The first thing you will want to do is to take the door down off of it’s hinges. Use a screwdriver or a drill that matches the head of the screws in the hinges. Once your entry door is down take it out to your garage or workshop.
The funny thing about refinishing a door is that it has two sides. Lay the entry door so the interior side is down. Work on refinishing the exterior side first. The interior side will get sanded in the workshop but refinished once the exterior side is done and door has been rehung.
Use an electric handheld sander and rough grit sand paper to remove all of the old finish from the exterior side of the door. Flip the door over and remove all of the old finish from the interior side of your entry door.
Switch to fine grit sand paper and use the electric handheld sander to go over each side of the door one more time. The fine grit sand paper will remove any flaws in the wood and will give the new finish a smooth surface to adhere to.
After you have sand each side of the door take a soft dry cloth and wipe off the dust created from sanding. Do not allow any dust to remain or your new finish will appear flawed. The dust will be trapped under the new finish and will cause noticeable bumps.
Once the door has been all cleaned off flip it so that the interior side is facing down. Decide what type of finish you want the door to have. You can opt for a bright bold paint color, or you can choose to keep the look of natural wood.
Use painters tape to cover the knob, plate and other hardware on the door. Do this to protect them when the new finish is applied.
If applying paint use a small roller or a wide soft paint brush. Use oil based paint for best weathering results as latex paint will crack and peel and fade when exposed to the elements. Pour some of the oil based paint into a paint tray and apply the first coat. Wait half an hour then apply a second coat. Wait another half an hour an then apply a third and final coat. Your color will be bold, bright and even. Three coats also provide the exterior side of the door with additional protection. You finish will last for years. Poly is not need over the oil based paint. Allow the final coat of paint 24 hours to dry then bring the door back to it’s frame and rehang it.
If you would rather have a wood look to the exterior side of your entry door you can use stain and poly instead of paint. Apply a coat of stain using a soft dry cloth. Rub it on in a circular motion then quickly rub it back off using another clean dry cloth. Do not allow the stain to puddle or set as doing so will result in dark spots. If you are satisfied with the richness of the color of your stain you can begin to apply the poly. If not, apply another coat of stain to deepen the color.
Once the final coat of stain has been applied you can immediately apply the polyurethane. Polyurethane will protect the wood on the exterior side of your entry door. Apply the poly using a wide foam paint brush. Wait 30 minutes between coats. Apply three to four coats for maximum protection from the elements.
Allow the poly 24 hours to dry then bring the door back to it’s door frame. Rehang the door on the hinges. It’s time to refinish the interior side of the door.
Do this from the inside of your home. Apply painters tape to protect the trim or molding around the door, or the surrounding walls. Decide how you want the interior side of your entry door to look. It does not have to be the same as the exterior side. Choose a finish that will compliment the decor of the room the door is in.
Apply that finish according to the above steps but use latex paint instead of oil and two coats of poly rather than four. Wait for the final cat to dry then remove the painters tape and enjoy the new look of your entry door! Your interior decor will be updated and enhanced as well as your exterior. Your curb appeal will skyrocket!