We often receive questions from our clients similar to this one:
“What do I do about the minor surface scratches on my elevator doors without having to resurface or replace the doors?”
We have some great tips for taking care of those minor surface scratches. Depending on the type of door you have and the severity of the scratch, there are different ways to go about fixing it.
Stainless Steel or Bronze Doors
Stainless steel and bronze doors can have an easy fix. A Scotch-Brite cleaning pad – yes, the same stainless steel pot cleaning pads you use in the kitchen – can be used to repair slight scratches or abrasions in stainless steel or bronze doors. The safest way to use the pad is to blend the scratch into the same satin finish direction of the overall area, since a satin finish can be polished to different levels of #4 to #8 – a mirror look. For #8 mirror finish a more professional person may be required to restore a final finish.
However, check the finish of your door before you start. Bronze doors are usually factory coated with a clear lacquer and the lacquer should be removed before attempting to eliminate the scratch. The lacquer can be removed with solvents like lacquer thinner, which are dangerous materials and should only be used in well ventilated environments.
Scratches deeper than the surface mark have to be gradually sanded down with coarser abrasives. There is a series of sanding that would move from more coarse to less coarse abrasives until the scratch is worked out.
Non Metal Finishes
Today there are a wide variety of finishes inside the car: glass, woven wire, leather, and decorative etched/plated metals. You can etch these chemically or mechanically (engraving). If a finish on the door is mechanical (cut or etched into the door) or chemical (treated across the surface of the door), a simple rub with a pad won’t work.
One suggestion is that before you take on this project, contact your elevator industry professional (like Pride and Service Elevator) to examine the issue on your doors. If the damage is truly severe, you may be able to clad any door with a new surface that is no more than 1/16th of an inch thick so it doesn’t negate the fire rating of the door.
The original touch up paint may no longer be available. You can fill in a deep scratch (down to the metal) to avoid rust build up by closely matching the color from the original manufacturer; inquire with you service contractor. Or, you could visit a local paint store. Instead of just filling in the scratch, the entire door may have to be sanded and spray painted (electrostatically, preferred) by a professional painter. Use of solvent based paints are hazardous and there are enforcing authority restriction on how, when, and where this work can be performed.