How to Restore a Mahogany Wood Front Door

Updated April 13, 2018

Authentic wood gives a warmth and grace that no synthetic material can match. Unfortunately, the cost of having a real mahogany wood front door is that it will eventually shows signs of wear, tear and weather damage. Not to worry. It is not hard to restore mahogany wood. It's best to take the door down for the first part, and then rehang it to apply the finish. Whether you are working with stain or paint, the steps below will help you in refinishing mahogany to its former glory.

Clean your mahogany door thoroughly with a degreasing cleanser and a sponge that is barely damp. Wipe it dry with a clean, lint-free cloth.

Lay the door on a flat surface and use a rubber mallet to gently align any boards or hardware that has become warped or loosened. Use glass points (available at hardware stores) to make sure any glass insets are sitting solidly in the door. Re-caulk around the glass if the weather-seal has deteriorated.

Re-hang the door, adjusting or replacing hardware, knobs and locks as needed.

Use 180-grit sandpaper and a palm sander to strip off any old varnish. Don't press too hard, just let the palm sander do the work. Wipe away any dust with a clean, lint-free cloth.

Apply a stain and filler combination to colour the wood and smooth out the grain. Use a soft cloth to wipe away the stain and control the depth of the tint. Let the first coat dry completely. Apply a second coat if you want a deeper tint. Let that coat dry completely.

Use a brush to apply a coat of clear polyurethane top coat. Let it dry completely and then sand it down with 220-grit or finer sandpaper. Wipe away all dust and apply another coat of polyurethane, making sure to cover the top, bottom and both side edges of the door. Feather the clear sealer onto the edges of any glass inserts to protect the weatherproofing.

Do steps 1, 2 and 3 above.

Use a palm sander and 220-grit sandpaper to smooth out any scratches, gouges and chipped paint. Wipe the door clean with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Apply a coat of oil-based primer to the front, back and all edges of the door. Let it dry completely.

Paint over the primer with oil-based paint that is made by the same manufacturer as your primer, so you know that they will adhere properly to each other. Let the paint dry completely.

Apply a second coat of paint, and let it dry completely before allowing anyone to use the door.

Things You'll Need

  • De-greasing cleanser
  • Sponge
  • Warm water
  • Bucket
  • Clean, lint-free cloths
  • Rubber mallet
  • Glass points
  • Weatherproof caulk
  • Caulking gun
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Palm sander
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Stain and filler combination, alkyd/resin based
  • Polyurethane top coat
  • Oil-based primer
  • Oil-based paint
  • Paint brushes
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About the Author

Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.