Apr 20, 2021
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How to restore a wooden door

How to restore a wooden door

Over the long years of operation, the surface of interior doors is usually covered with various defects and damages, as well as a thick coat of layers of old paint. This pretty much spoils the appearance of not only the door itself, but also the room as a whole.

You can, of course, once again try to paint over the defects, but, firstly, not every door can be refreshed in this way. And secondly, with a competent approach to business, an old product made of natural wood will sparkle with new colors and give a hundred points of head start to a cheap door leaf from a surrogate.

High-quality painting is impossible on an unprepared surface, and old paint was often applied to doors in several layers, it went with bumps and smudges.

The next time the door is tinted with a lighter paint, an uneven color may turn out, so there is no alternative to removing the old paint. This process is quite laborious. Depending on the type of paint, one or another method may be effective. Let’s consider all of them in order.

Thermal removal method

If there is a multi-layer old coating on the door, then the easiest way is to remove it with a construction hair dryer and a spatula. It is better to remove the door leaf from the hinges before processing, remove the fittings and decorative linings from it and take it out into the fresh air.

It is enough to heat the painted surface to the desired state, after which the paint can be easily removed with a scraper, spatula or chisel. Handle the heating tool with care to protect your hands from burns. It is not recommended to use a hairdryer near electrical wiring.

If you do not have a hair dryer, you can use ordinary metal foil. Apply the foil to the door and heat it with an iron, then feel free to remove the layer of old paint.

Some craftsmen use a blowtorch to expose the surface to be treated with an open flame. This method is highly discouraged due to the increased risk of fire. In addition, this causes the wood to dry out, which significantly reduces the strength of the door.

Chemical method

The chemical method of paint stripping is quite effective, but the solvent should be right for your type of paint. Most chemicals are toxic and not always effective, especially when there are many layers of paint.

Before using the product, be sure to read the instructions for use. It is possibly a highly toxic substance that is only handled with a respirator and protective gloves.

It is possible to use such a folk method as caustic soda paste. It is applied with a brush to the coating until bubbles form over the entire surface. After that, it remains to remove the layer of old paint with a spatula. It is undesirable to use the chemical method on a plywood door leaf, it can delaminate!

Mechanical method

This method is quite effective when working on a large surface area, as it significantly speeds up the process. Most often, a grinder is used with a special circle on which sandpaper or other abrasive material is put on.

All cracks and chips must be repaired in order to level the surface for painting. The easiest way to do this is using wood putty. Apply the filler with a spatula in the required amount, and then level to the level of the surrounding area.

Wood putty is easy to make with your own hands by mixing small wood chips and PVA glue. The resulting slurry can be freely applied to joints and cracks. After the mixture has dried, the place must be sanded.

After elimination of defects and before painting, the entire surface of the door is sanded. It is easier to do this using a sander with fine-grained sandpaper.


When everything is sanded, apply a primer to the door leaf. You can also use wood impregnation. You can cover a wooden door with both paint and varnish.

To more vividly show the texture of the wood and its pattern, as well as give the door a unique look, you can use the wood brushing method. It consists in the fact that soft fibers are selected from the top layer of wood with a special brush, as a result of which a surface with a colorfully expressed structure is obtained.

Wood species with a uniform dense structure, such as maple, beech, alder, are not suitable for brushing, but pine, oak, ash, walnut are ideal. At the first stage of processing, the dry and clean surface of the wood is treated with a coarse metal brush, tearing out the soft fibers to the desired depth.

But invoicing the tree is only half the battle. Brushing has the ultimate goal of visually highlighting the woody texture. To do this, the depressions are painted in a dark color, and the ridges – in a light one.

The embossed surface is first opened with dark paint, and then wiped with a sponge or rag, removing paint residues from protruding solid fibers, where it does not have time to absorb. After the dark dye has completely dried and the surface is subsequently treated with emery paper, the bulges are opened with colorless varnish.

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