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How to Refinish Closet Doors

If your closet doors are looking a little shabby, you can refinish them yourself and get them looking new again.


  • Step 1: Remove the door from its frame Take the door out of its frame and lay it across two sawhorses to keep it steady and level while you work.
  • Step 2: Remove hardware Remove all of the door's hardware, including doorknobs and hinges, using a screwdriver.
  • Step 3: Sand the door Use a rotary sander to remove the old paint or finish. Start with a rough grade sandpaper, such as 60 grit, and sand the entire door. Then switch to a medium grade sandpaper, sand again, and, finally, sand the door with a fine grade sandpaper.
  • Step 4: Fill in voids Dust the door and wipe it with a damp cloth. Then fill in any gouges, holes, or scratches with wood putty, and, when the putty dries, sand the filled areas.
  • Step 5: Seal and stain Apply a coat of sealant if you're staining the door. When the base coat is dry, brush the stain on in sections, applying thick coats and allowing it to pool. After one minute, remove excess stain with a paper towel or lint free rag.
  • TIP: Wear rubber gloves to avoid staining your hands.
  • Step 6: Prime and paint Apply a coat of primer if you're painting the door. When the primer is dry, brush the paint on in sections. Apply as many coats of paint as necessary, let the paint dry, reattach the hardware, and then hang your freshly painted door.
  • Step 7: Apply polyurethane Apply a protective coat of polyurethane. Brush in one direction, applying a smooth, thin coat. Let it dry for eight hours, and then sand it with fine sandpaper or steel wool to make the finish dull. Then wipe away the dust and apply a second coat, sanding again after eight hours.
  • Step 8: Apply a final coat Apply a third coat of polyurethane, let it dry for 24 hours, reattach the hardware, and hang your beautifully redecorated door.
  • FACT: Silicon carbide, zirconia, ceramic, and garnet are the minerals most commonly used to manufacture sandpaper.

You Will Need

  • 2 sawhorses
  • Screwdriver
  • Rotary sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Damp cloth
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Sealant or primer
  • Lint-free rag
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint or stain
  • Polyurethane
  • Steel wool
  • Rubber gloves (optional)

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