How to strip, sand, fill and varnish an interior door

How to strip, sand, fill and varnish an interior door

Posted 30th Jan 2017


Update your interior doors with this step-by-step guide

Safety first: always wear protective gloves, goggles and a mask when working with paintstripping chemicals

1 Apply the paint stripper using an old paint brush, but make sure you wear protective gloves, a mask and goggles. Work it into the mouldings and corners, brushing liberally over the flat areas, and leave it for the recommended length of time.

Step 1

2 Using a flat-bladed scraper try scraping back the paint on a test patch. If the paint is several layers thick, you may need to stipple in some more paint stripper and leave it a little longer. Once the stripper has done its job, you can scrape back the paint to reveal bare wood.

Step 2

3 Use a shavehook to scrape any paint from the mouldings. Draw the hook back towards you, removing the paint from the crevices.

Step 3

4 Neutralise the surface using either white spirit or water, depending on the stripper used. Work it into the surface with a cloth or brush to remove all traces of the stripping solution before continuing.

Step 4

5 Wear a dust mask and sand the flat panels with medium-grade abrasive paper. Wrap the paper around a piece of wood or use a sanding block and work in the direction of the grain, taking care not to round off any sharp corners or mouldings. Go over the area a second time using a fine-grade abrasive paper.

Step 5

6 Fold the abrasive paper into a suitable shape and work on the mouldings. Take care not to damage the mouldings when you’re working on corners and edges. You could use fine-grade wire wool instead of abrasive paper – except on natural oak, as it could mark it.

Step 6

7 Brush down the door and use a tack cloth. Then apply the stain with a paint brush, starting with the panels. Stain the mouldings first, then work around one half of the door and then the other. Always try to follow the grain and pick up wet edges before they dry. You’ll need to work quickly and apply the stain evenly, without any overlap. While it’s still damp, rub the door with a lint-free cloth to even out the stain and take off any excess.

Step 7

8 Use a good quality clean brush to apply the varnish, making sure you’ve read the instructions on the tin. Dip your brush up to a third of the bristle length, and wipe the excess off on the inside of the tin. Let the first coat dry thoroughly and then go over the surface lightly with a fine-grade abrasive paper. After that, wipe the door down with a tack cloth and put on a second coat. If you’re after a tough finish, you could apply a third coat.

Step 8

Top tip
A newly-stripped door will usually show previously hidden cracks in the wood or any blemishes, but you can use a wood filler to hide them. If you’re going to stain or varnish your door, it’s a good idea to choose a filler that matches the colour of the finished effect. This is because wood filler doesn’t absorb stain or varnish in the same way as natural wood.

Project courtesy of B&Q
Main image JELD-WEN

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