Shut the Front Door – Part 1

Painting your front door a great pop of color has been all the rage for a while ago – it can really add a lovely effect on your house.

When I first saw our house I knew right away that I needed to show some TLC to our front door, it was painted red to match the color scheme of the exterior.


#1 RULE: Learn to love your old wood! #2 RULE: Flat is bleeh. Add some sheen to that door!

Cute but the color scheme will be changing and the paint was way too flat for an accent like this.

Rather than waiting to paint the door when we paint the rest of the house I opted to strip the color and go back to the stain. I am a firm believer showing off wood detail with a stain instead of covering it up when you can – especially on a nice old house!

The door will pop off the hinges very easily if you are doing any kind of refinishing work. Just pop up the pins using a putty knife and hammer or some hinges unscrew at the bottom of the pin.


hinge pin will allow the door to come off and on easily

Once the door was off the frame and on saw horses it was time to strip! It took a couple coats of stripper but nothing too bad.


We put the door back up after the messiest part was over… having a front door is a good thing. It seemed as if most of the varnish or poly was still intact when the door was painted but there were some areas that definitely seemed like they had been weathered – maybe painting seemed like a good choice at the time.


it’s naked! ready to sand and stain

Just to let you know – if you have never stripped anything, the stripper just takes off the finish it does not bleach away any stain that was there before. It may strip layer after layer of paint colors or just strip the clear coat. Adding a fresh coat of stain helps liven up the color and condition the wood.

I decided to strip the varnish off of the interior side as well – the clear coat had allegatored and was just not in the prettiest shape. This led to a wonderful discovery! My front door was two-toned!


Before: door needs a spruce up


After: Stripping the clear coat gave way to a beautiful two-tone door!

The majority of interior doors in the house are similar in that they are two-tone along with my stair spindles and rails. Anyone else out there have this going on? We looked at MANY houses in the last year of the same vintage but this was the only one to have two-tone details.

After stripping both sides I matched the lighter stain to “Golden Pecan” from Minwax and the darker stain I used “Red Mahogany” mixed with the golden to get a closer match to the original.

I am using Spar-Urethane to protect the wood. For an exterior door it is important to use a product that can handle changing weather. Unfortunately there is a 24 hour drying time. I have the first coat on but will need to lock my door when working this week…sooo I shall update you next week after the final coats are done and I will show you my new window treatment!



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