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  • Writer's pictureTamara Warren

When you should paint a door instead of refinishing it with stain and varnish?

Choosing to paint a damaged door over varnishing it can depend on several factors and personal preferences. Here are some reasons why you might choose to paint a damaged door instead of varnishing it:

  1. Concealing damage: Painting a damaged door can effectively hide any scratches, dents, or other imperfections on its surface. Varnishing, on the other hand, is a transparent coating that enhances the natural beauty of the wood but does not provide as much coverage for existing damage. We have a few tricks to minimize the damaged areas, or at least pull your eyes away from them. But just remember, stain is transparent; paint is solid.

  2. Versatility and color options: Paint offers a wide range of colors and finishes, allowing you to customize the appearance of your door to match your desired aesthetic or the overall decor of the space. This versatility is not always possible with staining, as it maintains the natural color and grain of the wood. Once you've stained your door dark, the sun literally bakes the stain into the fibers of the wood. Most often, it isn't possible to lighten a stain color without it resulting in a blotchy door.

  3. Cost-effectiveness: Painting a damaged door is generally more cost-effective than varnishing it. Paint is often less expensive than high-quality varnish, and by painting the door, you can potentially avoid the need for extensive repairs or refinishing work. Plus, paint lasts for many more years without having any upkeep, unlike stain and varnish.

  4. Old dated doors can sometimes get a modern look with a fresh coat and color of paint.

  5. Protection from the elements: Paint provides an additional layer of protection to the door's surface, shielding it from moisture, UV rays, and other environmental factors. This can be particularly important for exterior doors that are exposed to the elements. Varnish primarily enhances the wood's natural beauty but may not offer the same level of protection as paint.

  6. Personal preference and style: Ultimately, the decision to paint or varnish a damaged door comes down to personal preference and the desired look you want to achieve. Some individuals prefer the classic, natural appearance of varnished wood, while others may prefer the boldness or versatility of painted doors.

It's worth noting that the specific condition of the door, the type of wood used, and the overall design goals can also influence the decision between painting and varnishing. Consulting with a professional or considering expert advice based on the door's condition and your desired outcome can help inform your final decision.

We at NOLA Door Refinishing love (LOVE...L.O.V.E!) a beautifully refinished door but it isn't for everyone and certainly isn't ideal for every door. Maybe it is time to think about a lower maintenance option by painting your front door.

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