DIY: Replacing Door Frames And Refinishing Luan Doors

Luan Doors

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) does not have to be challenging. With the right tools and knowledge, even the most labour-intensive tasks can be completed effectively and efficiently.

Enhancing the beauty of your home can be achieved by doing small things like replacing doorframes. Completing the project yourself will not just enhance the beauty of your home but will also help you save money while improving a valuable asset, your home.

Before the Door Frame Replacement

Remove the door and its hardware. You will be left with a door trim around the frame.

Remove the door trim with a stiff putty knife or pry bar.

You can also use a pry bar to remove the doorframe.

Remove left over nails and other items from the doorframe to ensure you start working on a smooth surface.

Door Frame Replacement

Get a new door and frame and set them in the rough opening.

Smoothen and level the new frame in the opening.

Fasten the frame to the opening using nails and shims. The shims help keep the frame, square and solid.

Reinstall the original door trim and secure it with nails.


Be careful when removing the existing door trim to avoid damaging it because it will be reinstalled.

A piece of scrap wood placed between the door and the wall will help prevent damage to the wall when prying the doorframe out.

Refinishing Luan Doors

Luan doors are inexpensive, lightweight and easily replaceable. They are mostly used in home interiors including closets and other non-essential doorways. You can refinish luan doors to extend their lifespan. Unlike hardwood doors, luan doors cannot be refinished using power tools such as handheld sanders because the tools may damage the luan. This means, refinishing luan doors takes more time than hardwood surfaces.


Remove the screws in the hinges to take the door out of its frame. Remove the doorknob and any other piece of hardware. Take the door to an open, well-ventilated workspace and lay it flat on a table.

Strip the finish. This can be done using various types of solvents such as mineral spirits and varnish strippers. The best way to refinish luan doors is by using solvents instead of sanding, which is the preferred refinishing method for solid hardwood doors.

Take a cloth and dip it in the solvent. Wipe the solvent on the door.

Make sure the solvent has completely coated the door. Leave the door for 10 minutes to allow the solvent to soak into the wood. Remove the finish by wiping it with a damp cloth. In case the finish does not come off easily when wiped with a piece of cloth, use scrub brush or plastic putty knife.

Take a damp cloth and use it to wipe the wood once you have stripped the finish. Allow the door to dry. Sand the wood lightly with medium to fine grade sandpaper. Do this by hand to avoid damaging the wood. Continue sanding until the wood is bare then wipe it with a piece of damp cloth.

Use a paint brush, sprayer or roller to apply stain to the door. Use the tools that you are most comfortable with. Work with the grain of the wood.

Leave the door for about five minutes to allow the stain to soak into the wood. Wipe the door down with a clean piece of cloth to absorb excess stains.

Allow the door to dry before flipping it over to the other side and repeating the same process for the other side of the door. Spread the stain along the door’s edges.

Use a protective sealant such as polyurethane to seal the door. Allow the sealant to set in then flip the door and repeat the same process on the other side.

Aaron Reynolds is an internal door specialist at Haldane Fisher. He is an avid blogger, sharing his DIY tips with the world.

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