How to Refinish Oak Front Door

How do you refinish an exterior oak door? Quick answer:

  1. Take out the front door. Taking the door off its hinges is the first step in front door refurbishing.
  2. Remove the Hardware.
  3. Sand Flat Surfaces.
  4. Scrape Moldings and Detail Work.
  5. Sand Edges and Grooves.
  6. Top and bottom edges should be sealed and finished.
  7. Apply Finish.
  8. Apply final finish coats after more sanding.

Learn how to quickly and simply restore an outside front door made of solid oak using PolyShades stain and polyurethane. This is a really useful guide for refinishing wood oak front doors.


  • Sandpaper. I sanded with fine grit (120 grit) sandpaper and an inclined block sander.
  • Lint-free towels and tack cloth
  • 1 part vinegar to 1 part water as a cleaning solution
  • Stain and polyurethane combined in PolyShades
  • Sponge brushes
  • Metal brush (if needed)
  • Tape for painting


  1. If you plan to replace the current hardware, remove it first. Although it won’t be completely required if you plan to maintain it, it will be simpler to sand and stain without it.
  2. Use fine-grit sandpaper to thoroughly sand the door. If there are any difficult-to-reach locations, use an angled block sander.
  3. Use a mix of vinegar and water that is 1:1 to clean.
  4. To ensure that the surface is clear of any debris, use a lint-free or tack cloth.
  5. Using painter’s tape, if desired
  6. Apply stain or polyurethane and follow the product’s instructions once the surface is totally dry.
  7. Apply additional coatings as required.

Advice on repainting a wood exterior door

Since I’m not stripping the surface, I gently sanded the door with 120 grit sandpaper. Sanding should always be done with the grain of the wood.

If the surface has experienced significant wear and tear, start with a coarser grit and conclude with a fine grit.

Some individuals would advise you to avoid using a really fine grit since it will cause the wood’s pores to shut. My opinion is that even if you don’t remove the wood, you will still be adding a substance over the old finish. Therefore, using fine grit sandpaper should work. However, if you are putting a product on bare wood, you should be aware of this.

Make sure the product you plan to put on top of the existing finish on the door is compatible with it. In a blog post on how to pick the best kind of paint, I went into great detail about this. According to the manufacturer of the stain I used (PolyShades), it CAN be applied over polyurethane finishes.

Can oak kitchen cabinets be refinished using this technique?

I fail to see why you couldn’t apply this straightforward restoration technique on any surface made of solid wood, even oak cabinets. Just keep in mind that using this procedure probably won’t allow you to lighten the wood. The color may still be changed, despite this.


Can you Restain oak doors?
Solid oak interior doors may be stained with either light or dark stains to provide color. Compared to other hardwood doors, solid oak doors have a more open grain and absorb stains more thoroughly, creating a surface that is considerably more detailed. Unlike paint, stains and oils remain longer and don’t require annual repainting.

What is the best finish for exterior wood doors?
An exterior-grade oil- or water-based paint is the most durable and protective finish you can employ since its opaque pigments filter the sun’s UV rays.

What is the best stain for a front door?
Over external wood, fiberglass, and metal doors, Gel Stain offers a consistent stain color. Old Masters Gel Stain is my preferred brand since it is quick and simple to use.

What stain do you use on oak doors?
The best type of stain for oak doors is water-based. Make that the stain is of high quality and comes from a reputed company like Osmo. We suggest Osmo Door Oil 3060 or Osmo Door Oil 3033 if you like to treat your door with an oil.

Should you stain oak doors?
Oak should be stained to reveal patterns in order to fully appreciate its intricate beauty. If you want an oak door to appear its best, apply stain before installing it anyplace in your house.

Can you lighten oak doors?
Yes, home bleach will brighten wood, to put it succinctly.

Can you leave oak doors untreated?
It could droop or bend if it isn’t kept flat. Additionally, a large oak door that falls to the ground might harm not just the door but also nearby people. The door has to be maintained on a flat, dry floor if it is being stored. Untreated doors must be kept in a dry space that is free of any moisture.

How do you clean an oak exterior door?
Grab a bowl and pour some warm water and mild dish soap to it. To get rid of any little stains or debris, scrape your door with a clean, non-abrasive sponge. Never forget to clean the door’s edges as well! Always check the surface of the door when you’re finished to make sure no soap is left there.

Should you paint oak doors?
Painting your oak doors is one of the simplest and least expensive methods to enhance the appearance of your house. Painting your doors may have a significant influence on the appearance of your house, whether you’re applying a fresh coat of paint to cover stains on external doors or just want to alter the color of your external door.

How do you whitewash oak doors?
Clean your door and sand it if required (ours was quite battered up). Mix two parts flat, white latex paint with one part water. Instead of rolling the paint, brush it in the direction of the wood grain. To apply the paint mixture to the wood in the direction of the grain, smear it into the surface using rags or paper towels that you have on hand.

Why does oak go black?
When water seeps into oak, it interacts with the oak’s high tannin content and causes “blackening.” Over time, the oak will take on a silvery colour from the Sun’s UV radiation.

How do you clean oak before oiling?
Wipe off the door with one of your clean, dry rags first. This will clear the wood of dust and the majority of mild stains. Instead of wiping across the wood’s natural grain, be careful to follow it. Also, make sure the cloth is entirely dry and free of any oils or waxes.

How do you stop an oak door from turning orange?
We advise applying their Hardwax oil to guard your flooring against harm. They provide a broad range of color possibilities that may either make the oak darker, maintain it lighter in shade, or even provide more alternatives for white washing. The Treatex Clear Hardwax oil is used to add a durable coating over the color tones.

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