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Refurbish Your Front Door!

Updated on July 21, 2014

Lucy in the Classic "Vitameatavegamin" Bit

Are you feeling a little down?

Did someone think your hair was a hat?

Do people re-gift you?

"Are you tired, run down, listless? Do you poop-out at parties?”

The answer to your quandary is not in the alcohol laced “bittle lottle” that befuddled Lucy in the hilarious classic “Vitameatavegamin” bit, but in the satisfaction of accomplishing a visually creative and needed home repair.

Yes, that’s right…a home repair! You can do it!

Nothing will lift your spirits quicker than an out-of-your-comfort-zone accomplishment. Now that’s a constructive idea.

Buckle up, dig in and let’s get started!

Front Door Needs Refurbishing
Front Door Needs Refurbishing
Clear Coat Flaking Off
Clear Coat Flaking Off
Uneven Weathered Finish
Uneven Weathered Finish

Here’s the Materials You’ll Need

Canvas to protect floor

Step stool

Throwaway rag

60 or 80 grit sandpaper


Good paintbrush

Exterior Stain (one quart size)

Exterior Urethane(one quart size)

Paint Thinner

Sanding With The Grain
Sanding With The Grain
Sanding the Details
Sanding the Details

Here’s the “How-To” Steps

To accomplish your new refurbished stained door you will need approximately four hours (2-3 hrs. first day and 1-2 hours second day). This is not a particularly difficult job. Some moderate sanding required along with easy staining and application of clear coat finish.


If you are comfortable with removing the deadbolt and knob go ahead but it is not necessary. Just be careful not to scratch the metal surfaces as you sand. This same scratch warning goes for any window glass in the door.

  • Protect the floor with your canvas and fold the sand paper to fit your hand. You may want to use some good gloves that protect your hands. Start at the top and always be sure to sand in the direction of the wood’s grain. Your objective is to “knock-down” the deteriorating finish and scruff the remaining old clear coating so the stain will adhere. Use enough strength to blend the bare wood areas with the still intact clear coat. Do not over sand the bare areas…it is not necessary to end with a perfect bare wood finish (just a smooth surface). One of the features of a beautifully refurbished door is the “character” of the uneven wood tones.
  • Your front door most probably has decorative features such as panels. Go ahead and sand the flat plains (In the direction of the wood grain) and continue folding the sandpaper and lightly hit any grooves and curves. If the surface is flaking just “knock” it down. No need to spend a lot of time here. Your goal is to blend the old clear coat finish into the bare wood spots. Don't sand more than you have to.


Thoroughly vacuum the entire door. All the dust must be eliminated before you begin the staining process. Any dust particles left will cause the finish to be unsmooth. To be sure all the dust is gone go ahead and vacuum a second time.

Unstained Sanded Door
Unstained Sanded Door
Smoothly Brush on Stain
Smoothly Brush on Stain


Choose the one quart size in the exact matching exterior non-water based stain. If you cannot determine an exact matching stain then choose a similar lighter shade. Do not go darker. Never shake the can of stain, only stir gently but thoroughly.

  • Start staining at the top. Remember, just like the sanding, you should follow the wood grain.
  • After you have stained the entire door check thoroughly for any runs and smooth them out.
  • Clean brush with paint thinner.

You can wait 3 or four hours as the stain dries or (even better) wait overnight.

Newly Stained Next To Unstained
Newly Stained Next To Unstained

Clear Coat Application

  • Open the exterior (one quart size) non-water based urethane clear satin finish and add a little of the stain (two or three tablespoons approximately) and stir gently (No bubbles). Putting a couple of tablespoons of the stain will help further the transition between the old clear coat and the bare wood patches.
  • Brush on smoothly following the grain of the wood.
  • When finished check for any runs and smooth out.
  • The door must be ajar until the urethane is dry.
  • If you like the finish, you are done! However, it will protect the door better and make for a more uniform finish with a second coat. If you are applying a second coat wait till the 1st clear coat is dry to the touch. Be sure to check for runs on your 2nd coat.

Job Well Done!

Take a good look at your new door!

I'll bet you're feeling a little better, huh? And you didn't need Lucy's "bittle lottle" did you?

Now go get your hair done and throw yourself a party!

But please...try not to be too pretentious...

I Love Lucy!


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    • joeyallen profile image

      Kerry Allen 4 years ago from SE Texas

      Thanks Ray....You should refurbish your front door.

      It really will lift your spirits, guaranteed!

    • Rae Saylor profile image

      Rae Saylor 4 years ago from Australia

      I should do something like this to my front door! Thanks for this wondeful hub.