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How to Refinish Sun-Damaged Wood Doors

Laura Wallace Henderson

Your doors are may provide visitors with their first impression of your home. Wooden doors can enhance the appearance of your home, but sun-damaged doors can detract from it. Unfortunately, wooden doors tend to weather quicker than steel-plated doors, especially in locations subject to intense sunlight.

Refinishing your doors can help protect them from further sun damage.

Refinishing a sun-damaged wooden door can help repair existing flaws and minimize further damage.

  1. Tap the hinge pins out with a hammer. Remove your door from its hinges. Use a screwdriver to take off the doorknob, deadbolt locks and hinges. Cover the top of your sawhorses with a layer of old towels to protect the surface of your door. Lay your door on the sawhorses, placing the exterior side up.

  2. Sand down the existing paint or finish with a power sander and a piece of 80-grit sandpaper. Using light pressure, move your power sander along the wooden panels in the direction of the grain. Buff off the finish on all your broad, flat surfaces in this manner. Stop sanding as soon as you reveal the bare wood. Wipe the particles from your door with a clean rag.

  3. Apply a chemical stripper to curves, ridges and grooves. Use a small sponge or cotton swab to work the stripper into the indentations. Allow the stripper to set for the amount of time recommended on the product’s label. Wipe off the softened finish with a clean, soft rag. Remove stubborn areas of paint or varnish with a second application of stripper. Use a damp cloth to wipe off any residue.

  4. Remove any dust, lint and paint particles. Brush off visible debris with a dry cloth. Wipe your door with a piece of tack cloth to eliminate small particles that you can’t readily see. These small hairs and dust specks can cause bumps in your finish and increase the risk of peeling and flaking.

  5. Apply a coat of UV-resistant varnish or polyurethane, labeled for exterior use. Use long strokes along the direction of the wood’s grain. Use a thin coat to avoid bubbles and drips. Let the first coat of finish dry for the recommended amount of time. Avoid touching the finish while it cures. Apply a second coat over your first coat.

  6. Attach your doorknob, deadbolt and hinge hardware once the finish dries completely. Hang your door back onto the door frame.

  7. Warning

    Use chemical strippers, polyurethane finishes and varnishes in well-ventilated areas.