Return to How To's & Project Ideas

How to Varnish an Interior Door

Print this article Share

Protect and prolong the beauty of your wooden interior doors by varnishing them. When varnish is not applied properly, it can chip and peel. Our easy to follow step-by-step guide will help you to achieve a long lasting and professional result.

Step 1

Prepare Area & Remove Door Hardware

Prepare Area & Remove Door Hardware

Lay a tarpaulin or laminated dustsheet on the ground to protect it from any stray varnish. Open a window nearby to provide ventilation. Then using a screwdriver, unscrew and remove the door handles, any hooks or other hardware.

Step 2

Sand Door

Sand Door

For the best results, the door should be taken back to its bare timber or as close to it as possible. Any flaky varnish or paint must be removed. Please see our guide “How to Strip Paint” for help with this. If there are any deep scratches, holes or pieces of moulding missing, fill them with a plastic wood filler in a matching colour. Then rub down the surface with fine sandpaper, working with the wood grain.

Step 3

Clean Door

Clean Door

Wide away dust residue with a damp cloth and allow the door to dry completely.

Step 4

Plan Varnish Application

Plan Varnish Application

On a flush door, simply start varnishing at the top and work your way to the bottom. For a panelled door, varnish the panels in the order shown to obtain the best finish.

Step 5

Apply Varnish

Apply Varnish

Wearing protective gloves, brush on the first coat of varnish evenly. Allow each coat to dry and rub down the door between coats with fine sandpaper to remove any pimples of varnish or rough patches. This will also help the next coat to adhere. Remove the dust with a damp cloth and allow to dry before applying the next coat. Two to three coats of varnish should be sufficient, depending on the finish required.

Step 6

Reattach Hardware

Reattach Hardware

When the varnish is completely dried, reattach the door handles and any other hardware.