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An elegant wood front door alone can make a house more welcoming and homely. However, just as your door welcomes you, it also takes in sunlight, rain, and other harsh weather conditions. These circumstances increase the strain to your door, which may wear it out after years of exposure. Fortunately, you can do these steps in the comfort of your own home. The following step-by-step restoring process will tell you how to take care of your wood front door.

1. Remove your door from its hinges

Restoration may take some time, and you would not want to develop bad posture along the way. Because of that, we would recommend detaching your door from its hinges. First, open the door, then support it with some blocks of wood underneath. Those will help keep it steady for easy removal of the hinges. Afterwards, lift the pins on the hinges by using a flat head screwdriver. 

Important note: You should ask someone to assist you in removing the door, especially if it is particularly heavy.

Once the pins are off, you can easily pull it out from its attachments. Lay it flat on a pair of sawhorses or a flat surface, depending on their availability. You should also make sure to work in the shade to protect the door from outdoor conditions.

2. Remove all attached hardware

It is important to remove most of the attached hardware as possible to give you better restoration coverage. You would want to expose all the wood that needs restoration unless your door is relatively new or does not need too much restoration. Remove the doorknobs, handles, mail slots, kick plates, and all other removable items. If your wood door also has glass attachments, it is advisable to cover it with painter’s tape. Covering it will avoid any scratches to the glass during the sanding process.

Important note: Remember the process in which you removed your hardware; it will be important when reinstalling.

3. Sand the whole door down

Before applying anything to your door, we must remove the previous stain and varnish applications. You can do this simply by sanding the wood door. For the flatter parts of the door, a power sander may be used. However, for more intricate carvings, you may work your way up from 60-grit sandpaper to a 180-grit one. These intricate designs will make the sanding process longer, but the result will be much more rewarding!

You might also want to check out: Do-It-Yourself Tips for refinishing sun-damaged doors

4. Apply the stain

Wood stain adds not just colour to wood, but also gives it a protective coating. Using a stain of your choice, apply with a paintbrush or cloth. When staining, we must make sure that enough is applied so that the wood can soak all the colour up. Use painters rag to wipe off the excess after covering the whole door. A second coat can be applied as desired.

Important note: Before proceeding to stain, remember to remove all sawdust and particles from your wood door. This can be done by vacuuming the surface and wiping it after.

5. Varnish the door

It is necessary to use varnish to increase the lifespan of your wood door. An exterior varnish, specifically, is a varnish which caters to doors exposed to UV rays, moisture, and extreme temperatures. Be sure to get this type of varnish for better protection. Apply at least two to three coats of exterior varnish. The finish can also be of your choosing; you may opt for a matte or glossy look.

6. Reinstall the door

As mentioned before, it is important to keep track of how the hardware items were removed, as it is crucial in putting it all back together. You may also want to polish your metal items, especially if they are tarnished. An appropriate metal polish may just do the job for you. After putting all items back, the door can now be reinstalled, sporting its new but classy look!

For other restoration ideas, you can check out: Full restoration of old sash windows you can do in your own home

Pieter Boyce - Wooden Window and door specialist

Pieter Boyce
Wooden Window and Door Specialist

This article was written on behalf of The Wooden Door Company by Pieter Boyce. Pieter has an intense passion for English Architectural history and has been specialising in the conservation of original wooden windows and doors for decades. His exceptional knowledge of timber windows and doors, both listed or non-listed, is attributed to his hands-on approach to learning all aspects of the complete restoration of original features as well as having personally surveyed thousands of items throughout his long tenure as a head surveyor for one of the largest window and door restoration companies in the UK. He now runs a boutique wooden window and door consultancy and fervently champions the retention of original windows and doors. To learn more of Pieter’s services, visit his website at www.boultonboyce.co.uk.