Refinishing a Stained Wood Entry Door

Using an oscillating sander to sand the old finish off an entry door.
Using an oscillating sander to sand the old finish off an entry door.

Over time the sun, heat, cold, and rain can all take their toll on a wood entry door. Even if the door is protected by a porch, the finish will still deteriorate over time.

Here’s how to go about sanding, staining, and finishing a weathered wood entry door.

Refinished a Wood Entry Door:

  1. Take the door off the hinges, and place it horizontally on sawhorses.
  2. Remove the hinges, deadbolt, door knob, and any other hardware.
  3. Sand the door down to bare wood with 100-grit sandpaper.
  4. Sand the door again with 150-grit followed by 220-grit sandpaper.
  5. Apply one to two coats of penetrating stain, wiping off any excess.
  6. Apply two or more coats of spar varnish, allowing each coat to dry.
  7. Reattach the hardware and rehang the door.

Watch this video to find out more.

Using a paintbrush to apply spar varnish to an entry door.
Applying spar varnish to an entry door.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: Reviving a weathered wood entry door isn’t a difficult process, but it is time consuming. It’s made easier if you remove it from its hinges and take off all of the hardware.

Again, by sanding away all the loose or rough finish with 100-grit sandpaper. In most cases, this will mean sanding all the way down to the bare wood so the new finish is consistent.

Then use a finer-grit paper, like 150 or 220, to sand out the grain of the wood before you apply a fresh coat of stain. You’ll want to match the old color unless you have removed every trace of it.

Once the stain dries, apply two to three coats of spar varnish to the surface, using a very fine sandpaper or steel wool to continue smoothing the surface between coats. With a little patience and elbow grease, your door can look like new.


  1. How do you sand out the grooves & dips on the paneled wood door? If any tips, please add to your video as well. My door is stripped & waiting for the task of sanding.
    Thank you,
    Deb P.

  2. I have a door project just like this to complete, Can’t I use a gel stripper instead of sanding old weathered coatings off?


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