For period entrance or internal doors, restoration of wood is a vital part of any renovation project. You may need to learn how to restore a wooden door for a listed office or commercial building, or for a Victorian domestic property. A well restored doorway can have a huge impact in how visitors or residents experience that property. We all know that first impressions count, and the door is the first part of any building that is witnessed at close quarters. In this way, attention to detail is paramount. It’s not just appearance but weight and texture that creates the impact of a door.
Where’s the door?
Firstly, there are different aspects to consider for internal and external doors. Obviously, external doors require more layers of protection as they are exposed to weather and a wide variation of temperatures. Aesthetically, internal doors demand a balance of decorative concept. The doors, surrounds and skirting need to be consistent throughout a building whilst still complementing the decor of each room.
Removing a Door
When the door is removed from its frame it should be treated while laying flat. Protect the floor and keep the door elevated by placing it on a pair of trestles or similar.
The first thing to do with your door is to remove everything that is attached to it. Clearly, external doors have more furniture than internal, with letter box, numbering, and knocker, to consider as well as handles and roses.
Don’t forget the hinges themselves, and internal latches or locks. To fully restore a wooden door, it must be entirely stripped back, and all those bits of paint that are caught around latch plates will cause an issue if not removed with the rest of the surfaces.
As part of the preparation process, stripping a door back is an oft avoided aspect of how to restore a wooden door. At HL Decorating we know how important thorough preparation is, and we can’t emphasise enough how this can impact your finished wooden door.
Ensure that you protect any glass panels with masking tape. The tape should completely cover the glass so that it is not damaged by any stripping materials.
For period features such as wooden doors, there is always a risk that layers of paint could contain lead. If there is any chance of this, the safest option is to appoint a specialist decorator. A professional tradesman can arrange for the doors to be chemically stripped or dipped with the correct safety precautions.
When there is definitely no lead paint on wooden doors, you can strip the paint using a scraper and lower grade chemical stripper. The surfaces should then be sanded down to the bare wood. This will ensure there are no unsightly bumps from lingering patches of varnish.
Choose your finish carefully since with each layer, the shade of stain will become deeper. Apply wood stain with a standard paintbrush. It’s important to remove excess as you apply the stain as you can end up with uneven patching.
When you choose to paint your wooden door, ensure that the surface is primed and protected so that your choice of paint adheres to the wood for a durable finish. This is especially important for external doors which are open to the elements.
After staining, don’t forget to apply a top coat. This will help internal doors to weather the frequency of use in a busy thoroughfare. For external doors, a wood finishing varnish will offer UV protection and weatherproofing.
Rehanging the door
Plan before removing the door whether you intend to reinstate the original door furniture. Perhaps you plan to replace it with freshly sourced period features. Alternatively you may want to create a contrasting aesthetic with modern furniture on an ornate door.
When you consider how to restore a wooden door, the main factor is to treat it with care and respect. With years of experience in restoring wooden features, at HL Decorating we know how beautiful well restored wood can be. So contact us to help restore your wooden doors to their former glory!