Monday, June 18, 2012


While visiting my family, and still riding high on a few productive weeks on home improvement projects at the Northeast Portland Bungalow, I pitched in with a few odds and ends to help out.

I noticed the back door at our family home needed a paint job. The paint was peeling off the aluminum door is big pieces, and looked pretty bad. Using the scraper and sander attachments of a borrowed Dremel Multi-Max™ 6300 oscillating tool, we made short work of removing the old paint. We washed the door down with mineral spirits and were ready for paint.

We were instructed specifically to use the leftover can of RustOleum Protective Enamel. The can hadn't been sealed after it's last use, and had a thick skin on top of the paint. I punctured the skin by poking it with a scraper. I had to pull the skin out of the can with my hand, covering my hand in oil-based paint.
Have you tried to wash oil-based paint off your hand? It's not easy. First, clothing detergent (because I went straight to the utility sink, in the laundry room). No luck. Next, dish washing detergent- still no luck.

I was beginning to worry- it was getting very sticky and "smoke gray" skin is not too attractive. Luckily, we found instructions on the internet. It should have been obvious- so if this happens to you, do this: Scrub your hands with a good handful of vegetable oil and salt. The paint comes right off. I washed up after that with the dish washing detergent. My hands actually felt smooth and soft afterward!

I have to admit, I was a skeptic. I did not think the paint was going to look good- not after pulling that skin off the top! But the paint easily mixed, had good coverage in a single coat and did not show any brush or roller marks. It settled to a very smooth and even finish.

I had read some tips about painting with oil-based paints- load your brush or roller generously, and do not over brush. These were great tips. It gets tacky fast, so keeping the brush loaded helped. I had also read that it dries slowly, so we put the painted door in the sun. It was dry with no tackiness in about 2 hours. And it looks great! The paint is smooth and even. I can't believe I forgot to get before and after photos- but trust me- it looks a lot better. 

I want to recommend this paint to you, if you have a similar project coming up. I'd love to say I was being paid to say that, but no, I'm saying only because I used what I assumed would be a ruined can of paint and it came out great. 


  • There are some major fumes. You'll want to work in a well ventilated space! We were in a garage, with doors and windows open wide. 
  • If you can, dry the door, appliance, or whatever you've painted in full sun.
  • Keep the vegetable oil, salt, and dishwashing detergent handy!

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