Bringing old commercial doors back to life can take work. Brass doors were popular during the past century on commercial buildings, but over time, the grand appearance of these doors can become dull as the original lacquer finish wears off and exposes the brass to oxygen. You will need to clean the doors and remove the old finish on them before you can put a new finish on the door to restore the doors to their original shiny appearance. Here is how you can clean and remove the old finish on brass doors.
You Will Need:
- Brass Cleaner
- Fine Steel Wool (Grade 0000)
- Green Scrubbing Pads
- Rubber Gloves
- Safety Glasses
Clean the Surface
There will usually be a layer of dirt on the surface of the doors from years of usage and exposure to the elements. You should remove this layer of dirt with soapy water and a rag. You'll also need to remove the scuff marks created by years of shoe and boots rubbing against the bottom of the door. You can remove scuff marks by spraying a commercial-grade degreaser onto the marks. Rub the degreaser into the marks with a green scrubbing pad until the marks break up and you can wipe them away with a rag. Once it's been cleaned, you should rinse the door with water to remove the residue from the soap and degreaser.
Lacquer is put on the surface of doors to protect the brass from oxidizing and changing color when exposed to air. You can use acetone to remove the lacquer. You should wear solvent-resistant rubber gloves and safety glasses to protect against the acetone getting onto your skin or into your eyes. If acetone gets into your eyes, you should seek immediate medical help to flush the acetone out of your eyes. Put newspapers under the doors to catch any acetone drips down off the door and onto the ground. Place the acetone on white cotton balls and rub them into the lacquer until the lacquer dissolves. Wipe the surface clean with a rag.
Cleaning the Brass
The last step for preparing the doors for a new finish is to clean the brass. You'll want to use ultra fine steel wool pads (Grade 0000) to scrub the brass with a brass cleaner – thicker grades of steel wool will scratch the door. You should also rub in the direction of the grain of the brass to avoid scratching the surface. The brass surface will turn chalky once it has been thoroughly cleaned. At this point, you can start to apply the new finish. For more information on commercial doors, contact a professional like S & J Door Inc.