How To Refinish A Door

Whether you want to update the look of your door with a fresh lick of paint, it’s good to start right at the beginning. Stripping the first layer of paint can reduce the danger of adding another layer of paint which may cause blistering. At Arnold Laver we have a dedicated department for all kinds of doors for interior and exterior use, with many suitable for refinishing with stains, paints or varnishes.

How To Strip A Wooden Door

There are many different ways to strip a door to its base and reveal its original look, or to prepare it for varnishing, staining or painting. No matter how many layers of paint you’re about to tackle on a wooden door, the most common way to strip a wooden door is to use a paint stripper solution that is available at most hardware stores or online. Caustic paint strippers have the potential to discolour the wood itself, so solvent based paint strippers may be the preferred option though safety precautions should always be taken.

Things you will need to strip paint from the door:

  • Protective plastic floor sheet
  • Screwdriver
  • Paint stripping product – solvent based
  • Heavy duty protective gloves & clothing
  • Goggles or eye mask to protect eyes
  • White vinegar and sponge
  • Rag
  • Masking tape
  • Wire brush or steel wool
  • Spreading knife
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Pull scraper
  • Bin bags or cling film to cover door whilst the stripper works

When it comes to starting the task of stripping paint from a wooden door, it’s much easier to remove the door from its hinges and take it to a safer, outdoor environment to do the paint stripping. If the door is very old, there may be the presence of lead, so sand only after all of the layers of paint have been removed to avoid disturbing toxic dust into the air.

  1. Remove all hardware from the door – Use a screwdriver to remove door handles, etc. Cover any glass areas with masking paper and masking tape to protect these areas from the solution.
  2. Prepare the paint stripper – Use a bucket and always wear your protective clothing, masks and gloves to avoid getting any of the harmful substance onto your skin and clothes.
  3. Test the paint stripper solution – To do this, simply carry out a patch test on the door by applying the stripping solution in a tapered fashion (thick to thin) to a small area, cover it and leave it to work. This will show how much paint stripper will be required and how long it will need to work on the amount of paint you have to remove!
  4. Apply the paint stripper to the door – After completing the patch test, it should be clear how much stripper will be needed to remove the paint, so apply it all over the door. Wearing your protective gloves, use the scraper to apply.
  5. Allow the paint to dissolve – Cover the door with bin bags or cling film to allow the paint stripper to do it’s work and turn the paint into a water-soluble residue. This length of time the paint will need to dissolve will depend on how many layers there are.
  6. Remove the paint stripper paste and paint – After a length of time, remove the covering and if the softened paint peels away, you’ll know that it’s ready to be taken off. Put excess coverings and paint in a bin bag and tie it up immediately for disposal.
  7. Scrub away residue and wipe away deposits – Start the clean up by scrubbing away residual paint, which can be done with a wire brush, sponge and warm water.

White crystalline deposits may become apparent after removing layers of paint, but they can be removed easily by brushing them off the door and rinsing the surface again. It’s important to neutralise the wood further by mixing one part white vinegar and three parts water and applying with a sponge, then allow the wooden door to dry naturally.

Embracing the natural wood

If you’re choosing to spruce up the natural wood effect that the door has been left with after removing paint, there are some simple steps you can perform to get the door looking great. If the old hardware looks a bit worn, use a steel wool sponge dipped in oil to rub away rusty deposits that can occur naturally over time. Tighten up any loose screws on the hinge and drop some oil on these areas to reduce unwanted creaks. When it comes to smoothing down the wood, for an excellent finished result we recommend using a fine grade glass paper rubbed following the grain of the wood. Finish with some much needed nourishment! Liquid beeswax can protect the door from the drying effects of central heating or for extra shine use a wax polish.

Wooden Doors at Arnold Laver

If you’d love a brand new wooden door for your home, why not take a look at our wide range of wooden doors for your internal and external door requirements? Hardwood doors, pine doors and oak doors are classic options, whilst the walnut doors offer a more contemporary finish with the darker pre-finished wood. Knotty pine doors offer a distinctive look with large knots in the grain of wood for a unique finish with every door. Our range of wooden doors will be ideal for those who enjoy the rustic aesthetic of a natural door.

White primed and white moulded doors have been finished for you and can be used to brighten up any room. Use the white primed doors as a basis to paint your own colour or leave them white. We have a number of different moulded door types for you to choose from including six panel, glazed, bi-fold, four panel and two panel, so there is something to suit everyone’s tastes.

We hope that you’ve found our guide to refinishing a wooden door helpful, with plenty of tips on how to strip, paint, varnish and stain a door to suit your needs. Browse our complete range of wooden doors at Arnold Laver for some high quality door options for your home!

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