How to Restore a Weathered Wooden Front Door

If your wooden front door has seen better days, it might just be time to treat it to a full restoration. Not only will this conserve and protect the wood but it will completely transform the appearance of the house. The front door is the first thing people home in on and a shabby door…

T he first big question is should you remove the door from its hinges? Well, it is easier to work on but if you don’t have a porch then this is going to create some temperature and security issues for the property. Often, it’s easier to leave the door in place and hanging on its hinges but you need to be able to secure it in a half-open position so that it won’t move. If the door is in very poor condition, then generally, you will be better off taking it off its hinges and restoring it in a workshop or garage where it can be laid flat on a pair of sawhorses.

Preparation is Key

As with any type of DIY project, preparation is essential to a successful outcome.

Glass panels in the door will need protection with painter’s tape and this can also be used to protect door knockers, letterboxes, and keyholes. This is the time to decide whether you want to renew or replace any of the door furniture including locks as this will impact the restoration.

Remove all the Old Paint or Varnish

Stripping back to the bare wood will allow you to assess the condition of the timber, treat it with a wood preservative and then build up layers of colour or varnish to suit your preference. This always gives the best result, but it is a time-consuming and messy job.

However, before you can get to the wood, you’ll need to remove years of grime, old wax finishes or flaking paint. Go all over the door initially with a brass brush. Then using steel wool soaked in wax and polish remover, clean the door until it is free of dirt and grime. Use a clean cotton cloth to remove the excess dirt.

For painted doors, now is the time to apply a paint stripper. This will give you the option of repainting the door in a fresh colour or leaving it natural, bare wood which is just treated and then waxed and polished. A mixture of paint stripper and a sander will restore the door to bare wood.

Restoring and Treating the Wood

The bare wood should be treated with a wood preservative and left to dry for two or three days. Any rotten areas can be repaired either with filler if they are small or sections of wood spliced in. Finally, sand the door lightly with a hand sander, hand sanders are easy to work around the shaping and curves of some door styles.

Add Paint or Wood Stain

Add paint colour or wood stain to suit your preference. You may need several layers and with paint, there should be a primer followed by an undercoat before you add two or three layers of topcoat. It can be easier to re-hang the door before you paint it as the hinges will help and this is a good opportunity to check the fitting of the door especially if you have removed several layers of old paint. Otherwise, if you are in a workshop or garage, you’ll need to find a way to hang the door securely so you can paint it. If you’re leaving the door as natural wood, then paint it with three to four coats of tung oil. This will finish and protect the wood but needs time to dry between each application. A varnish will help protect the door against weathering and the damaging impact of UV rays.

Replace or Renew Door Furniture

Old brass fittings can be restored by hand using brass cleaning and preservative products, just make sure they are designed for brass and not for another metal.

When you re-hang the door, it may need easing if you have added several layers of paint. Sometimes, it can be useful to call in a professional at this point as they are experts at this job and have all the tricks of the trade. A full restoration job is often better off given to a restoration company as you’ll probably get a better result and it will be quicker.

We repair and restore timber doors and windows for all types of properties including traditional and period properties right through to contemporary homes. We can work on-site or in our workshop and finish doors and windows in any colour. We use traditional techniques combined with the best modern materials to produce a beautiful result, the crowning glory of your home.

Contact us here to find out more about our repair and restoration service plus we also manufacture bespoke timber windows and doors for both old and new properties.