Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Staining our historic wood front door

I am working on improving our front porch and curb appeal lately, and there was one project I really wanted to finish this summer. I almost 100% did!

Staining a wood door

Our front door is stained wood, and probably hadn’t been touched in many years. It’s a beautiful unique original shape, but the stain seemed to be dripping down and the top part was much lighter and showed where the wood had been pieced together. I think it’s cool to have a natural wood door instead of painted, but this definitely needed an update!

My mom helped. First we had to remove the old stain to get rid of the splotchiest parts. We sanded the door down, mostly by hand because there are a lot of little nooks and crannies. I use a belt sander for parts of it, going with the grain, but what was actually most effective was standing with really coarse sandpaper.

Once we were done sanding, I tested out a couple of different stain colors but decided I wanted something that didn’t have any red undertones. I went with an almost-black. It’s a nice deep brown, and in some lights it looks warmer than others, but I think I probably should have mixed this with a warmer/red or stain because I wanted dark, but not cold/black. Oh, well. It’s close to what I wanted.

I actually had to sand and stain a couple of times because some of the splotchy bits did show through. I had to add extra stain on some spots that were lighter. That was a bummer because I was really hoping this was going to be a quick and easy couple evening project, but it’s stretched on for weeks as I tried to find time to fit this in after the kids went to bed!
After 2 coats. Still had to even out the bottom and sides.

Done! (ALMOST.)

The reason this project is not 100% done is next step is to seal it with an outdoor clear finish coat. I really should’ve done this one of the past few weekends because now I don’t have any blocks of time that are warm enough to keep the door open and off the hinges, or have the outside air coming into our living room, while it dries around the edges. The coat ideally takes about 24 hours to dry, but if I had done this on a nice late summer morning and put it back on the evening, I bet it would’ve been fine. Now it’s too cold!

So, put that on the list for next year. But least it’s stained, it’s mostly even, and it looks good with the fresh coat of paint on the house! (See the before and painting project here.)

Next steps for the front porch are I want to get some more planters and put them on either side of the steps below the porch (just out of view, since it's a mess right now). I have three more boxwoods I’d like to plant. I also want to get a cool bench to go under the window. It would be really functional for taking shoes off, and would be under the cover from the rain. Haven’t found anything remotely close on Facebook Marketplace yet though. I also thought about a window box there. 

Our front porch definitely needs some prettying up and now that our door and paint are done I can play around with different things!

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