:: aka if there is such a thing as a personal hell – mine would be filled with poorly painted hinges: Part 2

If you have lived in or worked on an old house, you probably know exactly what I mean. There is nothing more frustrating than having to work the paint from the slot(s) of a screw head.

Trying to retract a painted screw without first cutting or chiseling that paint away makes for sure stripage, failure, and further insanity.


We try to avoid this by any means necessary.  So with the precision of a gemologist, we cut, chisel, scrape, and pry.

Restoring Hardware – Why does hardware get painted in the first place?

There are three common reasons I can think of:

1) Design aesthetic

It certainly has been a trend in recent years to paint switch plate covers, HVAC return louvers, etc. in a color that blends them into surrounding wall surfaces.

In this category — too, some will paint cabinet hardware, etc. just for a change in color. And fortunately better info reaching more informed “users” has given us the tools to do this the right way.

Though not my design instinct (I like the contrast offered by these elements even in white), I do not disagree with this, and it works for many. This technique falls outside the scope of this article.

2) Shear laziness

I mean, how often have you seen someone just paint right over door hinges? I am not talking about a little smudge or an accidental drip, I am talking about just running the brush right over them. Design instinct — I find that hard to believe. And in my eyes, it’s indefensible. It only takes a few minutes to remove most hardware completely.

Fine, if it feels like you don’t have the time to dig that deeply into prep, it is easiest enough, still, to take short strips of 1 ½ painter’s tape, placed over a hinge (for example), and later cut neatly at the edges — to protect these surfaces. Worth the time in my opinion.

common reasons hardware is painted :: close up on a painted screw :: A painted screw found in Flickr's Creative Commons (by gigmum2008)

3) To Hide Rust

A few years back, and we have all done it, I hired a guy to paint my shed. As far as guys go, Ed did a fantastic job — except for one thing . He painted the hinges on the shed doors with the same latex paint he had used on the shed’s trim. When I asked him why he painted these hinges, his response was plain and clear. He said, They were starting to rust . . . .


I guess I really never got this. If we know metal rusts when it comes in contact with water, why would you then want to paint over metal with a water-based paint?

Ok, I don’t know all the technology that goes into manufacturing this stuff, and while there may not be any real risk in doing this, still . . . it just doesn’t sound, well, right.

Would This Article Also Help?  Four (Now That the Kids Are) Back to School Fall Project Ideas :: Organize, Paint & Prep for Winter

Next: Using a Professional Refinisher for Removing Paint. For more on Removing Rust from Hardware, see that article too.

>> More Moxie (Related Links):

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/32192133@N02/ / CC BY-NC 2.0

This looks like a pretty good article on painting switch plate covers. Since you are removing covers anyway for painting the walls & because you don’t typically want to paint your outlets or switches — this process if usually performed when the plates are not on the walls.