Refinishing exterior door

Old 10-11-05, 06:28 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 75
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Refinishing exterior door

I have a stained wood (fir) exterior french door that I installed in the fall of 2003. I finished it myself with a dark walnut stain and Helmsman interior/exterior spar urethane (4 coats). It took me over a week to get it finished right, but i felt like i had done a very good job of it......Unfortunately, it's in an unprotected area on the east side of my house, so it gets a lot of sun and rain. I noticed about a year ago that some of the wood on the mullions had lost their polyurethane coats, or so it appeared. Then earlier this summer, i was dogsitting, and got some nice little pet scratches just below the handle, so what was once a gorgeous door now looks really rough on the outside, though the inside looks as good as new... I want to keep it stained, and I knew going in that it would mean more maintenance. What i need to know is, how can I at least get it back to an even stain color (the mullions appear to have faded some, as did part of the bottom rail) and recoat? Should I sand the entire thing? How will I know I got all the existing poly off? Then do I just start over? Or is there no hope of it ever looking good again, so I just paint it? I reallly love the look of the stained door, and I would love suggestions on stronger polyurethanes, or any advice on how to keep this thing looking good! No more dogsitting, that's for sure.
Old 10-11-05, 07:11 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,778
Received 870 Upvotes on 761 Posts
Painting would be easier/simpler but you may be able to salvage the stain. You need to sand the door well although it is not necessarry to remove all the poly. You will probably need to restain the light areas. After the sanding is done wipe the door down with paint thinner. How the door looks while the thinner is wet will give you an idea as to what it will look like refinished. If you need to restain any areas go easy with the stain as it has been my experience that touching up stain on weathered doors, the restained areas are easy to get too dark.

Getting rid of the scratches is another problem. If they are light you might be able to sand them out. If they are deep you can either ignore them or attempt to patch them with a wood filler or colored putty. If done right you can make the gouges dissappear, done badly it may look worse than the scratch.

Helmsman poly is good for exterior doors but with full sun/weather it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect to sand and recoat yearly.
Old 10-11-05, 08:04 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
refinishing exterior doors

I am a painting refinish your doors you can get rubber gloves an wipe it with laquer thinner first that will evan out all the bad spots the bad news is you have to sand it I wood use 120 grit once it is all evan take small brush an restain do not wipe let it dry best overnight if your a painter you let it dry about a hour. the problum with most finish today is they have removed a lot of the solides in them so they don,t hold up to the sun. so go to a boat supply and buy their varnish you can olny buy qt. and they cost about 30 to 50 dollars but they will hold up i wood three coat it. it will look great! because of the sun you will need too refinish about every four years just watch it if you have any finish left over get some glass marbles and put them in the can back to full and reseal will last till next time
Old 10-13-05, 03:58 AM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: us
Posts: 260
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
another possibility,

the darker the stain you use the more obivious the fading caused by the
sun will be.

i would have not applied a top coat of finish to the exterior of the doors.

i would have stained using an oil based stain.

after drying i would then mix the stain with "new" motor oil and paint
thinner, mixing the stain and
the motor oil first then adding the paint thinner, one part to one part,
i would mix it in a five gallon metal container.

i would apply this over the stained doors in the fall and again in the

clean the doors and let dry for a couple sunny days before each

as for the scratches, maybe place a brass plate over the areas as
Old 08-10-07, 04:21 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
refinish wood and glass door

I have an east facing exterior door with exposure to direct sunlight and weather. The finish is peeling. How is the best way to remove the finish and then what is the best way to refinish the door?
Old 08-10-07, 04:48 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,778
Received 870 Upvotes on 761 Posts
Welcome to the forums chtom!

Is this a stained door or painted? What will the new finish be? paint? stain/poly?

Basically there are 2 ways to ready the door, scrape and sand or apply stripper so you can completely redo the door.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: