How do I strip and restain an exterior wood door?

Questions & AnswersCategory: Wood Finishing and Refinishing QuestionsHow do I strip and restain an exterior wood door?
Adriane asked 10 years ago

I would like to strip and restain my exterior door due to weather peeling the finish in spots and leaving bare wood. I don’t want to take the door down as I’m a single mom and don’t have the “manpower”.

3 Answers
Crowder Painting answered.

Stripping off the existing finish can be difficult depending on the overall condition and style of your door. If the clear finish is simply peeling in spots or areas with the stain in overall good condition then sanding is a better option. All of the finish and stain can be removed by sanding as long as the door is solid wood. It isn't always necessary to remove the existing stain and finish to redo or refinish a door.

The existing finish and some of the stain can be chemically stripped as well. This option won't be easy. Using a mild environmentally friendly paint stripper might work. I have found that they usually don't work as well as a old fashioned smelly caustic paint stripper.

Now you have a choice, use a paint stripper or sand. It is possible to do either while your door is still installed on the frame. It all starts with removing the lock set and anything else that is removable. Make sure to protect glass with two layers of masking tape, covering the glass edges. Also cover the floor under the door with thick 6 mil plastic or cardboard.

If you plan on using a paint stripper, use a plastic scraper and steel wood to remove the stripper and old finish. After rinsing, sand off the remaining stain with 120 grit sandpaper then finish sanding with hand sanding in the direction of the wood grain (150 grit).

Sanding starts with a course grit, 80-100 grit, to remove the bulk of finish and stain. Progress to a finer grit, 120, then finish with hand sanding with 150 grit sandpaper. Using a palm sander for most of the work is a good idea. Always finish with hand sanding.

Now you can stain the door. A wiping stain is the easiest to use. Apply the stain with a brush or sponge applicator. Allow the stain to dry over night then apply two coats of clear wood finish for protection.

Anonymous answered.

Yes like many other women out there I'm trying to do it myself….its taking some time but I'm getting there one side is all sanded but I think I'll use a paint stripper on the other side it sounds to me like it would be easier to do thank you!

Anonymous answered.

I feel for all single women that try to manage repairs themselves including me. I have the same problem and will try your methods. Thank you for the tips.