As the weather breaks and we venture out to tackle outdoor tasks from window cleaning, gutter cleaning, yard clean up, painting and more, you may have noticed that a few other items may need your attention as well!
Your exterior lighting, mailbox, house numbers, doorbell, and door hardware may be looking a little tired from the elements (the weather). They may have accumulated dust, dirt, or have become a bit discolored or faded. Good news….you may not have to replace them! How about revitalization instead?
First and importantly, know whether or not your light fixture(s), mailbox, or house numbers’ finish is intended as a living finish or not. A living finish is generally a raw or patina finish that will weather and develop its own patina naturally over time. For many folks, this is a desired look. If the finish is not an intended living finish, then it is most likely a powder coated paint finish.
Now…it is important to understand that no mater how durable a finish may be, when exposed to the “elements” for a period of time, it will shown some wear. Some manufacturers use a clear chemical lacquer finish while others, because of State EPA standards, may use a clear “water-based” lacquer finished coating. A water-based lacquer will naturally dissipate exposing the finish below it. However, even a durable powder coat finish will fade somewhat over time, particularly when fully exposed to the Sun. Some people tend to think that extreme weather is the biggest factor in affecting a finish when in reality, it is ultraviolet rays from the Sun.
A living finish can be sealed as well. Sealing a living finish will slow down or halt weathering. Keep in mind that sealing a living finish will darken the color.
So here is what you can do;
Clean your light fixture, mailbox, doorbell, house numbers or door hardware with a soft cloth rag and very mild detergent such as dish-washing liquid. Then wipe completely dry immediately after cleaning. Do not use any chemicals or abrasives of any kind! A chemical can remove any possible sealer that is part of the finish.
SEAL & PROTECT:
Then you want to apply a sealer of some sort to help revive the finish and protect it from the elements. If you have some clear furniture paste wax on hand (such as Johnson's Paste Wax), you can apply a couple coats of paste wax, let it dry and wipe it off leaving a coating on the finish. If you have some lemon Pledge or even Stainless Steel Polish around, you can apply a coating of this. It will also revive and seal the finish because they typically have some silicone in it. If you are concerned about applying anything to the finish, then Endust is a safe bet because it does not have silicone. In either case, the application will darken the finish but will lighten up within a few hours or so. You should apply a sealer to all of these items at least a couple of times per year. It will prolong the life of the finish.
PLAN B - REFINISH:
So lets say none of this works to your liking. You can then consider refinishing yourself. The quickest and easiest method is to spray paint. These days, there are so many color options and spray paint types available from textured finishes to high gloss or matte. For mailboxes, house numbers, and doorbells, make sure to clean and dry well before spraying. It is best to remove the items and spray paint them in a protected area where over-spray will not affect anything. For light fixtures, uninstall them (make sure to turn the power off). If you are able to remove the glass in the light fixture easily, then that is the best method. If not, mask off the glass with painters tape. For door hardware, either remove the door hardware or mask off the door and door trim before spraying. Make sure to plug or mask the keyhole. Keep in mind that spray painting door hardware will not be a permanent fix. There will be scrapes and scratches just from normal use. In all cases, with spray painting, apply in very thin coats and let dry thoroughly in between coatings. Do not over apply making the finish too thick.
If cleaning up or attempting to revitalize any of these items does not work satisfactorily, then Oak Park Home & Hardware can assist in selecting appropriate replacements. Many customers will email us a picture of where the item will be installed asking for our recommendations. Look through our site and let us know if we can help!