Wood Entry Door Refinishing: Mistakes to Avoid

Compared to other household doors, a wood entry door needs more periodic maintenance. Entry doors are exposed to more traffic than internal doors. Entry doors are also constantly exposed to weather extremes. Furthermore, doors made of wood tend to age faster than metallic doors or doors made from synthetic fibers. Refinishing a wooden entry door is a sensible way to refurbish the door in an affordable and relatively easy way. Refinishing the doors does not require professional assistance. It can be easily done with basic household tools and some woodworking knowledge. Please read the following section to understand some of the most common entry door repair mistakes that you should avoid.

Mistake 1 – Wrongful Positioning of a Wood Entry Door While Refinishing

Many homeowners complicate things by trying to refinish the door while it is still attached to its hinges. This approach limits accessibility to the different door surfaces, causing patchy finishing. It is recommended that you remove the door and place it on a level surface. Dislodging the door is easy. You can do it with simple tools like a hammer and a screwdriver. Ideally, you should seek assistance from someone while removing the door, since most entry doors are quite heavy. Lifting them alone could lead to physical injuries. The best way to position a wood entry door is to place it on a couple of sawhorses. You can use the padded version of sawhorses to ensure that the door’s surface is not harmed.

Mistake 2 – Mishandling a Wood Entry Door Hardware During Refinishing

Some people tend to refinish around the existing door hardware. They believe that the refinishing will conceal the surface scratches that are commonly found around the door’s handle/latches. This is a mistaken opinion. Usually, the hardware on aged wood entry doors tends to have a weathered appearance, which will lower the aesthetic appeal of a newly-refinished door. Secondly, the untreated surface under the hardware can be revealed at a later stage if the weathered hardware gets dislocated. To ensure a uniform refinished surface, you should always remove the door’s hardware and refinish the underlying surface too. Each hardware item should be polished or at least cleaned before re-installing it on the refinished door. It is better to re-install the hardware when the door is still lodged between the sawhorses. Trying to install the hardware on a hinged door can induce cracks along the door’s surface. This happens due to lack of overall stability during the hammering/screwing activities performed on a standing door.

Mistake 3 – Mishandling Stained/Paint Finishing of Wood Entry Door

The stained finish is essentially about creating a naturalistic, wood-like appearance. Stained finishing is time-consuming since each layer of applied finish needs to be completely dry before the next coating is applied. If the process is rushed through, the refinished surface will have an unpleasant, paint-like appearance. To ensure better coverage during stain finishing, use lint-free cloth. This cloth is ideal for inserting the finishing material deep into the wood grain. This helps to quicken the drying process too, since smaller amounts of staining material need to be applied. Similarly, if you plan to use the painted finish, the sanded and cleaned door surface should be coated with a layer of primer. This ensures that the color coatings have a uniform surface to bond to. This also helps minimize the number of coatings of paint that need to be applied. The smaller the amount of paint applied, the more natural is the door’s refinished surface will be.

WARNING: check the wood stain or painted finish to see if it's toxic to breathe in or to touch. Wear protective gloves and clothing while working and apply stain or finish in a ventilated area.