Repainting front door

I have an old solid wood front door to which the previous people had nailed a hardboard on the outside (presumably to hide some damage). But the nails have rusted and the rust is showing through the white paintwork. I can't afford to replace the door so what can I do to improve its appearance? I could strip the paint, use stainless steel nails to refit and gloss paint it or is there an easier way?
Alec
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Alec wrote:

Yuch, Hardboard on the outside?? Thats wrong, its not meant for exterior use.
If the board & nails were properly painted with 3 decent coats of exterior paint they wouldn't have gone rusty. Maybe it was painted with emulsion/interior paint to match the hardboard? :-) If it is hardboard, lose it and assess any damage to door. It may have been done in the 60s when this was merely done for fashion.. Any damage could probably be repaired with 2 part high performance wood filler. If you need/want to recover the door use exterior plywood..
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It would be some damage that would look make a door look better with hardboard over it. ;-)
More likely done to make it look 'modern' years ago. With a bit of luck the door will be perfectly serviceable underneath.
--
*Ah, I see the f**k-up fairy has visited us again

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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