How to reface plain interior doors

Many homes have lauan style interior doors. These doors are covered with a thin lauan veneer and they are often stained. Older lauan doors may also have lifted grain where the pores in the wood are slightly open and the wood feels a little rough to the touch. Replacing all your lauan interior doors may be well beyond your budget, but this style of door is perfect for updating.

Determine the size of faux raised panel you would like to apply on one of your doors. A good way to do this is to visit the local hardware store and copy the measurements used for the style of raised panel door you like. This gives you the additional advantage of picking the same width of door as the door you are starting with for your refacing.

Purchase enough moulding to panel both sides of your sample door. Select a door moulding that is flat on the back side with a rounded and tapered edge on the other. Different moulding manufacturers produce many styles of mouldings that will work for this project. Once you complete the first sample door you will have a good idea how much moulding to buy to reface all of your doors.

Measure and cut the mouldings so that each corner makes a perfect 90-degree angle. Use a power mitre saw---a single six-panel door will require 24 angle cuts per side.

Draw lines with the straight edge using the measurements you copied from the store and dry fit your cut pieces. You will quickly see that you have at least 12 identical short pieces and potentially eight identical longer pieces.

Glue and nail the moulding into place using a finish nail gun and carpenter's glue. Wipe off any excess glue.

Fill the nail holes with wood fill and any gaps between your moulding and the door with caulk. Your door should look much better and be ready for primer, sanding and paint.


Using your first door as a sample. You can identify how many similar sized doors you want to reface, and you can cut the moulding for these doors in a large group. For smaller or larger doors, you may need to adjust the size of your panel widths to maintain the same appearance. By priming, sanding and painting your doors a crisp white, they will look like expensive raised panel doors.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Straight edge
  • Door moulding
  • Mitre saw
  • Carpenter's glue
  • Finish nails
  • Power finish nail gun (optional)
  • Wood fill
  • Caulk


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About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.