Don Roberts Don's Fine Woodworking
Custom Furniture, Doors, and Refinishing
Crossville, Tennessee

Refinishing Hardwood Doors

   Photos of a few jobs I've done, with some customer feedback.
Click the images for a larger version in a new window.

Details about Refinishing Doors

Exterior Entry Doors

VERY seriously neglected mahogany doors exposed to the full afternoon sun
  Close up of the damage   after
Believe it or not, the same doors refinished

12 year old Mahogany door and sidelights, very seriously neglected....
the same doors, refinished, after some serious sanding and varnishing!

   Most people seem to assume that once varnished, their front doors will last forever.
   Unfortunately, almost all finishes start to break down after only a year or two and no longer protect the wood, permitting it to absorb moisture and UV rays and then gradually deteriorate!
   FACT: all varnished (or painted) exterior wood doors need to be lightly refinished every few years, especially if they are exposed to the rain and harsh sunlight.
   Your doors were a significant investment and the correct preventive maintenance is inexpensive, compared to waiting too long and then having to repair, strip, stain, and re-varnish, or even replace them.

"Don, we're very pleased with the result! Feel free to use us as a reference anytime."

J. Groesbeck - Safety Harbor
Sun bleached,
nearly ruined!
Better than new!

   Important points to consider, when obtaining or comparing quotes:

   Refinishing exterior hardwood doors properly is not a simple or quick process. There are precious few true craftsmen who actually know how to correctly refinish and protect exterior wood surfaces, especially entry doors – I am one of them and specialize in this type of work. I also build and install fine hardwood doors. This means I will anticipate problems and restore your doors as if I had built them.

   The correct refinishing process is not inexpensive but is definitely a wise investment. I provide a long-lasting unsurpassed finish that restores the rich details of your often very expensive entry doors.

   Once the finish on an exterior door has deteriorated past a certain point (white/grey areas, dry to the touch, varnish peeling off…) there is no other option than to strip/sand it back to bare wood and start over (stain, seal and finish), to try and apply a new finish otherwise is asking for trouble since it will not adhere to what’s left of the existing ‘damaged’ finish, or protect the wood.

   Exterior vertical wood surfaces, such as doors, require a specific type of “varnish” which is NOT available at home improvement type stores. The right product needs to remain somewhat ‘flexible’ so as to let the wood expand and contract. Off the shelf commercial varnishes are formulated to get very hard and end up developing hairline cracks because of the seasonal movement of the wood. These cracks let the moisture in, which results in very fast deterioration of both the finish and the wood itself!

   There are far too many “handymen” who claim to be able to refinish doors for what initially seems to a very reasonable price (usually about $300 - $500, but even higher quotes do not ensure proper restoration) however, they almost always use the wrong products/techniques and end up doing a poor job.

   I get quite a few jobs to strip and refinish those doors which had been done improperly

   Refinishing a hardwood door is also NOT a job for a “painter" – unless of course you decide to have it painted! The beauty of your entryway is vital to the value of your home.

   In order to correctly refinish a custom entry door there is no substitute for taking it down and doing the work horizontally in a workshop, then spraying on the final finish. Anyone who attempts to do the work on site is either inexperienced or simply cutting cost.

   In the long run a less than fully professional restoration means your doors will have to be refinished more often, will possibly need repair … or might even need to be replaced.

   I very much doubt you would entrust an expensive vehicle of any type to something like “Al’s Cut Rate Body Shop & Repairs” – well, it’s the same with a high quality entry door - you need a professional!

   This beautiful pair of Brazilian Oak doors had NOT been cared for correctly, resulting in serious damage, not only to the varnish finish, but also to the lower panels which had to be completely replaced.  

sun and water damage
Refinished exterior doors

A set of very faded Douglas Fir entry doors completely revamped.
70's style Douglas Fir doors, starting to seriously fade.
Stripped to bare wood first, stained 'Red Mahogany',
then very well varnished.

"Don's work is the best I've ever seen and he is the only person I ever recommend for the proper refinishing of your hardwood doors!"
Cal Reynolds. - ARTGLASS STUDIOS, Clearwater

One of the most beautiful sets of Hard Maple entry doors I've ever seen, now correctly restored and protected for many years to come.
water damaged jamb
water damaged joints

fully restored

fully restored

"Don's work is truly spectacular. Our entry doors really needed attention and are even more beautiful now than when they were new!" Michele H. - Treasure Island

"Saving" an extremely weather beaten pair of Oak entry doors.
Wood is no longer protected and shows serious damage.
Fully restored and very well protected.
White unprotected areas (bare wood) are visible.
Correct sanding and varnishing resolves the problem.

   This particularly beautiful set of doors made from 'Honduran' Mahogany cost $8,000 when first installed some 8 years ago, but were severely damaged, mainly due to incorrect maintenance/refinishing.
before after
   Actually, these beautiful doors were nearly RUINED by a 'local handyman' who just one year ago convinced the owner that they could be 'refinished' very inexpensively ($350) using store-bought "Spar" Varnish, which he then applied with a brush, but without even sanding the surface first.
   The result, a very long and expensive correction was required. Hours of work to first strip them right back to the bare wood, then progressively sand, stain, seal, and varnish them with 4 coats of the correct exterior grade varnish to restore them to their original beauty and correctly protect them for many years to come.

"I'm very pleased with the quality of your work. Clearly shows you're a true craftsman and take great pride in your work. You really did a very nice job on the door which is why I have no hesitation about hiring you again"
R. Hackney - South Tampa

Interior Doors

Restoring and Refinishing a beautiful pair of antique Cypress doors.
before after With the new "Art" glass after
Both refinished doors

Refinishing Wooden Garage Doors


   I specialize in the expert refinishing of hardwood doors, using ONLY the best quality EXTERIOR GRADE varnish, "Catalyzed Urethane", that truly stands up to the harsh elements.

Details about Refinishing Doors