting. Of course, I’m not brave enough to paint my own door black that way, but that particular door looked great like that.

  69. Not sure if someone mentioned this already, but if you have nail polish remover with acetone in it, that will do the trick for testing if it is latex or not – but it has to be acetone-based, otherwise it won’t work!
    PS. The doors look great either way πŸ™‚

  70. I was repainting my doors to put the house on the market & discovered the paint was peeling off. I figured out what the problem was but my new boyfriend that thinks that he is a DIY expert & how could I know something disagreed. He finally saw, after a lot of “discussion” that I was right but of course I never heard the words. A very frustrating project. I still dread asking for his assistance even tho he is awesome at what he does – as long as it is HIS idea. He designs & builds for a living but I can’t get anything done at my house!!!

  71. Oh Allison,
    I read this with my mouth hanging open. So sorry for you. I like the doors both ways, actually, and can see why you went back to white. Good for you for powering through that. You are a DIY champ. Pretty much everything I do has some sort of fall-out. Most recently I took a leftover cabinet door from when we built our house (7 years ago, btw….procrastinate much????) and turned it into a tray for a centerpiece on the kitchen table. VERY FEW things in my house are really lovely wood that I paid full price for but my kitchen table is one of them. On this cabinet door to make it look like a tray (and function like one), I drilled in handles. Well, I didn’t think to sink the screws and when my husband dragged the tray across the table to wipe the table down…….oh yes, all 4 screws dug huge horrifying scratches in my all cherry table top. Way beyond the finished tabletop down to the raw wood. Needless to say the tray went in the garbage along with the 3 hours painting and constructing it πŸ™ I am glad that even you really crafty ladies with blogs run into this sometimes…..makes me feel better in some way to keep on going with the DIY, even if just in little ways!

  72. There is nothing new to say about ‘feeling so terrible for you’. The combination of comments is truly how I feel. BUT know this: YOU ARE MY HERO for encouragement to ‘keep on keeping on’.
    Wishing you Blessings.

  73. Allison, I don’t have a blog yet, but saw a PIN of your disaster on Pinterest. I am now following you in my google reader in case you have any more problems I’ve already been through in the future. LOL!

    The same thing happened to me a long time ago after moving into a new house. Luckily my Dad is a chemist who had paint chemistry experience and a friend who owned his own paint company. The solvent you need to remove semi-gloss latex paint off of semi-gloss oil base paint happens to be one of the ingredients in 409. (Which is why repeated use of 409 on flat latex paint to clean little finger smudge marks, will cause the paint to thin and eventually chip off). I sprayed 409 on the huge area, walked away out of disgust, came back later with the blue scrubber sponge you use in the kitchen and a table knife and it all came off with no problem. I only used the knife to get the paint out of the creases on the molding around the windows and doors. I had it all over the doors, the windows, the baseboards, everything. It’s a mistake I’ll never make again.

    You did a great job cleaning those black doors up. They look great! Sorry I didn’t hear about your delima earlier or I would have let you know.

    • Oh I wish I knew this before! I will definitely remember this tip if I ever make such a bone headed move ever again. Thank you so much for sharing this tip with us!

    • Thank you for telling us about 409. We’ve used it to clean trim for a while now – so we won’t anymore! What do you use to clean smudges off of door frames?

  74. I’m sorry if I’m repeating what anyone already said, but there are too many comments! Everyone has an opinion about black doors, I guess, but here’s one more: I painted my basement doors black and I LOVE them! ( However, I never imagined anything like this could happen! Fortunately, we built our house ourselves, and the doors we bought came primed and I painted them all myself originally, so they were done with latex. Anyway, I left all the doors on my main floor white. I think painting your back door black again is a good compromise. It looked fabulous and I am kinda into the look of the odd door (like when they paint the pantry door something else).
    PS: DANG! Your house sure looked clean for all that painting! You’d have never noticed the doors for all the mess surrounding a week-long project at my house!

  75. What an ordeal for you! I love a good primer, but sometimes I do want to skip it. After reading this, I’ll definitely be testing my surfaces and not skipping primer!

  76. hi Allison, I just stumbled across your blog while researching curtain rods…I am SO doing the curtain rod/conduit pipe idea…what a good one ! am so sick of my sagging 8 foot very expensive curtain rod! just wanted to say your house is gorgeous, your dog is adorable and the doors look amazing in the white also !
    xo Anna from NYC

  77. This happened to me!!! My husband used a pressure washer to get the paint off. (I had just pinned this and turned right around and made the same mistake!)

  78. Hi! I just wanted to tell you thank you for this post! It gave me the nerve to paint my doors black, and I love them!!! Its been a week and no peeling, so I’m praying to the DIY gods that I did it pretty darn good. Thanks so much! I enjoy getting your updates in my inbox!!

  79. Whilst I feel for you and your misadventure, your account made me laugh out loud, such a great mix of humor amidst the teeth gnashing. Really enjoy all your posts, and you should be writing comedy too!

  80. I am so sorry to tell you but I gasped through each picture, feeling sorry for you. Then I laughed… I wouldn’t have had the patience to deal with that. Thank you though for the warning…, with proof!
    We recently sold my house (my mom and I) and we bought all new interior doors and just left them as they came from the store. We didn’t want to have to deal with painting them all.
    I am moving into a new condo and will be googling as much as I can before I DIY anything!

  81. Goodness what a mess! I actually have a similar issue and am wondering if you might have any suggestions. When we bought our historic home the paint looked fine. Then a few months after using the upstairs bathroom the top layer of paint started peeling do to the same reason your doors did. No one had lived in this house for 7 years and even then the lady who lived here before did not use the upstairs so I have no idea how long that paint has been up there. If it would come off in sheets that would solve my problem but instead it just bubbles up every time we take a shower. I vacuum the mess off and next shower it does it again. There is still quite a bit of the latex layer on top of the oil base layer. Do you think I could just seal it with the Kilz oil primer or do I need to take that whole layer off before painting? Don’t want to end up with an even bigger mess then what I have for sure!

    Thanks for you help in this and thank you for your fantastic blog!

    bee blessed

  82. I loved the black. Can you tell me why is it possible to paint over the oil based primer? Possibly because it is a primer and it wouldn’t matter which you cover with? I have used the latex primers but not the oil based. So glad I found your site. Many great tips and your home is beautious!

  83. Aren’t ‘lessons’ awesome?! As is the detail, honesty, excellent photos and everything else about your post, Allison. We all learn from each other, and I for one – appreciate the time it took you to share your lengthy project.

    Black is so stunning.

    Your creativity makes your house lovely!


  84. ok I totally laughed so hard I cried! Only b/c this is totally something I would do!

  85. Wow I totally felt your pain! This actually happened to me also but on a much smaller scale. On an outside porch swing I first painted white with good ole durable oil based paint. We moved and now had a covered porch and I decided to change the color of the swing to black. Since the porch was covered and like you, I hate oil based paint, so I used latex. It immediately started peeling. I worked on it for one day and then told my husband that it was NOT worth my time to fix this mistake. I gave the swing to a friend’s dad who is retired and had all the time in the world to work on it. I bought a new swing a started fresh. It took my friends dad over a year to complete that big mess.

  86. One day, while my daughter and I were gone, my stepsister and husband repainted my bathroom. Not immediately, but shortly afterwards, the paint started to scrape off. My sister told me that they used the wrong paint. She was doing a major paint job in the house and gave us great paint info and even had a sheet saying the “combinations” if we wanted to repaint. Even several 5 years later I want to repaint it the same color, a pinky-peach. When I looked at your doors I laughed and laughed but could totally relate. I’m glad you didn’t have to pay for your mistakes. Just your humor, never mind all the great advice, should give you free paint. πŸ™‚

  87. I just had a painting project not go so well too. I was trying for soft light yellow walls. Debated over the right color for a week. Painted and its way too YELLOW. I was going for soft, breezy sun-kissed beach cottage but its just too primary. We went this end of the color spectrum because the other yellows seemed to orange/peach in some lights but this is just too yellow. So anyway, I noticed the yellow in your hallway is very much what I’m aiming for. Any idea the brand and color of that yellow?

  88. This exact thing happened to me when I painted our entryway ledges. The paint peeled in huge strips. Now I know why! Thank you! I have been planning to paint our doors and very dark brown, now I am definitely going to test them first!

  89. I LOVE the black doors!

    You asked about DIY disasters and I have one: when we were trying to sell our first house, I tried to paint the avacado green tile in the master bath shower. I used tile paint (rustoleum kit), but it was a disaster and I had to use the razor blade to scrape it all off. I’m ready to try painting tile again, but I have done A LOT more projects since that disaster.

  90. What a disaster! But I’d bet you saved at least a couple people from making a similar mistake. I’m sure that makes you feel better, right? πŸ˜‰

  91. You have a zillion comments on this post but I HAD to leave one and say I feel your pain! Not truly what I’m sure doing ALL those doors was, but last summer I painted my kitchen table. I had prepped it like I did everything else I painted but it wasn’t enough since tables have so much laquer on them. So the paint just peeled right off. I spent the next three days knee deep in chemical stripper and paint goop and sanding. It was horrible! So sorry to hear about the black painting disaster, even though they looked so good in black. Way to power through!

  92. This is happening in my bathroom… I type….its ridiculous. There are about 4 different paint colors in that bathroom and now im trying to finish peeling and scraping off all 4 levels of color! Atleast with the doors you didn’t have alot of corners, obstacles, etc. Working around the tub/shower, toilet, door, cabinets, mirror, light fixture above the mirror, and light switch is making me CrAzY!!!!!!

  93. We just did the same thing with our kitchen cabinets. We took down some ugly wall paper and painted the kitchen and wine color (something I have always wanted). We decided to paint the cabinets because they were due for a facelift. My kitchen cabinet contents were spread between my den and dining room. We have two young children and we are both paramedics with crazy schedules, so as you can imagine this took a while. We not only painted the cabinet doors, drawers and cabinet faces, but also the inside of each cabinet and drawers. After countless hours and meals to go as well as two little ones who wanted their mommy and daddy time, we were done. We were so excited. We got the door hinges on and began to hang the cabinet doors. I could not wait to see the kitchen finally come together! Then it happened… scrape of the fingernail and the paint began to peel. We realized immediately what happened. All we could do is stare in disbelief! I immediately went to google. At that moment we realized that a little bit of rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball could have saved us so much heartache. So now we are scraping, scraping and scraping. It is a hard lesson learned, but from now on I will keep rubbing alcohol and cotton balls in with my paint supplies until I know there is nothing left in my house with an oil base. At least the walls were not oil based too. They still look beautiful. Hopefully the cabinets will too when they are done.

  94. Oh, my, goodness. I’m just now taking a break from scraping peeling doors and stumbled on your site from Pinterest. I moved into a house where the last owners painted over all the oil based trim, windows, doors, and cabinets with latex paint. It ALL peels. Crown molding and baseboards are the worst. Fortunately, we’re doing a large renovation within the next year or so and have decided not to waste any more time on anything, but the doors. MANY tears shed trying to correct this horrid wrong. Hopefully you’ve been able to save many a homeowner with your story.

    • Leigh
      We went through the same thing. We ripped out all the old baseboards and some doors. We replaced them with what we wanted and added crown molding throughout the house. MUCH easier than scraping and bonus, we got what we wanted

  95. I am so glad i found this. I am thinking about painting my bedroom door navy and had never even thought about the oil based paint issue. Hope mine is latex. I will do the cotton ball test.

  96. I am in the process of painting my trim and doors white. What did you do with the hinges? Did you leave them the color they were, paint them, what color? Also, did you paint the doors when they were hanging on the hinges?

  97. Oh, you poor thing. And weird that I came here for something else and found this post when in 5 short days I, too, will be painting a door from white to black. I am all over that cotton ball test. Thanks so much for posting!

  98. Courtney Brown says:

    We had the same thing happen to us in our master bathroom with painting all the trim. We painted with Acrylic Paint and it all peeled off. Ok so I thought it was Oil Based paint so we scrapped off all the peeling paint then painted with Oil Based Kilz Paint, one coat. I then did a test spot on the to make sure the Acrylic Paint would stick… it still scraps off even after being applied over the Kilz. Then I tried to use Latex paint, still peels? HELP?? What should I do?

  99. LOL. The black doors look nice. The same thing happened to me. I’d found some paint that is the exact same color as the blue in Buzz Lightyear’s eyes to go in my son’s Buzz bedroom. I even “splurged” and got the paint with primer built in and got to work painting an old laminate shelf and a hand-me down mini tv stand that my brother gave me. I was so THRILLED! The color was beautiful and gave the mismatched passed-along furniture a cohesive look. Until.It.Peeled. In great blue sheets. The kids balled them up into little knots and pelted each other with them. Tragic. I have since learned how to paint laminate furniture and waiting for the weather to finally break so I can get back to work.

  100. I found your blog via Pinterest. I used to have a black front door. It was elegant, but also sort of foreboding. Black doors can create a virtual black hole in walls and really make hallways look gloomy (have 7 doors off a hall). Maybe the trick is a cream instead of “builder white”? So glad I found your blog!

  101. OMG.
    I was forwarded this project by a fellow blogger after a discussion on how helpful disaster DIY posts are.
    I cannot tell you how many screwed up projects I have had in the past.
    I agree with you – this one was EPIC, but extremely helpful.
    Thanks for posting the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  102. Holy cow! Props to you because I would have cried!! And then cried some more! Ah! I do like the black doors though. =]

  103. I have to say I am sorry for your epic project turning into an epic labor burden! But, I really do love the way the black doors make the walls and decorations Pop; especially the door with the white ceramic items hanging above. I truly understand why you went back to white – I would have been in tears and my husband would have had to call someone in to finish for me – you are incredibly resilient and provide us with information, fun, and a look in to your DIY life.
    Thank you.

  104. If u had sanded the doors before u painted this wouldn’t have happened.

  105. Looks like your doors are not wood but PVC. No latex paint will stick to PVC.

    Great job recovering from the mess.

  106. I feel your frustration, but I have to tell you that your doors come up on all the searches I made for: ” elegant black interior doors”…they looked great. Although the white is clean and pretty, the black, add that layer of oopmph!

  107. omg I just did the exact same thing except to my kitchen cabinets!! AH I’m beyond horrified. I’ve started the peeling process and will head to home depot for some primer. Thanks for this post, It gives me hope and strength lol

  108. Jennifer Halverson says:

    I had a bad experience with oil based paint once!! But my question is where did you get your cow, rooster and pig head? I have the pig I bought at a yard sale and would love to have the others.

  109. We just bought a house and have repainted the entire thing. Thankfully, my grandparents had a painting and papering business for 20+ years, so they’ve been a TON of help. When preparing to paint our doors (navy!), the man at Sherwin Williams asked if the paint currently on the doors was latex or oil. I had no idea, so he gave me a bottle of….something, and a rag to take home and test the door. Probably similar to what you used. Anyway, that’s a tip I thought might come in handy to the other DIYers out there. Worth a try to ask someone at the paint store if they have something you could borrow to test with.

    Also, Kilz makes an odorless oil-based primer. My grandparents were wary of the “odorless” claim, but it genuinely has VERY little smell. Much better than the regular oil-based primer.

  110. Just stumbled across this.

    Latex is really really easy to remove from atop oil paint with a little known secret.


    Make a poultice with white vinegar and paper towels. Stick the wet paper towels with vinegar to the latex painted surface. Cover with plastic. Check back in an hour or two or three…. The vinegar will dissolve the minimal bond between the latex paint and the oil. And it will all pull off pretty easily.

    There will be some spots here and there where it doesn’t want to come off. An ordinary kitchen sponge with the abrasive pad on it, and more vinegar will take those little spots right off.

  111. This has to be the best blog yet that has been useful for me. I painted a bathroom once and the paint started peeling! That same bathroom, I retiled the tub/shower. My first project ever and it looked awesome. I used a premixed grout and it was perfect. I sealed after a few days of drying and then let it cure and dry for 2-3 weeks. I finally used it and the grout started coming out where the water hit it! I was mortified! I called a handy man to fix it and he scratched up some of the accent tiles dremeling the grout out. Then he put in a grout that turned gray when wet!!! :-(. I learned my lesson to mix, my own grout from that point forward and not use premixed. I don’t know if the grout was bad or had been frozen (I lived in Alaska) at one point, but it was very disappointing.

    P.S. I like both the black and the white! Now I’m off to test my doors and trim, because they look horrible from the builder’s job.

    • Oh man, this is terrible! What a nightmare. Premixed stuff usually scares me. I’ve always had better luck with tiling when I use stuff I mix up myself.

  112. Allison,
    Today was the day that I needed to read this post!! I have been having the toughest time with a DIY project that was supposed to be easy, but has been anything but…! We moved a year ago, and have been updating our 50+ year old house one DIY project at a time, and last week, I thought I would tackle the vanities in our bathrooms. They were both topped with ugly yellow (think 70s yellow) countertops, which I decided to paint white and gloss over.
    Unfortunately, the very helpful lady at my local large-chain hardware store didn’t quite understand what my end goal was, and I bought the wrong gloss (polyurethane for WOOD furniture, not countertops). Equally unfortunately, I didn’t think to question her expertise! And so, my new lovely white countertops turned just as yellow as they had been before I painted them! They have now been sanded down and re-painted, and are drying, and I am headed tomorrow to the store (again!) to purchase the RIGHT product!!!
    Thank you for the laughs, though–glad to know I’m not the only one!!! πŸ˜€

    • That is terrible! I’m glad you got it figured out though. What a huge pain!! We all have DIY blunders, it’s just more helpful and fun to share them with each other! We are not alone in our disasters!

  113. I love that grey wall color, could you tell me what it is?

  114. im looking to get a new bedroom set/old, but when im done…NEW. i plan to buy all used furniture and want to paint it black n use some silver hardware to bring it to life..what kind of wood do you find the easiest to paint with the least amount of problems?? and is there a certain kind of paint i should use? im wanting a shiny gloss black so im guessing a laquer of some sort…any and all help is truely appreciated.

    • I’m not really a huge furniture painter, but no matter what you paint I’d prime it first because it will probably have some type of clear topcoat on it. As for paint, you can use a semi-gloss, or use a satin for a non streaky finish and then poly over the top with a high gloss.

  115. Heard a great tip that a viewer used on Nate Berkus. If memory serves me correctly she painted all of her interior doors black also. She removed all interior doors and took them to a local car repair shop. They spray painted all of the doors. The result was spectacular and the cost was minimal. Well worth it!

    • I think I remember that! I’m pretty sure she never actually gave figures though, and it is certainly more expensive (and a bigger ordeal) than just doing it myself.

  116. I think the black doors made your hallway really narrow looking. I like wood trim with white doors the best. But the bottom line is, it is your house and if the black doors make you feel good that is all that matters. I am glad you got the situation all straightened out.

  117. Jessica Alexander says:

    Hey Allison!! A friend and I painted my laundry room and now we’re having this same problem on the trim and the door!! So grateful to find that I’m not alone in the problem, and figured it out before we went onto another room! Would you recommend completely replacing the trim (we’re going to do the entire house eventually so could get expensive quickly) or doing the primer then latex option? My only concern with the latex paint is being able to wipe down dust and grime off doors…

  118. Allison, I think it is GREAT that you shared this with all of us. Many bloggers will only show their great successes. It is good for other DIYers to see mistakes/disasters and then their resolutions. Thanks for sharing and your house looks great either way. πŸ™‚

  119. While I’m sorry to hear about that epic disaster, I have to admit — I REALLY enjoyed your story!! That’s the most entertaining thing I’ve read all week. πŸ™‚ So at least the incident has a silver lining (if you don’t mind another splash of color). πŸ™‚

  120. Hi Allison – just came across your blog and so glad you have shared your experiences with us. I must say I feel your pain as I did the exact thing. I love the black doors, brings a classy look so I decided to paint my front door black. No sanding, priming – I just cleaned the doors. I bought this product by Glidden made specifically for doors and trim. It had this gel flow technology to prevent brush marks and drippings. Cool – painted my front door and it looks awesome – except it took forever to dry. My grandson hit the door and now it has a mark that will need to be fixed. Then I decided why not paint the garage door – should be a breeze right? Painted the door and next day it was peeling just like your doors! What?? How can this be? Well I found out the garage door had an oil-based paint while the front door was latex paint. You would think they would be the same – well guess I was wrong! lol
    Needless to say its still needs to be fixed ( but heck who sees it anyway). Love your blog and thanks for all the wonderful ideas and tutorials.

  121. Beautiful, I paint a lot of things black. I use rust-o-leum – not water based and it sticks to EVERYTING i hardly need to prep. It’s amazing stuff. I recently did the door to our garage which was metal covered and UGLY! it’s now black with poster frames glued to it as moulding and the insides of them painted with chalkboard paint (painted over the rust-o-leum because I don’t think it would have adhered to it otherwise) for the kids to write their reminders on before loading up in the car in the garage… thanks for sharing your experience!

  122. Jill Rauscher says:

    Ok, sorry for your tons of extra work. Have been there. Ok have a question…we are planning on selling our home, I need to touch up the white trim and doors in Kitchen. Ask the builder what type of paint, and bought some…problem is he has Hi Gloss on all the wood I need to paint…do I need to sand all this before I paint? Sure wish he would have used semi gloss but nope. Can’t really change now either cuz the rest of the house is hi gloss white…is it sanding or an alternative ? And what is the alternative?

    • You don’t need to sand if you use a deglosser on it (TSP). Also, make sure you use oil based paint if your trim is oil based. You might want to prime with Kilz oil based primer too.

  123. Purvis Thompson says:

    This was dreadful to read so I can only imagine your frustration in painting TEN! DOORS! OMG! I live in a prewar NYC building with no ceiling light in the main room. I lived for 3 years with only lamps (actually only one lamp) I finally was “INSPIRED” to hang a plug in pendant. I hung the drum pendant, without a diffuser, only to realize I not only hated the pendant but had forced myself to look at a glaring bulb. UGGGGGG. In taking it down I ruined the plaster on my ceiling. I used a cord cover with an adhesive backing. So months later I’m stuck with repairing the plaster b4 my landlord sends his goons after me. Any one in NY up for a hr long weekend project? Or suggestions on fixing the plaster and removing the remaining adhesive?

  124. Honestly, I cannot believe I was able to stumble across this article. I’m currently facing the same problem as we speak. I assumed since the previous owners used white latex paint on the interior trim in the house they also used the same type paint on the entry door. Big mistake. After a couple of days, the white latex paint I applied on the entry door started peeling off. I’m glad I was able to find this article because, I scratching my head wondering what am I going to do.

  125. Shanicka Sudler says:

    Love your door, did it come with your home or did you buy it? If so from where?

  126. You’re a rock star! I would have called a professional after all that! I did not read all the comments, but I think you needed to do a couple coats of primer, especially for doors, than paint with the black paint. πŸ™‚ I love the black doors, but the white gives the space a bright, sunny look.

    Thank you for sharing.

  127. Wow, Kudos to you for finishing the job!!!
    I’ve had some similar mega messes…and lived thru them, amazingly! LOL
    I stripped wall paper from a bathroom in a new to us house. Paper came down very easily n I was pleased except for a few spots. I did skim coat the whole wall due to the surface. Then primed n painted 2 coats each. I let it cure for weeks before I put up my shower curtain rod. But when I decided it should be a bit higher and went to move it a HUGE hunk of drywall mud, primer n paint came off! The area around it was lifted so I pulled a bit…and soon I was scraping off the entire wall w/a razor blade scraper and had Goldy-Locks kinds of curls of stuff piling on the floor!! Hunks of drywall also came off!!
    I was in total shock n cried.
    I talked to everyone everywhere about what might have happened. Bottom line: I was finally told I should have washed the walls 3x’s to be sure all the glue and hard to see paper from wall paper was totally off the surface! I wound up having to do a thin sheet of dry wall over the original and started all over!!! That project felt like your door project!! Live n learn.

    I just had all my interior doors primed n painted white. Guess what? Some are now peeling!!! UG!!! So thanks for your story. I’ll have to fix mine and forget the guy who did my work for me! I think he missed priming some doors he thinks he did!! πŸ™
    Older but wiser. πŸ™‚ But still a DIYer at heart! :)))

  128. Zoe from the UK says:

    Hi. Wow. Loved the black doors. Such an impact. Wave moved into a new build with boring white doors. 9 including the front door. I am trying to convince my OH to let me at them and paint them satin black. Our stairs rails were white and boring when we first cane here. They are now black satin and look amazing. I added some finials and painted them black too. I’ll never paint it white. My OH thinks black doors and frames will look dark and to dominating. But I think they would look dramatic and sophisticated. Want to add Victorian brass handles and finger plates. They would look amazing with the Victorian terracotta floor tiles I’ll going to lay down. How do I convince him?

  129. Wow! What a lesson – and perfect timing for us as next week will be painting cabinets and doors – my first time doing either. Hired company to do most of the painting but saved kitchen cabinets, exterior door, and one bathroom for us to do for a party in August. Later we’ll do our bedrooms – sure would be fun to do some black doors in those interiors! Thank you so much for posting.

    Reading this I realized that our first painter of this place didn’t test the paint as we had several doors that peeled paint. I had no idea why it happened, but it didn’t happen right away so didn’t have him return to redo them…. Ah well.

    Thanks again!

  130. Found you through a Google search. Here’s my hang up I’m hoping you may have insight into. I want to paint my hallway doors a navy blue. Fairly dark. It’s the predominant color in most of the house. With the exception of the bathroom. I’ve been given the infamous gray and pink bathroom. Truth. A navy door would open into it. Does this rul out the navy til I can change up the bathroom?

  131. My cabinets look like your oops doors, white with peeling black paint. I am still trying to remove the layers before I can think of repainting. Thankfully my whole house is a construction zone (for once that’s a good thing) so I have diverted my attention to another project, giving myself time to muster the courage to take on the cabinets once more.

  132. What color is that yellow paint? I am trying to fine a nice yellow for my living room.

  133. Lori Wentzel says:

    Oh my…my heart hit my stomach reading this when I found it on Pinterest. Great recovery. Getting ready to paint paneling in our new lake cottage so the nerves are jangling. Thank you for sharing.

  134. Oh my Gosh!! I am sorry but i couldn’t help laughing WITH you. I can’t top that disaster. I came upon your site as I just painted my entry door a color and wanted to know if people painted the skinny sides also. Anyway, I LOVE the black doors in your house, which of course are white now. The white is pretty also. I was telling my husband I loved our front door color and we should paint all the doors in the house. He gave me a strange look. LOL! Nope. Not going to do it. I don’t care if they are latex or not. We have just recently recovered renovations-wise from Hurricane Sandy. If what happened to you happened to me, I would be writing this from Bellvue. You have an awesome sense of humor!

  135. I’m having a mini-heart attack that I may have repeated your mistake. I tested my doors to see if they were latex or oil, I used nail polish with acetone. I know you say to use denatured alcohol but I did a quick google search and many other sources say that acetone would work as well. The paint came off. I have painted 9 doors so far black when they used to be white. But after a few were scratched while reattaching them I tested the side of a door to see if I could scratch any paint off and I could! I tested another door that I haven’t painted yet with the acetone nail polish remover to see if I had made a mistake and the paint came off again. So I don’t understand why they get scratched so easily! They are not “peeling” yet but I’m worried that will happen. Is it possible that some of the doors were painted with latex and some with oil? I admit I didn’t test every door before I painted.

  136. Her story makes my new DIY blooper seem like nothing! I have a brand new spare bedroom. We painted all the doors, ceiling, floor, door moulding white. We taped all the molding before we textured and painted the walls a dark cedar green. The taped worked great until we took the tape off the ceiling moulding. Apparently we did not press the tape down well enough and we have green bleeding onto the white moulding and long thin strips of about 1/8th inch of the green wall paint peeling off. I thought the water based green paint would come off the oil based ceiling moulding easier than this! We painted on Sun this is Wed and that paint is really stuck! The green wall paint will have to be repainted and I am hoping the finished project will not show these areas that had to be repainted. The room would have looked fantastic if we had not had this problem. Now, instead of my project being finished I have a LOT of work left to do to try to cover up this boo boo and I will probably be sick of looking at this green paint before Im finished.

  137. I absolutely love black doors!! Yours looked so beautiful before the peeling. πŸ™ (We are planning to paint our doors and window trim black this year… so very glad I stumbled upon your post.) I cannot believe what you had to go through!! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Will definitely be showing this to my husband before we start. By the way, you did a fabulous job cleaning up that mess. Your new white doors look AMAZING!! I wanted to cry for you while reading this post… all I can say is brava!! You totally rocked it with your hard work – can’t believe you did it pretty much straight through! You’re an inspiration! πŸ™‚

  138. Hi Allison!
    I came across this dilemma of yours of course by scrolling through pinterest…and I feel awful! How tragic! Yet , at the same time you have helped numerous people by sharing your mistake. You are a hero for that! I sincerely hope you don’t mind me sharing a small link and picture on my post today about trim painting tips. The blurb about checking out if your trim is oil or latex. If so, please catch me- and I will happily take it down!
    Keep on showing off the hard work!!!

  139. I love your wall color choices. Can you tell me what that grey/ blue color is? I’m always afraid I’ll choose a grey blue color that will end up looking baby blue once I slap it on the walls. Thanks.

  140. Hi Allison wish I had seen your blog a year ago:( my husband and I painted the whole house )( 2 floors) every wall is peeling. I just want to move!!!! I will save your blog as a favorite. Btw your doors are beautiful .

  141. Yes, I went through the same thing,except I didn’t paint the latex over oil, but had to fix the problem, what I used was a pressure washer, not an expensive one, the cheap ones from H.D and pressure washed the doors and it took about 3 minutes per side, warm water works best.

  142. OMG – I was pulling up oil over latex and this popped up. I started reading and I said thats not going to work or – is it? I thought well maybe I have it backwards – I guess. Uh no I was right. I am so very sorry I hate that for you. Thanks so much for the information even if if it was the hard way.

  143. I’m sorry, I laughed so hard reading this! I can imagine getting all those doors done and how you must’ve felt when they began peeling… LMAO!!! I’m sorry. My family, for many generations, have been painters and Wallpaper hangers, my mom’s owned her own business here in Florida and my family in KY all do the same. Yes, we usually recommend killz. You have to have a primer. I just bought my first home three weeks ago (YAY) And have chosen the paint and paper but I hadn’t thought of repainting the doors. I’m glad I saw this, I do believe we’re gonna have black doors! (Whether hubby likes it or not!!!

  144. To late, I did what you did only on the sun porch ceiling. Not black but white oil base paint. I just picked up a cheap paint of white paint never paying attention to the contents. I am so glad I found this blog and will remember to the day I die, not to do what you did. I have marked that can of paint with a big red X. I am so glad you have shared your awful experience with us. Now we are all smarter for this knowledge.

  145. Did you sand after you got as much black off as possible? I just did something similar to this… to my front door. In red.

    Except my paint was laytex on laytex. Only thing we can figure out is that maybe the cleaner I used had oil in it? Who knows. But not all the red is peeling off D:

  146. I just discovered your blog when I searched for curtain ideas. This post gave me a fit of giggles. My Mom did the same thing many years ago in a closet, painting the shelves with latex over oil. Anyway, may I politely say that I don’t like black or otherwise dark doors because although they are stunning in the daylight, they are real stunners at night. As in walking into a door I thought was open but wasn’t. BUMP! Owie. After that I have despised dark colored interior doors. They are a hazard to my health. Your house looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing all your great ideas. Keep up the good work.

  147. In my opinion you did yourself a favor messing up. The black doors look hideous.

  148. I ran into the same problem. Thanks for your advice. The only problem is my latex paint is now peeling off like rubber and would not adhere to the oil based primer. Help!

  149. I’m sorry, but I literally snorted at “I felt like I was staring at cow prints”. I know this is an older post so I hope you can look back and laugh at it now. Thank you so much for the helpful hint…it drives me batty having to go back and fix an oops when I could be moving on to my next project.

  150. Thank you for sharing this! I only messed up one, found out when the dog jumped against it to go out and paint came off in chunks. So sorry you had 10 but they came out great. Getting supplies tomorrow thanks for the tips! And everything painted black looks awesome but so does white..or gray

  151. Lol. I love you. I cannot tell you how many dumb mistakes I have made in this house! I can only assume that I would be a lot richer if I did my research before delving into something and realizing later on that I totally did something wrong. Live and learn, right? Good post though because I love it when other people can own up to mistakes they made while doing home improvement projects.

  152. Thank you for this. We bought a house and had it remodeled before moving in. I normally do all the painting, but this time we paid a professionals make it easy and get settled quickly. One month after moving in our doors started peeling. Our painter did exactly what you did. He kept repaiting with latex expecting a different result until I found your blog and insisted he prime with oil based primer and then latex. He does not like me very much, but I’ll survive. Quick question, did you sand your doors before applying the oil based primer. We still have banisters to do and they were painted with latex paint. If I don’t have to sand them and just do two coats of primer plus latex paint, I will be very happy girl. Thanks.

  153. Such a great post. I’m faced with a similar problem in the house we purchased last year. The previous owner painted ALL the trim, base boards, doors, stairs, pretty much EVERYTHING with latex paint over oil based paint. Needless to say that we are still in the midst of fixing the mess of the peeling paint.

  154. So, what are your thoughts on a board and batten wall painted dark olive with white on top.
    or should I stick with the white on the bottom and Olive on top??? this is a short hallway with an L shaped
    small reading room at the end. The trim is white and the dark olive walls. thanks for thinking about my dilemma.

  155. Wow! Thank you so much for the warning! I have one of my own: this happened to me on a wall my husband had painted white, then I painted green. Both latex, *different sheens*. It was only eggshell to satin, but I didn’t clean the wbut all with TSP or TSP substitute. That’s the only thing we can guess as to why the middle of the wall is peeling in sheets like your doors…

  156. Its beautiful!… What an awesome art you have done.. I loved it.. I am not good at that painting but a surely I will need a Southern Painting Contractors in Fort Worth for my house.. Thanks for these beautiful ideas.. Keep exploring.

  157. My husband just sent me this as I JUST did this with trim. Ready to cry. Fingers nails hurt. Ready to scream. Also, I think you are my spirit animal.

  158. Oh man!!!! Oh how I wish I had found this BEFORE I did my doors gray!!! Now I know why they keep peeling and getting knocked easily!!! Sigh….

  159. This happened to me on a remodel job. The painters put on latex. Not long after, I could see that the paint was peeling off. We had to sand down, prime and repaint. What a pain. I’m getting ready to repaint in my house, and I’ve got oil-based trim (Oh how I love BM Satin Impervo). But, I’m cutting over to latex. I will sand and prime, and then apply next coat. The last paint job (which I did not do) has some drips and some extraneous trash here and there, that I don’t want to see.

    I think that you do the DIY community a great service by posting the traumatic experience! Note that acetone can also be used as a test liquid.

  160. Andrea Rosen says:

    I am so glad I found your blog! I did the same thing but with dark brown on all my trim and door ways! It was so beautiful…until it started peeling. We also painted our off-white doors white and they were peeling too. I wish I had found your story before but now I’m trying to figure out how to undo what I’ve done. It actually lasted quite a while before it started peeling. We did just repaint it at first but now I’m tired of the brown and I know I need to do it right this time or it’s just going to continue to be a mess. Thanks for the help! Now, I know what to do and the work I have in store.

  161. I just painted my front exterior door high gloss black and it looks lumpy and disgusting. It was so hot and humid out that the paint was drying too quickly so I started putting it on a little thicker to keep up. Then as it was drying it looked like black melted candle wax was dripping down the door. By the time I noticed it I couldn’t do anything about it. Now I’m stuck with a gross front door until winter when I can sand it down and start over. I have totally given up.

  162. I loved the black.
    I have black doors in my mud room, garage and foyer, with white trim. Love them all.
    Sorry for your DIY nightmare.

  163. I have made this mistake! All of the my bedroom trim and doors and my laundry room trim and doors! I’m still scraping in my laundry room a year later because I was so fed up with it after making the mistake. I have since also painted one door black going to my garage. Though I love it, I don’t think I want them all that color

  164. Oh how I wish I had read this first. My hallway is now a mess. And my doors are all peeling. I want to cry. I should have known after being here for 25 years and not having to paint the trim something was up. What was up was oil based paint! I had the house redone/destroyed 15+ years ago and they used latex on several new doors and trim so the house is both oil on some and latex on the new. With the holidays coming I wanted it to look nice. I failed. I am tired frustrated and now the house looks worse instead of better. I see all the work you had to do. I’m not sure I am up to it. Tonight I’m going to bed and will look at it again tomorrow. Nothing I ever do for myself ever works out. I hate this house now. Two bad contractors and now myself have ruined my house. I’d walk away from it but where would I go? So I will stay figure it out, but what a mess. You’re my hero I will re read this. Until I prevail. Thanks for letting me share. Heart broken and home broken in Texas.

  165. Thanks for this terrific article. I’m in a similar, but apparently worse conundrum! I recently bought a house built in 1961. Each of the bedrooms had wood doors and wood sliding closet doors. They are stained, flat doors. I bought a can of Kilz Complete Oil based primer and gave each of the doors a good coat and then another. Spots were showing through as if there was something the primer wouldn’t mix with. I stupidly went on and then covered them with white Glidden premium door and trim latex paint. Not only did the same spots still show through, but the doors chip very easily right down to the original wood. Another door was getting a second coat of latex paint and literally chunks of the paint rolled off and exposed the wood! For 3 of the doors I hadn’t touched, I decided to use that citrus stripping gel to try to pull off whatever finish I could. I’ve had to work at it over and over and I still haven’t removed it all. I then used a 40 grit sandpaper thinking I could just tear through it. No dice, it just gummed up the paper. I have no idea where to go next!

  166. Blog Facelift says:

    Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly
    informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll
    appreciate if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from your writing.

  167. Dawn Beattie says:

    You did a great job….. I would have cried.

    I just painted on factory door with oil based and hated it. Almost cried over one door. Not the look but the process. My husband insisted on oil based for all trim, baseboards and doors. Thank God it is a small house and only 6 doors and 240 ft or baseboards. I wanted to switch paints but it appears he will not waver. I have done all the baseboards, most of the trim and one door.

    Maybe I could switch to a gloss enamel and he wouldn’t notice lol. The oil based fumes are making is nausea too. Any advice would be helpful. P.S. He does tell me they look amazing and I do a better job than him. Big deal right? hahaha I get he is trying to be nice but it isn’t helping my frustration.

  168. Jane LaBelle says:

    Be wary of Kilz2, a water based primer that supposedly can be used on latex or oil based surfaces. My SW oil base painted bathroom door was scuffed so I hit the scuff marks with some Kilz2 before repainting the door with a fresh coat of SW oil based paint. Sadly, the areas that I touched with the Kilz@ are peeling off. I googled Kilz2 fail and found that, unlike the Original Kilz, the water based Kilz2 has a problem with failure. Beware, I thought I was doing things right but now I get to peel and and scrape off paint. Sad face

  169. Jane LaBelle in ATX says:

    Be wary of Kilz2, a water based primer that supposedly can be used on latex or oil based surfaces. My SW oil base painted bathroom door was scuffed so I hit the scuff marks with some Kilz2 before repainting the door with a fresh coat of SW oil based paint. Sadly, the areas that I touched with the Kilz2 are peeling off. I googled Kilz2 fail and found that, unlike the Original Kilz, the water based Kilz2 has a problem with failure. Beware, I thought I was doing things right but now I get to peel and and scrape off paint. Sad face

  170. Tim lindsay says:

    Not sure where to even start. A couple of weeks ago my in laws were in town. They came to help my wife and i paint our house . Well we got the houses painted. That is where the problems start
    . We painted all 12 doors every baseboard and door trim to find out we painted laytex over oil. Now the paint is peeling off. What do I do? I have over 600 feet of trim, 11 doors and 11 door casing starting to peel. Honestly I just want to cry. With soapy water it took me 4 hours to remove the paint from one door casing. Honestly we just bought the his house and I want to move. Please help……….

  171. Well… to be fair the peeled effect would have been great at a Halloween party? πŸ˜›

    Well done on fixing it though, looks really good again. Carly xx

  172. Next time sand to degloss, then prime and paint. You should always check the finish before painting over it.

  173. What color is the grey you have on the walls???? I love it! And I’ve been searching for a nice grey for a long time. Also thanks for the heads up, I will be painting my doors grey and it would have been awful if this happened.

  174. What a truly helpful blog!! Thank you for taking the time. I want to do my garden doors black (much like your full glass kitchen door) but am concerned over the vinyl molding around the door and how to make it look professional and not a diy effort. Any suggestions?

Speak Your Mind