How to Refinish an Exterior Wood Entry Door

Applying clear finish to an entry door.

Extreme changes in temperature, coupled with the effects of sun and rain, can take their toll on the finish of an exterior wood entry door. To refinish an exterior wood door:

  1. Remove the door from its hinges.
  2. Lay the door on top of sawhorses.
  3. Remove the hardware from the door.
  4. Sand down the finish on the door.
  5. Apply stain to restore the color.
  6. Brush on several coats of an exterior spar varnish or polyurethane.
  7. Reattach the hardware to the door.
  8. Rehang the door.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information


Occasionally a natural wood entry door will need to be refinished in order to counter the effects of the elements. The easiest way is to remove the door, so you can lay it down horizontally to sand the deteriorating finish. It isn’t always necessary to take it down to bare wood, just far enough to remove the spots where the varnish is cracked or rough. A light coat of a matching stain will revive the color, and several coats of spar varnish or polyurethane add shine and protect your work.


  1. I want to know if my entry door can be refurbished and remodeled? I want the inserts cut out and replaced with non see thru glass and repainted.

  2. We had our beautiful wooden front door refinished 2 years ago by “professionals.” In one year it didn’t look too good, so I put 2 more coats or urethane on. Already the finish is already completely off. I am very concerned as the wood is starting to crack and some of the panels look gray and possibly rotted. Can you give me any advice on how to protect this door? Thank you!

  3. Good Day,

    Please let me know the price, if you have something in stock that matches or is close to what I have specified below:

    24 in. x 80 in. 2 Panel Square Top Solid Wood exterior Door

    Hope to read or hear from you soon as you find some feedback.


    • Hi, Mathew, features home improvement advice from the nationally syndicated TV show “Today’s Homeowner” and its experts.
      We don’t sell construction products on this website, but we encourage checking your local The Home Depot for these materials.
      Good luck, and thanks for your question!


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