Restore a door!

We hadn’t paid much attention to the doors as we had bigger fish to fry with this renovation project. We had to move some items around and allow access for works so we had to remove the living room door. Thankfully there was an expert to hand:


The first step was to scrape off the million layers of paint. Ok, maybe 8 or 9 but there was a lot. It took a hammer and a chisel at points. The screws were also uber old and came out rusted. I mean how does a screw get rusted in the door panel? See how deep the paint is? I’ve included two pictures to make sure – Stuart made me take quite a few so you could all share his ‘stuck screw paint problem’.



The good news was that the door was soon off, the bad news is that are 11 or so to go. The secondary reason for us to take the whole door off is that we are getting them all paint stripped. As we’ve mentioned before we believe in getting back to basics before choosing what way to go with design and think that these original doors will come up a treat. We’ve had a few clues as to what they may look like when stripped:


Can you see that paint chip that shows the dark brown? I think that is the original stained paint colour.


Another clue was the door in the hall. It looks like all the others with a single large panel and painted white, but the other side was something quite different:


On the other side there are four panels in dark wood. We reckon that the other doors were covered with plywood panels and painted white. We are willing to right that wrong and get them back to the way they were (excuse the dust in the air – its everywhere!).


We are all about restoring the original features around the house and this one comes at a pretty penny. The estimates we’ve received are from £50 to £100 per door so it doesn’t come cheap. The doors in this house are not standard sized so it would cost a lot more to replace them all. The restored doors should add to the character of the house so we think its worth the price we’ll pay. When we choose a provider we’ll update you as to progress.

The cost per door includes the doors being dipped in paint stripper, all the paint removed,  removal of unsightly plaster, filler and nails. After this the doors are sanded and finally washed down with vinegar to enhance the original colour of the wood. When you consider the amount of work done it is well worth it! How about you? Will you go to great lengths to restore character or do you prefer to have something new to add? Anyone else have stories about stripping paint from doors?

6 thoughts on “Restore a door!

  1. My house was missing its original doors, but I found a matched set of 5 (also 4 paneled doors) that look original, impulse-bought them, and found that they’re all exactly the right sizes! Closet doors are a completely different style, and I’m ok with that. Mine will be painted though; altogether too many gouges and holes for them to ever be stain grade again. Many of mine will need to be stripped, too. I’m debating now if I want to pay $200 a door to have this done, or if I can handle doing it myself.

    • We stripped a fireplace in our current home and it cost a lot in the paint stripping materials and the labour was extensive. We couldn’t easily have the fireplace mantle stripped but I think we would have outsourced it if at all possible. Perhaps pay for one to get stripped, do one yourself and compare cost & workmanship before deciding which way to go with the rest.

      • Yeah, doing one will probably have me reaching for my checkbook. Unfortunately, will be DIY’ing the cornice on the front of my house next year, probably in just one weekend. My neighbor told me to rent a cherry picker. At least if I buy enough stripper for all the doors I’ll have it left over for the other stuff.

      • That exactly the challenge of renovations – what to spend the money on – the essentials and the wish list. Stripping doors is definitely wish list. Looking forward to seeing all the progress.

      • Well I’m calling the upstairs hall skylight an essential and the dishwasher a wish list – because after a year I won’t be broke anymore and one will be easier to add than the other. And then I’ll tell people at parties that there’s no dishwasher because I had to have the skylight.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s