Old doors brought back to life

Project by GaryL posted 04-08-2013 10:06 PM 5344 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally talked the homeowner into letting me take her ugly doors and spruce them up a bit. They are about thirty-two years old. It was somewhat of a crapshoot with the doors being painted originally. I had sanded off a section to see if it was possible to bring these up to a stain grade. After stripping and getting the old garbage off (they don’t make a stripper that is worth a *%# anymore), mostly sanding it off, they were in decent condition. I ended up replacing the operating door stile on the lockset side do to being bored and drilled for a mortise style Baldwin lockset. She did not want to spring for new ones of that caliber (expensive) so everything was changed to modern tubular style locksets. Patched the other stile, new panel trim, lower raised panels, and seeded triple pane glass units. Finished with General Finishes 450 series stains and clear coat.

All in all, I was very happy how they turned out. I wasn’t expecting to be able to get a fir door, built to be painted not stained, to turn out as nice as it did. The homeowner loves it…that’s all that matters.

This is before I pulled them. For some reason I did not get a shot from outside. There was also some ugly orange wood storm doors that I removed.

In the shop ready to strip. The interior.

The weathered exterior.

This is the stile I replaced. After stripping I saw they had blew out the side when they had original bored for the mortise lockset. They finalized that decision for major surgery.

The new limb/stile ready for the transplant.

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

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208 posts in 2274 days

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12 comments so far

View James101's profile


3 posts in 1457 days

posted 04-09-2013 02:48 AM

Excellent job Gary!!
What product did you end up using for stripper?
I used to use a product called “Dad’s” Pretty Toxic, but worked good. Don’t know if that’s still available or not.

View GaryL's profile


208 posts in 2274 days

posted 04-09-2013 10:37 AM

I used strip-eze (?) and also a varnish/stain stripper. They worked but not well. It took three applications and there was still a pretty good layer I ended up sanding off.
The good ol” days of lung burning, brain melting strippers that actually worked are far behind us I’m afraid.

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

View J's profile


70 posts in 1683 days

posted 04-10-2013 10:09 PM

You certainly brought new life, and some great style to those old doors. What a transformation!

-- I found the board stretcher... finally!

View jim1953's profile


26 posts in 2624 days

posted 04-11-2013 03:25 AM

What a Great job

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


448 posts in 1710 days

posted 04-13-2013 05:26 AM

Gary, stunning work my. They look like very expensive brand new custom doors. You do amazing work.

-- Working on my home for 2 years and counting.

View Robb's profile


15 posts in 2815 days

posted 04-13-2013 07:59 AM

Wow, what an upgrade. I applaud you for being able to coax another generation’s worth of life out of those old doors. Most people would have just scrapped them. Great work!

View GaryL's profile


208 posts in 2274 days

posted 04-13-2013 11:42 AM

Thanks for compliments guys. It sure made a difference in the front foyer and approaching the house from the drive. It brought it to life.

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

View Dusty56's profile


27 posts in 2592 days

posted 04-26-2013 03:09 AM

WOW ! Those came out perfectly : ) Love the color as well as the Craftsmanship !

-- "I've got an hour glass figure , but , it's later than you think"! _Minnie Pearl

View BillyJ's profile


258 posts in 2744 days

posted 04-29-2013 07:42 PM

Very nice work Gary. Were you able to remove the lock-side style without damaging them or did you just bite the bullet and cut them? Very nice finishing work. I’d hire you in a heart-beat. Beauteous work young man.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

View getroofingquotes's profile


57 posts in 1475 days

posted 05-02-2013 10:02 AM

Great there. O love the way you reinvent the door.

-- GetRoofingQuotes.com

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21 posts in 250 days

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31 posts in 329 days

posted 08-01-2016 07:06 AM

Old things have their own specialties. Like that the old doors look very much appealing. I am planning to use doors in old styles for my new home. It will be really different. Thank you so much for sharing this post here!

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