Internal oak doors add a sense of sophistication and timeless class to your home. This makes them a big hit with homeowners.

But like all wooden furniture, they need looking after.

The question is:

Do oak doors need treating?

Indeed, they do. And today, we’re going to show you exactly how to treat oak doors so that they last a long time.

Read on.

Table of contents

How do you care for oak doors?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s take care of a few basics.

First, oak doors are available in different finishes, including fully finished/pre-finished, primed and unfinished. If you’re not sure which finish you should go for, check out our in-depth guide on different finishes for some expert tips and ideas.


The main difference as far as treating oak doors is concerned here is that you need to prime, paint and varnish an unfinished oak door. In contrast, fully finished oak doors are ready to hang.

Second, the price of solid oak doors might appear prohibitive. Luckily, though, there’s an appealing money-saving alternative in the shape of oak veneer doors. These doors look the part because they feature thin slices of oak which are added to a less dense, less expensive central part.

The good news is:

Treating oak veneer doors involves the exact same process as treating solid oak ones, as does cleaning them.

Even if you have oak veneer doors rather than solid oak ones, keep on reading!

how to treat oak doors

How to oil a door

Even if you opt for a fully finished door, oak door treatment with oil or oak varnish every couple of years is a good way to ensure your precious oak doors stay in top-notch condition.

So, if you were wondering, how often should you oil oak doors, you now have your answer.

When it comes to the best oil for oak doors, this will depend on the type of door. So you will need to consider

Another question that often pops up is:

Can you paint oak?

Yes, oak is a natural material and suitable for painting. However, most people prefer the natural colour of oak. If you’re after a highly specific colour, we recommend buying a primed white door and painting it.

Tools you’ll need

Before you start your oak treatment, make sure you have the following handy:

  • Oil for oak doors or varnish for oak veneer doors of your choice
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Paintbrush and tray
  • Sandpaper
  • Rubber gloves
  • Finishing pad

Once you’ve assembled all the necessary tools, follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Remove all door furniture

Make sure you’ve removed any door handles, hinges and other door furniture. In case you’re varnishing an old door, you’ll have to remove it first. Then, lightly sand and, if necessary, clean the door.

Step 2: Apply the oak oil or varnish

Stir the oak veneer door oil and carefully pour it into the painting tray. Working with the grain, apply thinly.

Step 3: Remove any excess oil

Using a clean microfibre cloth, wipe off any excess oil or varnish. Once again, make sure you work with the grain. Allow to fully dry for at least several hours.

Step 4: Finish with the finishing pad

Working with the grain, wipe with the finishing pad. Apply the final coat of oil and remove any excess as you did for the first one. At this point, there’s no need for you to wipe with the finishing pad.

Step 5: Do the flip side of the door

Flip the door to its other side and follow the same process. Don’t forget to do the sides! Now, you’re ready to hang the door.

Notice the difference? It’s massive!

How to clean oak doors

As we mentioned previously, long-term door oak door maintenance involves treating oak doors with oil or varnish every couple of years or so.

Additionally, it’s vital that you clean them regularly since dust is an oak veneer internal doors’ biggest enemy.

Here’s how to clean a wooden door:

First, dust the door with a feather duster or dry cloth if necessary.

Second, dip a clean sponge in some warm water mixed with a bit of washing-up liquid. Wring it out carefully and wipe any stains working with the grain. Then, wipe out any moisture with a clean cloth – you don’t want your oak doors absorbing any water!

Finally, you can give your oak doors a quick polish. Keep in mind that there is a wide range of liquid furniture polish solutions on the market. Some are suitable for wooden floors as well as wooden furniture, while others are too strong for oak. So, make sure you read the labels carefully to avoid a massive headache later!

All you have to do is spray a bit on your door and polish it with a dry microfibre cloth to give it that extra sheen.

Nice and simple – but very rewarding.

The importance of oak door treatment

Knowing how to treat oak doors and how to treat oak veneer doors is essential. Even if you decide to opt for fully finished ones, it’s a good idea to clean them regularly and treat them with oil or varnish every two to three years or so.

The thing is:

Oak doors are often quite expensive, and you need them to last a long time while preserving their luxurious look.

Luckily, now that you’re fully aware of how to treat oak wood, you should have no trouble maintaining them properly, ensuring they remain in mint condition for many years to come.

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