Front Door Facelift

For the past few weeks, Eric & I have been working on repairs & updates to my rental property, since it’s between tenants now. Here I wanted to share one of the major transformations, and how some sweat-equity can save lots of money. The Front Door Facelift! This was really Eric’s project while I worked on some things inside (and ran outside every 30 minutes to snap a picture).  A real labor of love.

I was considering buying a new front door. Minimum $169 for a basic steel door. I really like the wood look fiberglass doors, those are minimum $450. I was trying to keep my costs down on the house, I was doing some other big projects so the front door is one area I was able to save some money (although it probably took more labor-hours to complete).


Here is a very early “before” picture. Before I touched it at all. Really terrible, which is a shame because it’s a beautiful solid wood door. It looks like it went through painting and gel stain but the stain didn’t get the wipe-off portion. Also, you can’t really tell, but it was very splintery. I got lots of splinters when I started sanding.

Last year, I painted the door Red after doing some sanding. It still had a bad texture in it, but I couldn’t get it all out, or at least didn’t want to spend the time doing all that work. Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking going with that red.


A Close-up of a panel. You can see a bit of texture here. Eric speculates that the door was pressure washed in the past, and it shouldn’t have been. It probably ate away at the soft parts of the wood (leaving the deep grooves).


Starting to sand the door!


The door had this ugly mini-door. I guess you could open it to get your mail if the mailman came up to the door and didn’t want the dogs to get out???


It was too difficult to sand the door on the hinges, so Eric propped it up on sawhorses and went to town with the belt sander, the corner cat sander and then this flywheel-creation. The flywheel was to get the paint off first, because it was tearing up the sandpaper too quickly right off the bat.


So Eric took out the ugly rails in the mini-door and the frame that held the glass in place.The brown frame you see in the picture above was the frame around the glass.


I picked up some decorative trim from Home Depot that we would use to frame the new glass in place. Eric cut it to size and nailed them in place! And used a little wood filler to fill in the nail holes and some other holes in the door.


Went to Ace Hardware and ordered a piece of glass to fit. We measured the exact opening and asked for a piece that was 1/4″ off each dimension. (The trim was 7/16″ thick so we had some wiggle room there).


So I’ve got to give credit to Lowes (HERE is the link to their how-to project page) for this idea because I never would have thought about it. I was thinking about buying some vinyl-stick on that cost about $19 to add privacy to the glass. But instead, we found Frosted Glass Spray Paint (THIS stuff. It’s a bit cheaper at Home Depot at just under $4!). Sweet savings. We taped off the edges with Frog Tape and spray painted the exposed glass. I thought it added a nice touch. I would have painted the whole thing but I was surprised at how well it came out. Hopefully it holds up for the long term.


So I missed a few pictures here. But here’s the glass in place Post Spray-Painting, from the inside. Not bad! After placing the glass in, against the exterior trim frame, Eric then nailed the interior trim frame to hold the glass in place.I had a dark stain by Varathane called “Carrington” I figured we’d try to see if it matched the inside of the door- and I couldn’t believe how well it matched.

Continuing back to the Outside…


Door is primed!


I bought a sample paint from Home Depot called “Millenium Silver” (Behr). It was enough to cover the door with two coats for about $3.48! Here’s a closeup of the glass from the outside. Obviously, the trim I bought wasn’t a perfect match to the existing trim. Close enough.


And here’s the final product!

Thanks for reading!

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