How to Finish Doors

Three Methods:Apply Wood StainSeal the WoodRepeat All Steps

Beautifully finished doors show off the wood's natural beauty. If the wood doors in your house could use a "face lift," or if you have purchased new doors, consider spending the time to apply a beautiful finish to the wood. To finish a door, you need only a few simple tools and some time.

Steps

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    Prepare the work area by vacuuming or cleaning with a damp rag to remove as much dust as possible.
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    Place the unfinished door on sawhorses or a raised, flat surface for easy access.
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    Sand your door to remove any oils and scratches.
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    Clean the surface with paint thinner or acetone using a soft rag to remove any particles from sanding.
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    Stir (do not shake) the commercial wood conditioner until the product is evenly mixed.
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    Spread a commercial wood conditioner on 1 side of your door first; the conditioner will ensure even stain absorption and avoid blotches.
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    Wipe up any excess conditioner with a clean, dust-free cloth after 15 to 30 minutes.
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    Allow to dry for 2 hours.

Method 1
Apply Wood Stain

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    Stir (do not shake) the wood stain until it is evenly mixed.
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    Apply a thin layer of stain across the wood's grain.
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    Wipe off the excess stain after 15 to 30 minutes using a clean, dust-free cloth.
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    Allow the stain to dry completely for from 4 to 6 hours.

Method 2
Seal the Wood

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    Stir (do not shake) the polyurethane until it is evenly mixed.
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    Apply a thin layer of polyurethane to your stained door (except the sides) following the wood's grain to seal the wood and protect it against the elements.
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    Allow the door to dry for 3 to 4 hours.
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    Sand the dried door lightly.
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    Clean off the sanded surface with a clean, dry rag.
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    Apply a second coat of polyurethane.
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    Allow to dry for 12 to 24 hours.

Method 3
Repeat All Steps

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    Repeat each step above to finish the second side of the door.
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    Clean all brushes with mineral spirits.
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    Hang the door after drying for from 12 to 24 hours.

Tips

  • Wood tends to contract in winter. This may expose some unstained areas. These can be touched up at that time and will not show when the door expands again the following summer.
  • If there is any glue on your door before beginning the finishing steps, make sure to remove it.
  • Do not pre-treat doors made of hardwoods, such as oak or cherry. Pre-treatment products tend to seal the wood and the stain will not penetrate.
  • Using products from the same manufacturers will ensure compatibility.

Warnings

  • If after finishing your door, you see raised wood grain that appears rough, it may be that moisture penetrated the rough surface before it was sealed. You may need to re-sand the door and repeat the above steps.
  • Any discoloration, such as gray, indicates oxidation from being exposed to moisture.
  • Be aware of any cracks in the finish as these will allow moisture to enter.
  • Make sure to work in an area that is both adequately lighted and well ventilated. Do not work inside the house because the fumes can be toxic.

Things You'll Need

  • Door
  • Sandpaper or sanding blocks/sponges (180 grit)
  • 1 quart (0.95 mL) of wood conditioner
  • 1 quart (0.95 mL) of stain
  • 1 can of polyurethane finish
  • 3-inch (7.6 cm) flat brushes for oil-based stains
  • 1.5- or 2-inch (3.8 or 5.1 cm) angled brushes (optional) to use for intricate details on door
  • Paint stirrers
  • Staining rags
  • Vacuum (optional)
  • Sawhorses or other raised surface on which to lay the door
  • Mineral spirits


Article Info

Categories: Doors and Windows | Painting and Other Finishes