If you have a wooden door at your home that's been painted over and you've grown unhappy with the color, then you might be wondering what it would take to repaint or refinish the existing door. First of all, if you're planning on painting it a new color, understand that you'll need to strip the old paint in order to enjoy the best results.

Simply painting over the existing layer won't do the trick. If this is your first time stripping paint from a wooden door, however, there are some things you'll need to know before you get started.

DO Test for Lead

First and foremost, make sure to test the existing paint for lead. There's a good chance that if your door is older (more than a couple decades old), it has some traces of lead in the paint. You can buy a simple lead test kit at your local home improvement store for just a few dollars; by rubbing the contents of the kit over the paint, the color it changes will indicate whether or not lead is present.

If no lead is present, continue on with your project as normal. If there is lead, you might actually want to consider replacing your door rather than stripping the paint.

DO Have Some Patience

Chemical paint strippers tend to do a great job of removing paint from the largest and flattest areas of a wooden door. However, if the door had several layers of paint on it, expect to have to use a new application of paint stripper for each layer. Furthermore, realize that any small nooks and crannies in the door will need to be hand scraped, which can be a painstaking process. Your efforts will be more than worth it in the end, however.

DON'T Forget to Sand

Finally, no matter what you plan on doing with your newly stripped door--whether you want to apply a new coat of paint or leave it in its natural form--you'll want to take the time to sand the wood down first. You can do this by hand, moving from a coarse-grit sandpaper to a fine-grit one, but if you have a handheld electric sander, this can save you a fair amount of time and ensure a smooth surface when you're all done. Once the door is sanded down, it's ready to accept a new coat of paint, stain, or polish.

To learn more, contact a company like All Seasons Painting & Decorating with any questions or concerns you have.