A Recent Door Refinishing Project

Written by on November 13, 2013 in Home Maintenance, Scheduled Maintenence with 8 Comments
door refinishing

Todd HVLP spraying doors.

Door refinishing is one of the many specialty services we offer out of our shop. Our clients enjoy the convenience of Topcoat being able to pick up doors, transport them to our shop, strip, refinish, deliver and rehang them looking better than new.

Recently, we completed a set of 8 foot tall antique oak doors that grace the formal entry of a brick historical home in Burlington’s Hill Section. It was a project that we had been planning and thinking about all summer, and we were determined to have the door refinishing complete and the doors rehung before the weather got too cold.

For the stripping component of the project, we used a combination of dustless sanding on the flat surfaces, and chemical stripping in the panel details that were too intricate to power sand.

After the doors were completely prepped and finish sanded, we treated them with a penetrating oil to bring out the long hidden beauty of the wood grain. We let the oil cure for 72 hours and then HVLP sprayed the doors with a gravity gun and a marine quality Spar Varnish.

This slideshow features the steps:

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First Impressions

Formal entry doors are the first impression on a home. It is important that they look great, but it is also important that they have a durable coating on them. Doors are usually pretty exposed to weather on the front of a home, and they are also very high traffic areas. So, product selection and proper prep/application processes are the key to success. This is not a place for your painter to take shortcuts.

Do your door refinishing project once. Do it right. Do it with Topcoat Finishes.

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Scott Burt

About the Author

About the Author: Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine (www.paintmag.com) since 2008. His writing and projects also appear in other print and digital venues. .


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  1. Bill Camara says:

    I just purchased a 100 year old home. One of the things that I want to do is do this to the painted front door. I just took the Festool Sander plunge. Any product recommendations for the oil and varnish? What do you do while the door is off?


    • Scott Burt says:

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Bill, we used Watco exterior oil for the penetrating coat to pop the grain and Epifanes SPAR for the topcoat. In our case, on this project, these were outer doors for an entry that has an inner door. So, it wasn’t an issue. If it was, we would have to temporarily barricade the opening with plywood (and blueboard if temperature is an issue) and have the owners use another entry during the restoration.

  2. Tom says:

    Scott..I was surprised you used a spar varnish as this material tends to gray after extensive contact with the weather……

    • Scott Burt says:

      Tom, these are in a pretty sheltered entry. It is direct sunlight that wears out spar. We do use it extensively and the key is to inspect and maintain annually before the elements have a chance to break finish down.

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