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Ask an Expert: Who can strip our metal door frames--and how much will it cost?

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Q. We are undertaking a room by room renovation of our prewar.  First is the guest bedroom and bath. There are 4 doors and door frames which are metal.  

We would love to keep at least the door frames but they are in desperate need of stripping.  We can't find anyone who does that work and we cannot do ourselves.  

What is the going rate to strip metal door frames and how do I locate such a service in the Midtown area?

A. "It's often a frustrating and time consuming  process to strip the paint of metal surfaces, with limited results," says architect Thomas Degnan of Degnan Design Group.

"Depending on how many frames there are and how discerning the homeowner is," he says, "it may be more cost effective to remove the frame/door and replace with new components."

Thought the amount varies by the age of the building, there are likely multiple layers of lead based paint on the door frames, hinges and doors of the apartment, which presents a challenge to effectively remove since it bonds to the metal surface over several decades, says Degnan.  

Also, NYC has stringent Lead Based Paint Laws which should be reviewed first.  

"The key is finding an experienced painter/metal refinisher who can do a good job for a reasonable cost," says Michael Simeone, an architect at Rand Engineering & Architecture. "Does the building require contractors to have insurance?  I would recommend working with contractors who carry adequate liability insurance to protect you and the building.  Get references to help assure that the painter you hire can be expected to perform the work on time, on budget, and to a high standard." 

To find an experienced metal/painter refinisher, Simeone recommends asking neighbors and friends.

"Janovic Plaza is another good place to ask for recommendations for qualified painters," he says.  "You can also check the advertisements in shelter/decorating magazines in print and online."

Pricewise, you can probably buy a sofa for what you'll spend on stripping 4 door frames.

"My firm would charge approximately $750 for stripping a metal door frame beautifully," says Yoel Borgenicht, the president of King Rose Contracting. "The variables that affect pricing are the amounts of paint that is currently on the frames, the quantity of items to be stripped and how much protection is needed for the surrounding areas."

General contractor Jeff Streich of Prime Renovations says his firm would probably charge around $500 each, depending on how much paint is in the frames.


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