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How To Restore Entry Doors

Entry doors are a critical component of any home, providing both security and curb appeal. However, over time, these doors can become weathered and worn, detracting from the overall appearance of the property. Fortunately, entry door restoration can be a simple and effective way to bring these essential features back to life.

Restoring an entry door involves a few key steps, including sanding, filling, staining, and sealing. These steps can vary depending on the condition of the door and the desired outcome, but by following some basic guidelines, homeowners can achieve professional-looking results.


The first step in restoring an entry door is to sand it down. This process removes any existing finish or stain, as well as any dirt or grime that may have accumulated on the surface over time. Sanding also creates a smooth surface for the subsequent steps in the restoration process.

When sanding an entry door, it is essential to use the appropriate tools and techniques to avoid damaging the wood. An orbital sander is an excellent choice for most doors, as it can effectively remove old finishes while preventing swirl marks or other damage. It is important to start with a coarse grit sandpaper, such as 60 or 80 grit, to remove any existing finishes or deep scratches. After that, gradually move to finer grits, such as 120 or 150 grit, to achieve a smooth surface.

The final sand of the door should be done by hand in the direction of the grain. This is to ensure that any imperfections caused by the more coarse sanding is removed.


After sanding, the next step in the restoration process is filling. This involves using wood filler to repair any cracks or holes in the door’s surface. It is essential to use a wood filler that is compatible with the stain being used, as some fillers may not absorb stain evenly.

When filling cracks or holes, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Some fillers may require more than one application, or may need to be sanded down after application to achieve a smooth surface.


Staining is perhaps the most critical step in the restoration process, as it determines the color and appearance of the finished door. When selecting a stain, you should consider the style of your home, as well as the type of wood used in the door.

There are two primary types of stain: oil-based and water-based. Oil-based stains tend to penetrate deeper into the wood, providing a more durable finish. However, they also tend to take longer to dry and may emit strong fumes. Water-based stains dry more quickly and have less of an odor, but may not be as durable as oil-based stains.

When applying stain to an entry door, it is important to use a brush or cloth to ensure even coverage. It is also important to work in sections, as stain dries quickly and can become sticky if left on the surface for too long. After applying the stain, it is essential to wipe away any excess with a clean cloth, as this will prevent the stain from becoming blotchy or uneven.


The final step in the restoration process is sealing the door. This protects the wood from moisture and other environmental factors, helping to prolong the life of the door. There are several types of sealers available, including polyurethane, varnish, and shellac. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you should select the type of sealer that best suits your needs. This is also the time for you to decide on the sheen for your entry door.

When applying a sealer, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Some sealers may require more than one coat, while others may need to be sanded down between coats to achieve a smooth finish. It is also essential to work in a well-ventilated area and wear appropriate protective gear, such as a mask and gloves.

Bringing it together

Restoring an entry door can be a rewarding project for homeowners, providing both aesthetic benefits as well as protecting your door for years to come!

At LIME Painting of Chicago, we understand that while you may have the best of intentions of getting to your entry door restoration project, you may not have the time. We have helped dozens of homeowners, just like you, in the Chicago area with our professional door restoration services. 

Instead of putting off your project yet again, give us a call. We will give you a free estimate and have a fast turnaround time. With LIME Painting┬« of Chicago, your entry door will be beautifully restored in no time, and you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done.