Refinishing a Front Door

So your front door is weathered?

We all know the signs. The wood begins to warp, the paint begins to crack, the hinges Front Doorrust, the corners may even dent. Over time, weather and usage take a grueling toll on your front door. Often times, the desire is simply to replace the door with something that is mass-produced, contains metal and fiberglass, or is low maintenance. Sometimes, however, a truly timeless door should be salvaged. This can be done by refinishing a wooden door.

Once you make the decision to preserve and refinish your door, how do you begin? Fortunately, this can be an inexpensive project.

  1. Preparation

    To get started, isolate your wooden door. Take it out of the doorway and remove all the hardware. Lay it flat across a couple sawhorses to create a workspace for yourself.

  2. Sand

    Start with a rough, 80-grit sandpaper to remove old varnish. Go over it again with a 100-grit paper, and then once more with a 120-grit paper to fully clean the wood. Remember to pay close attention to folds and crevices where the old varnish is likely to have collected. For troublesome spots, including spots where the sander will not reach, you can go over it with small, sharp scrapers, and again with a sanding sponge. Once completely sanded, use either a small vacuum or a duster to remove excess and settled sawdust.

  3. First Coat

    Before completely covering the door, go over the edges of it with your sealant. Once the edges are dried, rehang the door in its doorway without its hardware. This will keep the finish from being damaged by rehanging later. Using a new, China-bristle brush and spar varnish (preferably one with UV-protection for outdoor use), begin applying the finish to the door. Start first at the panels, then move out towards the moldings, rails, and stiles. Remember to brush with the grain. Allow the first coat of paint to dry completely without closing the door for the first 24 hours.

  4. Second and Third Coat

    The next day, take a 220-grit paper to gently smooth the first coat and remove any clumps. After giving the door a quick dust, brush on a second coat, once again letting it dry over night. Finally, on the third day, use an even finer paper for a last smooth down. Then dust, and apply a third and final coat. Once dry, reapply the hardware and enjoy your new door!

Refinishing a door is a simple, inexpensive update that will keep the front of your house looking clean and fresh. Spending three days every 3-5 years is a great solution to maintain an attractive entry way.

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