Wooden doors are a beautiful feature of every house if looked after properly. It can add a sense of cottage core style that is highly sought after in today’s architecture. However, over time, wooden doors can lose their charm and appear rather worn down and as something of a scary horror movie. Especially the front or any wooden door exposed to the outside elements, such as sunlight, rain, wind and humidity. If your door is starting to look like something from an abandoned house, look at our tips on renovating wooden doors.
The first step in renovating your door is removing it from the hinges. Although you could do a simple lamination with the door still standing, it is recommended to remove the door altogether. This way, you will get into all the possible corners and spaces when caring for the door. This process is simple, as all you need is a screwdriver to help unscrew the hinges and something that will hold your door in place. Be careful, as the door might be heavier than you expect if you choose to use something other than what the door should lean on. When your door is out of its hinges, you must remove all the rest. Even if you plan a simple re-varnishing, getting all the other amenities down, such as a doorknob, mail slot, kick plate, handle, and everything that could be in the way, is necessary.
If your door has a glossy finish, you might also need a paint stripper to remove the residue finish before you can start sanding off the wood.
Now, this part requires the most skill as you get to use sanding tools. We recommend starting with a power sander first, as this will make the whole process faster and smoother. Also, this will make the sanding more even. When you finish the power sander, you can move to a small hand sander to get even the edges and curves. Feel free to get all in there, as the tediousness of the process will all pay off in the end. We recommend starting with 60-grit paper and working up to 180-grit paper for a smooth, even result.
Before you sand, beware of glass. If your door has a glass feature, it might get damaged during the power sander process. Ensure you cover all glass with paper or cloth and secure the edges with tape to minimise any accidents.
After you sand your door, you are left with a mess. It would help if you got this all out before applying a varnish so no dust bits get trapped during varnishing. The best way to do this is to take a vacuum, just the hose of it, and get fully in there. Do not miss all the small crevices and gaps, as the dust might get trapped there. If you are outside on a hotter day, it is also beneficial to take a small damp cloth and run it all over the door after dusting. Just to be extra sure. Leave the door to dry thoroughly before you move to the next step.
Examine your door for any damage, including small holes or uneven surfaces. Use a wood filler for any damages you would like to smooth out. A wood filler will smoothly fill in cracks and be unrecognisable after varnish application. When choosing a wood filler, choose an epoxy resin wood filler, which is the best type of wood filler for filling extensive damages to timber, both inside and outside.
Now for the most fun and satisfying part. The varnish application is the most critical step, making the most significant difference. Ensure you are using an exterior varnish, as the interior varnish lacks special additives that help protect the door from bad weather. If you renovate an indoor door, you can use interior varnish. If you only have an exterior one, you can use it for an internal door; you won’t use all its advantages. When applying, do not stick to just one coat. Applying around 2 to 3 coats for the best effect is best. Be sure that each coat has thoroughly dried before applying the next coat.
Et voilá, you are now done. As you take pride in your work, re-hang your door and be sure you attach it well. First, reattach all of the hardware, and before doing so, give it a little polish while you are at it. For a shiny look, you might use some elbow grease or a silver polisher. You might also provide the door frame with a bit of a scrub since the door is out of the way. Once you are done, re-hang your door carefully and tighten the hinges. Be sure to mind your fingers!