How to Refinish a Door in the Winter

calander Feb 15 , 2022 user-icon Nash Painting

As the primary point of entry, your front door says a lot about your home or business. Updating your front door can have a significantly positive effect on your property’s curb appeal. However, not all seasons are particularly conducive to door refinishing projects. Winter offers a unique challenge for such projects – after all, the most efficient way to refresh your door involves removing it from its hinges. When temperatures are low, lacking a front door isn’t exactly ideal, even if only for a day or two. Still, it’s possible to update your door in any season, as long as you make the right considerations.

Let’s break down how to refinish a door during the winter.

How to Refinish a Door

If You Plan on Keeping Your Door on Its Hinges

If you’re preparing to refinish your door during winter, you might decide it’s more prudent to keep your door attached. While this is a viable decision, note that it comes with its share of drawbacks. For starters, you’ll need to be more precise when applying new coatings – not only will gravity be a factor as you coat this vertical surface, but you’ll also need to be careful about making a mess. And, as is the case with all exterior painting projects, you’ll also have to contend with the whims of the weather as you work on the door’s outward-facing side.

Here’s our step-by-step advice should you go this route:

Keep a Close Eye on the Weather

Winter can be unpredictable. Even if you live in a relatively warm area, your region might experience serious snowfall and a string of freezing temperatures at various points throughout the season. If possible, don’t attempt to refinish your door if outdoor temperatures will fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (some stains can be applied in colder conditions, of course), and steer clear of days that feature snow, rain, and/or high winds. It’s also helpful to have some sort of awning above you while you work on your front door’s exterior.

Clear the Area Surrounding Your Door

If the weather decides to cooperate for a while, you’ll still have plenty to do before you get to painting or staining your door. Since your door will still be attached to its hinges, you’ll want to make sure that nearby surfaces and objects are covered or removed from the premises – this includes hardware, door plates, welcome mats, decorative features, etc. Otherwise, you’ll see just how easy it is to get stain or paint where you don’t want it.

Remove the Door’s Existing Finish

For the best door refinishing results, you must first get rid of the previous finish. The duration of this process will depend on how long it’s been since you last refinished your doors and how durable the previous coatings were. An orbital sander is a useful tool for removing most older finishes, but you might need to deploy stronger solutions for more stubborn finishes (e.g., chemical stripper, scraper, heat gun, etc.). Once again, you’ll have to be careful when using these more aggressive finish removal methods since your door will still be attached to its hinges.

Prepare the Bare Surface for New Coatings

Now, it’s time to prepare the stripped surface for fresh coatings. If you’re painting your front door, you’ll want to start with a proper primer for the type of wood in question. Or, if you’re staining your door, you’ll want to apply a pre-stain conditioner instead. Taking the time to properly condition your door will help the new coatings adhere better and last longer.

Properly Apply Stain or Paint

Finally, you can apply the new finish to your door. Spraying is the most efficient method for applying new paint, but it can result in major messes, especially if your door is still attached. As such, you might opt for brushing instead. Sure, brushing will take longer, but it also allows for more precision – this is crucial since you’ll need to paint around the hinges and carefully access tight spaces.

Refinishing Your Door Remotely

Winters are often mild in areas like Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN (though snow and cold temperatures are certainly not off the table). With this in mind, you might consider refinishing your front entry door remotely – that is to say, by first removing the door off its hinges and prepping/painting it elsewhere. As mentioned earlier, this is the ideal way to refinish a door, as it allows you more space and freedom to clean, strip, sand, prime, and coat its surfaces. The same process outlined above applies in this case, but this time you’ll be working on a horizontal surface (the door should be placed on sawhorses) rather than a vertical one. You’ll also have an easier time using a sprayer to apply new coatings, so you can coat your door much quicker. The only caveat, of course, is that you’ll need to reassemble the door after it’s dried.

Get Help from the Pros

Refinishing a front door is a challenging process no matter the season. Even if you harbor a strong DIY spirit, it’s wise to hire professionals to achieve the best results. The pros at Nash Painting offer comprehensive door refinishing services year-round. So, whether you want to tackle this project in the dead of winter or later in the year, we’re happy to help. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!