Painting Doors for Apartment and Condominium Buildings

Every day the doors of apartment and condominium buildings see a lot of wear and tear. Residents rush in and out of their home, sometimes with shopping bags, other times with furniture, but always in a hurry. Delivery workers and movers have a job to do and their job is to bring large objects through the doorways. To withstand this abuse, doors get painted with the toughest enamels available. Ecopainting has a lot of experience painting doors for property managers throughout the Toronto area.    

Maintaining the Doors in an Apartment Building

Property managers and painters alike know that doors and frames require more maintenance than other painted surfaces. To reduce the frequency of painting and the cost associated with it, stronger paints are specified. Just a few years ago the most durable paints were the oil based (alkyd) that were used in commercial projects. Unfortunately alkyds used harmful volatile solvents and gave out terrible odours. Painting the doors and common elements was a serious inconvenience to apartment dwellers.

In addition to the odour problem, alkyds took longer to dry and doors had to stay open for a long time. Residents never appreciated the inconvenience and the security concerns of keeping their doors open. As the paint contractor, we had to answer for this inconvenience to tens and sometimes hundreds of “internal customers”.

Better Paint Options for Doors with Lower VOC

Paint options for apartment buildings

In the last few years, regulatory organizations and consumer demand forced paint manufacturers to produce safer paints. Durable enamels are available with very low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). After a few years of testing, the paints today are significantly better than the old alkyds. Painting the hallways and common areas of large buildings is not the big hustle that it used to be. By hiring a knowledgeable contractor, property managers can eliminate the inconvenience for the building’s residents.

There is a wide selection of waterbourne, acrylic and hybrid enamels available and we can share some of our experience with them.

Pre Catalyzed Epoxy as a Paint Option for Doors

Pre Catalyzed epoxy is a one-component water-borne acrylic epoxy. Unlike the two component epoxy, it has a longer open working time, similar to other acrylics. It has good adhesion qualities, it is durable and resists most stains and cleaning chemicals

One of our favourite pre catalyzed epoxy is PPG’s Pitt-Glaze WB1. PPG’s Pitt-Glaze has unlimited pot life, is easy to work with and cleans up easily with water and soap.

Acrylic Semi-gloss – PPG Breakthrough

Top line acrylic semi-gloss (or satin) coatings from major manufacturers are more than sufficient for most projects. This semigloss is not the “soft” old latex with the poor adhesion we were used to. Modern technology and innovation have produced some coatings that rival almost any other alternative out there. Benjamin Moore’s Aura and PPG’s Breakthrough are superior offerings that can withstand any abuse thrown at them. In Canada Breakthrough is available from Dulux dealers.

Note of caution when painting over old and hard alkyd doors: Allow time to scuff sand the surfaces, wash them and apply a bonding primer.

Apartment doors paint has to be tough

Hybrids and Waterbourne Enamels

The two main reasons contractors and customers did not like oil paints were the smell and the dry time. Alkyd paints had some advantages that latex paints could not match. Despite the long dry time, the curing time was shorter. A few days after painting the doors and frames were hard and ready for 100% service. Professionals liked the leveling and the longer open time which allowed them to produce better looking results. In trying to replicate the performance of alkyds without most of the problems, Benjamin Moore developed and introduced ADVANCE® Waterborne Interior Alkyd. Advance was the first waterborne alkyd paint by a major manufacturer. It has been successful with contractors and performs very well. We find that darker colours take longer to cure and lag behind in adhesion properties. If the colour is a deep base, use a bonding primer and inform the customer about the curing time.

Another paint we used successfully for apartment building doors, including elevator doors, was the Dulux X-pert Waterborne Alkyd. We find this product to be the closest to a conventional alkyd you can get.
It adheres well, dries and cures reasonably fast and is available in semi, melamine and a primer. It works well in condo and apartment buildings because it resists abrasion like the alkyds were expected to. The property manager at the 1319 Neilson Road building contracted Ecopainting to paint all the doors and frames. They were previously painted in oil and as usual, lost most of their gloss. The board of director’s budget was sufficient for only one coat of paint. After sanding and washing the surfaces, one coat of the waterborne alkyd melamine was sufficient.

There are other companies that have similar products. We had good experiences with Para Paints and Sherwin Williams.

DTM Acrylic (Direct To Metal)

  • The name Direct To Metal implies that the paint is meant to be used on bare metal. That is not always the case and we used DTM for many repainting projects. DTMs are good enamels with excellent adhesion and gloss retention. They are easy to use, are self priming and being metal rated, they inhibit rust. We used DTM coatings from Benjamin Moore and Coronado as well as products from Devoe and PPG with excellent results. The gloss and colour retention makes these paints perfect for touch ups in regular maintenance painting jobs.

We Painted Doors in these Buildings

condo building in Scarborough had doors painted

  • 115 Richmond Street East. Sprucing up the common areas, doors and frames, including some underground garage doors
  • 130 Lombard Street East. Located next to 115 Richmond, this building is managed by the same property management company. They contracted Ecopainting to paint the main floor common areas, the elevator lobby and garage doors in three levels.
  • 83 Redpath Avenue. This was a big project in a big condo building. Along with all doors, frames and baseboards, we painted the common hallways and prepared some walls for vinyl wallpaper.
  • 59 East Liberty Street. Being a newer building most of the doors here were in acceptable condition. We painted the door frames, baseboards and all utility doors. The customer added the painting of the elevator doors. We used the all new Breakthrough paint available from DuluxThe following is an email the customer sent to us during the painting: “We’re all Crazy Over The Moon Happy with the painting. And your crew is wonderful – a real pleasure to have in the building. I hope they’re enjoying the project as much as we enjoy having them.”
    It’s all about keeping about a thousand people happy!
  • Granite Place. Common areas, the swimming pool and exercise area, some doors.
  • The Verve at Homewood Avenue. Ecopainting painted the large party room, recreational areas and some common space, including doors.
  • Copernicus Retirement Residences. Copernicus on Roncesvalles was a regular client for many years. We were their main painter of their common areas and apartments.
  • 1319 Neilson Road for WALLACE-RIVARD & ASSOCIATES LTD. – In the summer of 2017 we painted all the doors and frames of the building, including the apartment and elevator doors.

Are you a property manager managing a condominium or apartment building? The condition and appearance of the building doors is something you are aware of. A painting contractor servicing this sector has the the experience and personnel to deliver great results repeatedly. Don’t forget the elevator and service doors, the underground parking, as well as the the fire cabinet doors and trim.

Call Ecopainting at (416) 733-7767 to arrange a consultation with one of our representatives.


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