front door painting, door painting, entry door painting

Options for refinishing your Wooden Entry Door

Options for Refinishing your Wooden Entry Door

The sheer frequency of use and exposure to weather elements can quickly wear your wooden door. If your front door is beginning to look beaten and dated, replacing it isn’t your only option. Entry door refinishing can restore your door’s glory and make it look new again.

However, you need to choose the best type of finish that will give your door a great look as well as ensure durability. There’re quite a number of things you need to consider when deciding on which finish to use on your front door. And if you’re not sure how to go about it, we will be glad to help. Read on…

Type of Wood

The first thing you need to find out before considering any type of finish is the type of wood your entry door is made of. If your front door is made from hardwoods such as oak or mahogany, you should avoid using a wood conditioner prior to staining –doing so will seal the wood and prevent absorption of the stain. The final result will be less resistant to wear and much lighter. A conditioner is only suitable for softwoods like pine as it helps with the uniform distribution of the stain.


If you have a stained door, you can simply cover it with a number of UV resistant varnish or polyurethane coats –just remember to avoid anything lacquer-based. The general efficiency of the UV protection depends on the thickness of the coat applied. So to get the best results, always consult the application instructions on the packaging. If you can, try to use products from the same manufacturer to minimize the chances of incompatibility. To get a better quality finish, you can sand each coat lightly with a fine sandpaper.


Staining and varnishing is an excellent way to show off your wooden door –with all the grains and perfect imperfections intact. However, you will have to sand that varnish every 2-3 years to maintain the good looks. Sanding helps to remove the top coat which by that time will be showing some signs of damage from the elements.

If sanding is not done as recommended above, you will be forced to refinish the whole door once the base layers begin peeling off. The choice of your stain color is entirely up to you, but always be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations on the packaging before you start your project. Again, don’t use a lacquer-based stain on your front wooden door.


Paint is perhaps the most durable finish for a wooden door. Paint has the highest resistance to weather elements and sun damage as well as wear and tear that comes with frequent use. For the best results, do proper preparation including cleaning, sanding and stripping where necessary. After preparation is done, be sure to use a primer for the best results. Once the primer dries completely, sand the surface lightly before applying 2-3 coats of paint.

Latex, enamel or oil-based paints are the best options for front door refinishing. Using a water-based paint on exterior doors will cause them to wear and fade much faster than you expected. The painted wooden front door can last anywhere between 5 -8 years before requiring a new paint job. For proper maintenance, you can keep your doors in a good condition by regular cleaning and fixing cracked or chipped paint timely.

Tips for staining and vernishing your wooden front doors

• Remove Door From Hinges: Remove the door by removing hinge pins. Lay the door on a flat surface, such as two sawhorses.
• Sand the Door: Use a palm sander with fine grit to give the door a light sanding. Keep the palm sander moving -if you leave it too long in one spot, you’ll damage the wood.
• Wipe and Condition: After sanding, wipe with a tack cloth to remove all dust. Follow with a pre-conditioner that will help the wood absorb the stain more evenly.
• Stain the Door: Next, use a stain in your favorite color.
• Varnish, Dry, and Mount: After the stain dries, finish with a varnish to protect the wood.

Most front door refinishing projects can be tricky to pull off if you don’t have the training and experience –in this case, it’s best to enlist the services of a professional painting contractor.