Restoring oak doors
Richard Willott, Traditional Painter for Suffolk was contacted recently for some advice on restoring oak doors. It has prompted him to share his experiences on a project he undertook last summer. Advice from the tree!
A long standing client had asked me if there was anything I could do to bring their solid oak front doors back to life .
They had been fitted approximately 5 years ago during some major renovation work. Unfortunately they had weathered extremely badly. I think these doors had been on a hiding to nothing due to a combination of insufficient or unsuitable protective coats.
There are a few options to clean off the marks and protect the timber. I had used an Osmo coating to restore oak windows a few years ago. Staining had not been a problem, though. I remembered something I had seen on social media – a product description with pictures showing how badly weathered timbers had been restored to their natural beauty. I traced back the article and contacted Willem at Fluxaf about Lacq Turbogel.
Lacq Turbogel is a powerful cleaning gel for cleaning and refreshing weathered exterior timber.
The thixotropic formula makes Turbogel easy to apply on both horizontal and vertical surfaces.
The deep cleaning gel penetrates the wood and refreshes the weathered surface.
It comes in 1lt 2.5lt and 20lt sizes and is available through their webshop and also at My Paintbrush .
Restoring oak doors – start with Turbogel
After reading the instructions on the tin, I moistened all surfaces with clean water. I then carefully opened the tin of Turbogel, stirred the product thoroughly and started to apply the thixotropic mixture with a 2 ½” brush. Just as it said on the tin, it was easy to apply to the horizontal surfaces. It wasn’t long before I had completely coated one of the oak doors.
After 20 minutes or so, I started to remove the gel with a hard bristled scrubbing brush. With the scrubbing action the oak was coming alive before my very eyes.
Once I had removed all the visible gel, I then washed the door again with clean water. Because the oak was badly weathered I repeated the process.
Once I was satisfied with the first door I then repeated the same again with the other door. Although still wet, it was obvious that the Turbogel had worked its magic and most of the weathering had been removed from the oak doors.
Restoring oak doors – sanding
The next part of the job was to sand down all the surfaces. It is recommended to let the timber dry thoroughly first. That took a good 24hrs.
This is how the first door came out.
I used my Festool ETS EC 150/5 EQ-PLUS “eccentric” sander connected of course to a dust extractor. Starting with an 80 grit disc it didn’t take long to remove any of the final traces of weathering.
When sanding it is good practice to start rough and go through finer grades to remove previous sanding marks. A 120 grit disc was just right for the second stage sanding. The ETS EC 150 is a round format sander ideally suited to “wide open spaces”. I switched over to a rectangular format palm sander, Festool RTS 400 sander for those fiddly areas and grooves.
For all things Festool chat visit the owners’ forum, with thousands of tips on how to spend your money.
With a final brush down to remove any traces of dust, the doors were dry, smooth, clean and ready for a protective coating.
Restoring oak doors – 3 coats of oil
Lacq are masters of oils and natural wood finishes and they had just the right product. Lacq hardwood oil has a very high solids content (98%), which means that a very high coverage is achieved with the first layer.
The oil brushed on exceptionally well and instantly brought out the rich tones in the oak. After allowing the oil to dry sufficiently, I gave it a gentle sand with 180 grit discs ready for the 2nd coat. This process was repeated once more for the final 3rd coat.
As you can see from all the photos of before, during and after restoring oak doors, the results speak for themselves.
These “brand new doors” could have been better treated in the first place to avoid this sort of major overhaul. An extra coat; not trying to get away with the bare minimum; good equipment; premium product specification… some of the elements that go a long way towards delivering a professional durable finish. Maintenance should now be very simple.
Richard knows a bit about wood. He specialises in hand painting kitchens and furniture in East Anglia. Here is a summary of his work and reviews and contact points.
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