How to restore exterior wood doors

If your front door makes the house's exterior look as dull and grey as its weathered wood but is an odd size, a replacement could cost £500 or more. Restore the existing wood door in a single weekend for hundreds less.

Prepare the sawhorses or workbench by covering them with an old blanket or other padding to protect the interior surface of the door from damage.

Use a hammer and screwdriver to remove the hinge pins. Free the door and lay it exterior side up on the work surface.

Remove the old hardware and sand the old finish off with 80-grit sandpaper. Inspect the door for any cracks and gouges and fill them with wood putty. Smooth with a putty knife and allow the putty to dry thoroughly.

Smooth the door with 120-grit sandpaper and finish preparing the wood by sanding with 150-grit sandpaper.

Apply stain to the door with a paint brush and let it dry. Follow with two coats of exterior polyurethane to protect the wood from weather damage. Allow the polyurethane to dry, according to package directions, between coats.

Install the new hardware, except knobs and locks, before rehanging the door. Replace the door on its hinges and install the knobs and lock set.


Exterior doors are often very heavy; ask for help moving the door from its frame to the workbench or sawhorses. Vinyl spackling can be used as an alternative to wood putty for repairing indentations and cracks in the wood door.


Protect yourself from injury; wear gloves and safety glasses while you work.

Things You'll Need

  • Sawhorses
  • Old blanket
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Paint brush
  • Exterior polyurethane
  • New hardware
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About the Author

Based in Arlington, Texas, Michelle Diane has been writing business articles for six years. Her work has appeared in newspapers nationwide and on diverse digital outlets including Bounty, Breathe Again Magazine and LexisNexis. She is a University of Texas graduate and a presidential member of the National Society of Leadership.