If you own a historic home, and you're in the process of restoring it to original condition, don't sell yourself short on the doors. Many people choose new doors when restoring their old homes, losing some of the historic features of the home. To truly restore an historic home, you should try to restore the original doors. Here are four steps you need to take to restore historic doors.
Strip the Paint
If you're going to restore your historic doors, and they have been painted or stained, you need to strip it all away. When you're done, you should be down to the bare wood. To strip antique wood, you want to start with the mildest form of paint stripper you can find to avoid damaging the wood. Apply the stripper using a paint brush and wait for the solvent to begin bubbling. Once the solvent begins to bubble, carefully use a plastic putty knife to scrape away the old layers of paint and stain. After all the paint and stain has been removed, you'll want to wipe away the excess paint stripper with a cloth.
Repair the Damage
Once the paint and stain have been stripped away, and you're back to the bare wood, you'll want to carefully repair the damage. For minor cracks and blemishes, you can use wood putty to repair the damage. However, if you see significant damage, such as wood rot, you'll need to arrange for the professional repair of your historic doors. In situations involving significant damage, historic doors often need to be taken apart and rebuilt, which requires an expert hand, and eye for detail.
Restore the Finish
After the paint has been stripped to the bare wood, and the damage has been repaired, you'll want to restore the finish. To make sure you retain the historic appeal, pay attention to the type of wood that was used for the original construction of the doors. That will give you a good idea as to the color of stain you should use for the restoration.
Install the Hardware
Finally, once your historic doors have been repaired and refinished, you'll want to install the hardware. If the original hardware was still in good condition, you can give it a thorough cleaning and continue to use it for your doors. However, If the hardware is beyond repair, it will need to be replaced. Be sure to choose hardware that comes close to matching the original design for your doors.
Consider a company like Historic WoodWork for help with beautiful restorations.