Ever since having our doors dipped a few weeks ago, we’ve been trying to decide on what to do with them now.
We’d always planned on painting all woodwork in the house white, but after seeing the amazing transformation from yucky and chipped paint to clean and natural wood, we’ve been struggling to decide on what to do. Having already stripped, sanded and more importantly repainted our bathroom and living room doors, keeping them natural would probably mean having to strip those two doors again.
Needless to say it’s not really something that we’d be keen on doing again! But, after a few weeks of trying to decide, we have finally made a decision!
Because we love the contrast between the white painted frames and the wood we’re keeping the natural wood doors!
Were really happy to have finally made a decision, but to actually get the doors to a state that we can call finished, a bit more work is required.
At the moment, it seems like every DIY job around here that we decide to tackle involves the same first step – sanding! I can’t tell you how sick of sanding I am, but at least having the doors dipped removed most of the paint and gunk so that not too much work is involved.
If you’re thinking of refinishing or restoring your doors, this our guide on how to wax wooden doors.
Like any surface that you are going to treat or paint, preparation is the most important step. We took our doors to be dipped, which was amazing and saved us a load of stripping work, but there were still a few little areas of old paint that needed sanding away.
You can use fairly coarse sandpaper for this (we used 80 grit) as you will have to sand them again later.
2. More Preparation
Now that the surface is stripped and clean, it’s time to get out the filler.
It’s tough to find a perfect filler match, but as long as it’s close and you don’t have any major holes to fill, it won’t be too visible when you are finished. Fill all holes (we had loads because our doors had been boarded up) and then give the door another sand (it’s the last time you have to, promise) with some fine sandpaper (we used 160 grit sandpaper on a palm sander).
Remove all of the dust from sanding and make sure your surface is completely clean. Now you can break out the wax!
Using a soft cloth, scoop up some of the wax and start to massage it into the wood in a circular motion. Wait a few minutes to let it dry and then, using a clean rag, start to buff the door moving along the grain of the wood. The more you buff it, the shinier it’ll be.
Although we chose a clear wax (this is the wax that we used and loved), it actually changed the colour of the wood quite a lot. At first the waxed area seemed a lot darker, but actually it wasn’t really darker (and it also seemed to dry a bit lighter), it was more that it brought out the colour and grain of the wood.
That’s all there is to it. Each door probably took about 2,5 hours to sand, fill and wax which made it a really quick and easy DIY job to do. It was also so much quicker than painting them and didn’t require a load of drying time between coats of paint either.
One of the things that we love most about the doors – and you’ll just have to trust us on this – is how amazingly smooth they now feel! Of course they were smooth after sanding, but even after applying the first coat of wax (and without much buffing) the finish is sooo amazingly smooth. It almost feels like a high gloss varnished surface.
Is it slightly sad, but they feel so amazing that we can’t walk past them without stroking them! Yep, we get excited about stroking our doors… maybe we should get out more…
Admittedly, the visible difference between the waxed and unwaxed door is very subtle on the photos, but in real life the overall appearance is smoother, more polished and generally the doors feel finished – having door knobs again kind of helps, too!
Looking right back to the way our doors and hallway looked on the day we moved in you can definitely see a bit more of a difference.
Considering it’s the same door, it’s really not a bad transformation!
Do you think we made the right choice in keeping doors natural looking? Or do you think we should have painted them?