How to Refinish and Restore an Entry Door

Entry doors take a lot of abuse from the elements. If yours is looking a bit shabby, perhaps it’s time to dress it up by refinishing and replacing the hardware. By following these simple steps, you can turn an eyesore into the envy of the neighborhood

Steps in refinishing an entry door:

  • Use a hammer and nail to remove the hinge pins.
  • Take the door off its hinges. Entry doors can be heavy, so have someone on hand to help you carry it.
  • Lay the door on padded sawhorses in the garage with the outer side facing up.
  • Remove the old hardware and sand the finish or paint down using 80 grit sandpaper followed by finer grits.
  • Stain the door followed by two coats of exterior polyurethane. Or, if you prefer, prime and paint it.
  • Install a new brass kick plate and doorknocker while the door is still on the sawhorses.
  • Rehang the door and install a new lockset and deadbolt.

Further Information


  1. Can I get a little more detail on the refinishing of the front entry door,please? Like types of stain, how much to use, setup and clean up tips. The more the better. Thank you sir.

  2. I just finished sanding hardwood front door. I used 80 grit sandpaper and my electric sander, I went a little too far in about three areas, What can be done to correct?

  3. It was going to be nice to see the answers to the questions. I need more details.What is the point to ask if nobody answer?

  4. A veritable Sahara of information. How long do I wait between stain and polyurethane? How many coats of each? How long until I can put the door back in place?

    • Hi, Anthony,
      Products used for this kind of project may vary, and each product has specific instructions.
      We recommend following the instructions on each product’s label.
      The standard for many people would be two coats, but user preferences may vary.
      Thanks for your question!

  5. Looking to have something like this done for our front door. Need to have the paint removed, sanded, prepped for painting then finally painted. Anyone available in Upstate New York…

  6. I have 7 coats of finish on my front exterior door which has lasted 38 years and now has to be repaired and refinished. Can you recommend someone who could do a good job in the location of North Edmonds, WA?

    • Hi, Carole, features home improvement advice from the nationally syndicated TV show “Today’s Homeowner” and its experts.
      We don’t offer information on individual home builders, repairers and suppliers, but we encourage checking your local phone listings for this information.
      Thanks for your question, and good luck!

  7. Did he say $120.00 for everything?? LOL, the handleset alone is closer to 200 for something decent that will last. That door looks exactly like ours and I’ve been wanting to replace it due to the old fashioned shape of the glass – this gave me pause to think I could deal with it with some new paint and hardware. Thanks!


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