Refinishing a door can make it look new. However, it's important to know before beginning the job how difficult it can actually be, especially if you are dealing with a wood door. The lines and crevices in the wood can be extremely difficult to remove. It is also important to take into consideration whether or not the paint on the door contains lead. If in the end you feel the door is worth it, following some basic steps will help you remove the paint.
Prepare your work area. If possible, this is an outside job. If you can take the door outside you will prevent fumes from the paint remover from overwhelming your home. If removing the paint outside is not an option, make sure you have a work area with lots of windows that can be opened. Lay out trash bags or other plastic in the area you are working in and over that lay newspapers in several layers. This will help protect the floor you are working on.
Put on your own safety gear. This should include gloves and a face mask. Appropriate items for this particular job are sold at local home improvement stores. Breathing the fumes from the paint remover is not healthy. Make sure you read all safety precautions and directions on the paint remover.
Brush on a layer of paint remover. Work on one side of the door at a time. You will have to give the paint remover time to work. Follow the guidelines on the can. The amount of time needed will be listed and can vary depending on how many layers of paint are on the door.
Use the scraper to carefully begin lifting the paint from the door. Make sure you have a save container to put the paint scraps in. Old paint cans that still have the lids are perfect for this. Make sure the cans are disposed of properly.
Be prepared to do some sanding. Paint is likely to linger in cracks and crevices and can be difficult to remove. Try sanding it. Another good tip is to use a butter knife or metal file to remove paint from the cracks.
Allow the door to completely dry before beginning the same process with the other side. Flip the door over carefully and begin again on the other side. Allow both sides to dry completely before doing any painting or staining to the door. If the paint remover is not completely dry, it can interfere with the new paint.