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How to restore a front door step-by-step

Knowing how to restore a front door is worth learning if you want to maximise your curb appeal. That’s why revamping your property with a front door restoration is a great way to refresh your first impression.

Knowing how to restore a front door is worth learning if you want to maximise your curb appeal. That’s why revamping your property with a front door restoration is a great way to refresh your first impression.

Front doors get a lot of flack. Used every day to welcome you and your guests, it’s no wonder they need a little extra TLC once in a while. Even hard-wearing fibreglass and uPVC doors require some maintenance every now and then.

That said, this how-to guide is going to focus on how to restore a front door made from classic hardwood materials. With the right care and consideration, you will ensure its longevity and help it stand the test of time.

Front door restoration

It’s often obvious when it’s time to refresh your front door. Cracks, flakes, chipped paint and weathered wood are all key indicators. Depending on the severity, it might be worth hiring a professional to replace or restore your door.

Often, DIY jobs don’t treat the underlying cause sufficiently, which leads to further repairs down the line. If you find yourself fixing your front door more than once a year, it’s time to call in a professional.

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If you’re still keen on learning how to restore a wooden front door yourself, then follow our step-by-step guide below.

Tools you’ll need for the job

Before you get started, consider adding the following items to your arsenal:

Front door restoration guide - blue door outside terraced house

  • Protective outerwear – dust mask, gloves, safety goggles
  • Paint stripper
  • Limewash
  • Steel wool
  • Cotton cloths
  • Brass brush and brass cleaner
  • Filling knife
  • Masking tape/painters tape
  • Wax and polish remover
  • Pure tung oil
  • Frame sealant
  • Weatherproof door paint
  • Sander

How to restore a front door

Top tip: Before you get started, use your painter’s tape to cover and protect any glass, knockers, letterboxes and keyholes.

Step one: Consider removing the door from its hinges

For doors that are severely weather-beaten, it might be better to remove them from their hinges so you can easily work in them. For doors with less damage, you might get away with leaving them on their hinges.

If you do remove the door, lay it flat on a pair of sawhorses.

Step two: Clean the door

Don your protective outerwear and start to clean off any old wax finishes or flaking paint using the brass brush initially. Next, go over the door with steel wool soaked in wax and polish remover until the door is free of ancient grime. Finally, use a clean cotton cloth to remove the excess dirt.

Step three: Apply a paint stripper

If your door is painted, now might be the time to strip the colour and start from scratch. You might even consider leaving your door au naturale and giving it a wax and polish.

Regardless, if there is old and weathered paint, apply a paint stripper or use a sander to remove the old colour and return your door to its nude origins.

Step four: Fill any issues with lime mortar

Once your door is clean and stripped, the problem areas should be more apparent. Prepare your lime mortar and use it to fill in any gaps, chips or cracks. Leave it to set for 2-3 days.

Note: This step isn’t suitable for front doors you’ve taken off the hinges. If you want to fill those and reattach your door within a day, use a quick set mortar.

Step five: Sand down the door

Use a sander to smooth any lumps and bumps still visible on your door. We recommend a hand sander to allow for ease of access in any nook and cranny in your door. When finished, wipe down so there isn’t a trace of sawdust.

Step six: Paint or stain your door

Now your door is prepped, it’s time to paint it in your choice of colour or apply a wood stain. Apply with a brush and make sure it saturates the wood evenly by wiping it with a cotton cloth or rag.

Front door restoration guideTop tip: If you’re leaving your doors as exposed wood, condition them with 3-4 coats of pure tung oil. You’ll need to leave 24-hours in between applications.

Step seven: Apply a varnish

Once your door is dry, the final coat is to weatherproof it against UV rays and harsh conditions. That’s why it’s important you choose an exterior varnish with these protective credentials.

Step eight: Clean or replace your features

Now all you need to do is reattach your door and either clean or replace the doorknob, knocker, letterbox and keyhole. If they’re brass, polish them up using some brass cleaner. For other metals, use a hardy polish and buffer to make it gleam.

Top tip: Don’t forget to clean and repair your doorstep using limewash too!


Should I hire a professional?

Although we’re a fan of DIY jobs, we always recommend hiring a professional to help you restore or repair important features like a front door. The likelihood of a robust outcome is much higher, saving you from making costly mistakes.

Victorian front door restoration advice

As Victorian front doors are delicate period features, we wouldn’t advise tackling a restoration by yourself. To make sure your door is returned to its former glory, hire a professional to help you.

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Mrs j atack

What’s the price to have a over front door shelter fitted please

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