Period properties are defined not just by when it was built and its type of structure, but also by various defining features such as a front door. Different period property types have their classic door to go with the house. If you happen to own one, then you might want to restore this for the sake of keeping true to the heritage that comes with the home. However, if you have decided to immerse yourself in this project, then here are some tips to help you in restoring your period front door on your own.
Finding out which type of door you have
This can easily be done by a quick internet search. Most period properties showcase panelled wood front doors made of solid wood which may also have clear or stained glass to go with it. Finding out which type of door you have can help you stay true to the materials that were used to create this door.
Remove the door from its hinges
It is best to do the restoration work with the door removed from its frame. This will allow better access to all the wood parts which may need repairing or restoring. Remove your door from its hinges, then remove all non-wood fixtures such as doorknobs, latches, etc. Use painters tape to cover any glass parts or other parts that should not be painted over. Lay your door down on sawhorses.
Restore the frame
The door frame is significantly smaller in surface area than your door, so you should start with this so it can be left to dry while you work on your door. Use a heat gun to help remove paint and scrape it off using medium-grit sandpaper. Apply one or two coats of primer and then proceed to paint after the primer has dried.
Note: Older paints contain lead. Use a mask and gloves when working with this type of paint.
Repair the door
Old doors may have issues such as cracks, scratches, or rot. Similarly, remove the paint off of the wood door as you did with the frame. For scratches or uneven surfaces, sanding will do. For cracks, fill it with wood filler, wait until dry, and sand it down to even it out. For rot, knock on parts of the door with a chisel or hammer. Rotten sections are typically brittle and crumbly. If you have rotten sections in your door, remove all the rot completely with a chisel, until you expose good wood. Dry it out with a heat gun before filling it with wood filler. Sand it down once again.
You might also want to check out: How To Deal With Loose Sections Of Your Solid Wood Door
Paint the door
At this stage, your door should be bare. Apply around two coats of primer. You can use a tinted primer to better achieve the colour you desire. Wait for the primer to dry and then paint. When painting, remember to do it in an outward direction, starting with panels, then midsections and edges.
If you made it past this stage, congratulations! You have just learned how to restore your period front door. However, if the task seems difficult or uncalled for, remember that many restoration specialists are available to help you out with your needs.
You might also be interested in: The cost and considerations in refinishing a front door
Wooden Window and Door Specialist
This article was written on behalf of Fortis & Hooke by Pieter Boyce. Pieter has an intense passion for English Architectural history and has been specialising in the conservation of original wooden windows and doors for decades. His exceptional knowledge of timber windows and doors, both listed or non-listed, is attributed to his hands-on approach to learning all aspects of the complete restoration of original features as well as having personally surveyed thousands of items throughout his long tenure as a head surveyor for one of the largest window and door restoration companies in the UK. He now runs a boutique wooden window and door consultancy and fervently champions the retention of original windows and doors. To learn more of Pieter’s services, visit his website at www.boultonboyce.co.uk.