Sunlight, rain, and snow each affect natural wood. As time goes by, your stunning wooden door begins to fade and look less striking.
Fortunately, there’s a trick to strengthen the wood while restoring its original beauty. Refinishing is an amazing method that protects the material and returns the shine.
If you’ve had your wooden front door for over five years and it’s starting to look dull or beat up, embarking on a refinishing project might be the best option. But you’re going to need some advice to help you along the way. Read about how to refinish an exterior door the easy way for a magnificent finish.
Don’t Skip the Essential Prepping Steps
Prepping the door is the only way to achieve a gorgeous new finish. Here are the crucial steps you must follow to do the job efficiently.
Remove the Door From the Hinges
Attempting to refinish a door while it’s on the hinges is quite a challenge. It’s much easier to remove the door from the hinges and start the work when you have a clear and comfortable workspace.
Place the door on a tall, flat, and sturdy surface. Sawhorses are great tools to ensure the process commences smoothly and the door stays secure.
Take Off the Hardware
To ensure there’s nothing obstructing you from applying an even finish, remove all the hardware from the door. Unscrew the doorknob or handle, deadbolt, hinges, mortise plate, and any other embellishments. Store the items in a safe location until it’s time to place the door back on its hinges.
Clean the Door for the First Time
After sitting outside each day, the door needs some loving care. Start by dusting the surface with a microfiber cloth.
Next, mix mild dish soap and water together in a bucket. Take a soft sponge and place it in the soapy water. Remember to wring out as much water as you can before placing it on the surface. Excessive moisture isn’t ideal for wood doors. The goal is to clean away any debris in the way, not soak the wood.
Once all the stains disappear, grab another bowl of water that’s fresh and clean to rinse away any soap residue. Finally, you can dry the surface with a fresh microfiber towel.
Start Sanding Away the Previous Finish
The next step doesn’t have to be frightening. It’s a key part of the preparation process that you can’t skip!
Start by sanding away the finish with 80-grit sandpaper. The initial tougher sandpaper will break up the finish to get the process started.
From there, switch to 100-grit, then 120-grit for the final sanding process. The 120-grit is an incredibly fine level of sandpaper that will make the surface very smooth.
If you have a carved wood front door, don’t forget to sand each of the detailed curves and corners. These areas are just as necessary to sand as the larger flat surfaces of the door.
It’s common to encounter some difficulty removing the previous finish. After all, manufacturers made it to be durable! Continue sanding until the previous finish disappears.
Don’t forget to protect yourself during this step by wearing a dust mask and protective eyewear.
The Second Round of Cleaning
After ridding the door of the previous finish and any imperfections, you have to clean the door for a second time.
This time around, there’s no need to use water. Simply use a microfiber cloth to remove any dust lingering on the surface. Pay close attention to the small grooves of the door to ensure there isn’t any dust hiding behind.
Left behind dust and debris will become stuck in the final product. Once you have the wood door thoroughly cleaned up and dry, you can move on to applying the new finish.
How Do You Choose the Right Finish?
Now that you’ve completed the prepping process, you must think about which type of finish you plan to add to the door.
Do You Add a Stain?
The first question you must consider is if you should add a stain to the wood or not. After sanding and exposing the raw wood, you have the power to alter the shade of the wood.
Keep in mind the type of wood that makes up the door. Cedar, red oak, white oak, and mahogany are some of the potential wood species your door might be.
Add a Varnish To Seal the Door
Varnish is one of the strongest finishes for exterior doors, composed of resin, oil, and solvents. Many people choose it for its thick properties and ability to eliminate fading from the sun. The shiny gloss and incredible color will offer ample protection for your front door.
Apply the Finish
Once you’ve made your decision about the stain and the topcoat, you can begin the final step of the finishing project.
If you decide to stain the door, you’ll start here. Begin at the top of the door and work your way down to the base using a brush. With a clean microfiber cloth, wipe away any excess stain. It’s essential to ensure the stain soaks into the wood and won’t leave any drips behind. Keep in mind that the longer the stain sits, the darker it will become.
Next, it’s time to apply the topcoat of your choice. Double-check the instructions to ensure you apply the product properly. Some topcoats recommend a single coat, while others may recommend up to three coats.
Follow Up the Finish With a Polish
Once the topcoat is finally dry, you can consider following up with a polish! It’s a great method to maintain your freshly finished door.
A polyurethane polish is a waterproof substance that will safeguard the door from moisture. Or you can apply a wax-based polish to reduce the appearance of scratches and enhance the shine.
Put the Door Back in Place
The final step is to return the door to its original position. Reattach the hardware and secure the door onto the hinges. Double-check that each of the components works fluidly so that you don’t encounter any locking or movement complications.
Throughout the process, it’s crucial to take your time. Keep yourself safe and pay close attention to each step. You’ll preserve the life of your exterior wooden door by following these easy ways for refinishing.
With the gorgeous new finish shimmering in the sunlight, you can marvel at your incredible accomplishment for years to come.