How to Refinish Wood Interior Doors

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Things You'll Need

  • Gel stripper

  • Brushes

  • Scraper

  • Steel wool

  • Mineral spirits

  • Rag

  • Random orbital sander

  • Sandpaper

  • Tackcloth

  • Stain

  • Clear finish

  • Sawhorses

Interior doors occasionally require refinishing.

Worn and scratched interior doors can detract from an otherwise attractive décor. Regular polishing is enough to keep up with day-to-day maintenance, but years of wear and tear may require complete refinishing. Choosing the right chemicals and techniques from the many options is the key to a successful refinishing project. A typical door can be stripped and refinished in less than a day.


Step 1

Remove the door from its hinges. Drive a screwdriver up through the bottom of the hinge to drive the pin out through the top of the hinge. Start with the bottom hinge and work your way up.

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Step 2

Set the door on a pair of sawhorses. Spread a coat of gel-type stain on the surface of the door, using a brush. Allow it to sit for the recommended time before scraping the stripper and old finish from the door. Use fine steel wool to remove the finish from the details in the door. Rinse the finish with a rag dampened in mineral spirits. Allow the door to dry.


Step 3

Sand the door with a random orbital sander. Use 100-grit sandpaper on the first pass. Sand the door with 220-grit paper to complete prepping the door for stain. Wipe the dust from the door with a tackcloth. Turn the door over and strip and sand the reverse side, wiping it with the tackcloth to remove the dust.


Step 4

Apply a coat of stain in your choice of colors, using a soft-bristle paintbrush. Brush the stain as evenly as possible, working to prevent runs and drips. Allow the stain to dry.

Step 5

Sand the door lightly with 220-grit paper and wipe it down with the tackcloth. Turn the door over and repeat the staining and sanding procedure on the reverse side.


Step 6

Apply three coats of clear finish with a soft-bristle brush. Allow the recommended drying time between each coat and polish the surface with 0000 steel wool between the first and second coats. Follow the steel-wool polish with the tackcloth. Allow the door to dry thoroughly.

Step 7

Turn the door over to repeat the clear finishing process on the opposite side. Leave the door to dry overnight and rehang it on its hinges. Place the door back on the hinges and drive the pins in with a hammer, starting with the top hinge.


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