Refinishing Doors on the Exterior of the Home

I recently received the following inquiry regarding the condition of exterior doors and what to do with them.

The web visitor wrote: I have wood doors on the front of my home, and I think they need to be refinished. It looks like they are weathering really badly. They get the afternoon sun. What is your recommendation to refinish my doors, so that I do not continue to have this problem?

My response to the web visitor was as follows: I am so sorry you are having this issue. The reason your doors are weathering so badly is due to the rain and mainly the sun exposure. Sun exposure to a wood door is not good. When doors are installed, they are stained and then a coat of varnish is applied to the door. Unfortunately, the stain and the varnish have no UV protection against the sun's rays. The more exposure to the sun, the more damage that is caused.

The doors will look great for many years, depending on the exposure to the sun, but once the varnish starts to separate and come off and the stain wears off and you see bare wood, it is too late. Many times the wood joints on the doors will separate, leaving gaps in the door or even the doorframe. If the doors are facing North or if you have a very large front porch that protects from sun exposure you may be okay, but be sure and watch your doors at different times of the day. Many times, the doors will get late afternoon sun exposure.

Homeowners do have several choices:

1. They can have the doors completely stripped of the previous finish, sanded and re-stained, then several coats of varnish can be applied in either a satin or gloss finish. However, if the wood joints have started to separate, I don't recommend this solution. You will still have the problem with the UV rays even if you have your doors varnished once a year.

2. They can have the doors cleaned, sanded, primed with an oil-based bonding primer. They caulk all wood joints on the doors and inlays and allow caulk to dry overnight. Then have the doors painted with a premium exterior paint in a gloss or satin finish. By using the paint on the doors it give the doors the UV protection against the sun.

3. The last option is once the doors have been painted with the right basecoat of paint, the doors can be faux-finished using paint, in a wood grain effect. I have done this many times to not only wood doors, but to metal and fiberglass doors and garage doors.

Visit my website at Ronspainting.com and go to gallery, then exterior faux doors. Here is the link:

http://ronspainting.com/exterior-faux-doors

You will be able to see some of the doors that I have faux-finished, as well as doors that I have painted.