This post will explain How to Refinish an Old Wood Front Door. Vintage Front Doors with Window Panes add Character to Any Front Porch Entry Space.

Who loves to welcome guests into their home?

I know I do.

But, let’s be honest for a moment. This maybe difficult, but I’m here for you.

What do your guests see after they’ve rang your front doorbell, or tap, tap, tapped your adorable door knocker?

Run, out side now, and do just that! Go ahead. Take a look around for the few minutes it would take you to answer that door bell.

Could your front entry use a some attention? If yes, I have a wonderful affordable DIY for you.

In this post you will see how I increased the curb appeal, and welcome factor by 10 fold with a $50 Facebook Marketplace find.

Tools to Refinish an Old Front Door

If your door is in great shape, here are our most popular posts on improving your front entry.

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5 Step Guide to Refinish a Wood Door

Vintage wood doors are my favorite! So when I found this one with the glass panel, I decided to research this topic. .

Supply List:

  1. vintage wood door with character
  2. citrus strip mask and scraping tools
  3. hand sander (Could be done with sand paper and block depending on the details of the door)
  4. paint and/or stain
  5. door hardware – hinges and handles

Original Metal Front Door

Before we get into the hard work, here’s a trip down memory “king” lane. The first door for our home was a metal front door. Boy oh boy have I taken full advantage of my love for color, and slightly fickle relationship with it. We won’t review the entire line up of six colors in twenty years, but here’s a look at my favorite. 1.Wythe Blue.

Pumpkins and Mums
DIY Front Porch Fall Style

Coming in a close second is Old Country, a beautiful coral color. Read all about it HERE.

Front Porch gets Spring Makeover
Bold Colored Front Doors

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Refinish a Vintage Front Door with these simple steps:

1. Find a vintage door

I chose to restore a vintage door to create a charming curb appeal. I found a solid wood 1930s door with paneled detail and a stain glass insert. Lots of life occurred at this door, and it showed. For me the knocks and bruises add character.

Be sure that you find a door that isn’t warped, and matches the exact dimensions of your current door.  I had to remove two coats of paint to reveal the beautiful wood. I’m pleased with the outcome.  Here’s how the door looked when I found it.

Wood Door Ready for Refinish
Strip off layers of old paint to reveal beautiful wood door

2. Strip off old paint

If you’re not afraid of a little hard work and some sweat equity, consider yourself equipped for this makeover, at least the restoring and beautifying of the door.

I removed the moss green paint only to discover another layer of black paint that needed to be stripped. I followed the directions on the stripping agent I chose, Citrus Strip.

Black Painted Door Gets Refinsihed
Use stipper to remove layers of old paint from a vintage front door

3. Sand to a smooth finish

A hand sander will make this job a lot easier, although you can sand by hand if you have the patience. After hours of tedious sanding, I was unable to remove all the black paint from the recessed panels. 

This was when I decided to highlight the panels with the moss green paint color that closely matches the paint of the body of our home. A delightful concession, I think.

Old Wood Door Gets Sanded
Refinish your vintage door to reveal beautiful wood

4. Paint and/or Stain

With exposure to weather, the wooden front door will need a layer of protection. I chose a Behr product, Waterproofing Stain & Sealer.

5. Hinges and Handles

My built in carpenter, Tom the Great, did not want to tackle moving the hinges and strike plates,  so we hired a carpenter for the installation process.

We reused our existing hardware, except for purchasing new the hinges.

Refinished Vintage Door
Refurbished Antique Door adds instant curb appeal
Refinish a Vintage Front Door on a Budget
Restore an Old Wood Door to Enhance Curb Appeal Fall or Any Season

I finished the door and had it ready just in time to add fall decor. Beautiful mums, a welcome sign, and a fall wreath really warmed up the front porch for fall.

How to Refinish a Vintage Front Door
Refinish a Vintage Front Door for and create a charming curb appeal

The inside of this door is truly my favorite. You can see it in this post: The Front Parlor

Thank you so much for stopping by! If you never want to miss a post, just feel out the prescription box below, and you’ll get an email letting you know I posted!

Enjoy Today!

Love y’all,

Lori Nell

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Learn How to Refinish Vintage Wood Front Door

Old Front Door Refinished

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Comments (8)

  1. Reply

    Wow, you did an incredible job on that door! Part of being an artist is seeing the potential in something and doing it in your own style. The steps seem very easy to follow, too. 😊

    • Southern Nell Gracious Living


      Thank you, Crissy! I know you can appreciate a little hard work!

    • Southern Nell Gracious Living


      Glad you found me!! Hope you had a great weekend in Memphis.

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