How To Stain and Varnish Your Door
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Staining and Varnishing
- Avoid touching door with unclean hands. Do not let unfinished door come in contact with any chemicals, greases or oils. Doing so may cause adhering problems with urethanes and varnishes.
- Fit door into its designated opening. Perform any necessary trimming and cut all required hardware holes prior to any stain or finish application.
With exterior door units, the unexposed back sides and ends of exterior jambs and sills must be sealed using a shellac and let dry before installation. Stain and finish coats of marine varnish can be applied after jambs are installed if you wish. It is sometimes easier to finish them when they are dismantled.
- Find a sheltered, dust free and well lit area or room to work in.
- On screen door models, take out the screen unit by loosening brass screws and removing each individual turn button. Keep screws and turn buttons in a safe location where they will not be misplaced.
- Position door face down on sawhorses or arrange it vertically by leaning its very top inward against a wall. You can also fasten and then extend a small wooden board or strip out from a wall, lightly tacking the protruding end to the very top of the door. This method will allow you to work your way around each side of the door ensuring that all surfaces have been covered evenly. Be sure the door is secure so it does not tip over.
When positioning door vertically be sure that the very bottom is elevated off of the ground by placing a flat board directly underneath. This method will allow you to work your way around each side of the door ensuring that all surfaces have been covered evenly. Be sure that bottom is also completely sealed.
- Once door is positioned, use a tack cloth to wipe door surface free of any built up dust.
- Generously apply the stain of your choice to one side of the door.
- Using a clean cloth or rag, immediately wipe the entire surface, removing any excess stain from your starting side.
- Repeat staining procedure on each of the doors 6 surfaces.
- Allow 24 hours for the stain to dry and become completely absorbed into the wood before applying urethane or varnish.
Stain merely provides color, it does not seal. Leaving door unsealed will cause cracking and warping. You must apply marine varnish as described in the next steps or any warranty will be void.
- Follow step A for screen doors and exterior doors. Follow step B for interior doors.
- A: Using vertical strokes, lightly apply the first coat of Marine varnish to all surfaces. Generously apply the varnish to the top and bottom of the door. The top and bottom are the most critical areas to seal. Be on the look out for any developing runs and be sure to brush them out before they harden. A well lit work area will help you to spot runs as well as to highlight inconsistent finishes. Do not forget to inspect the opposite side to inspect for sneaky runs which may have seeped down the edges.
- B: Using vertical strokes, lightly apply the first coat of urethane to all surfaces. Be on the look out for any developing runs and be sure to brush them out before they harden. A well lit work area will help you to spot runs as well as to highlight inconsistent finishes. Do not forget to inspect the opposite side to inspect for sneaky runs which may have seeped down the edges.
- Allow 24 hours for the 1st coat of varnish or urethane to dry.
- Repeat step 9 for a total of three times. Be sure to lightly scuff each surface between each coat of varnish or urethane with a 180 to 220 grit sand paper or sanding pad. This will eliminate any rough areas and provide for the smoothest possible finish. Apply last two coats with slow and uniform brush strokes for best results. Be careful not to sand down to bare wood. Do not sand last coat.
- After drying of the final coat, carefully inspect to ensure all areas of the door have been completely sealed.
- For screen doors, reinstall the screen unit and turn buttons. Snug all brass screws to secure the screen or storm frame.
- Mount door in opening and install any additional hardware
You must completely seal and finish all surfaces of your door before installation. We recommend that you seal and finish your doors within a 1-2 week period after delivery. Unsealed and unfinished doors must be stored in a warm and dry moisture free environment. Do not store unfinished doors in a damp environment. Untreated doors will crack and warp if exposed to the elements. Leaving doors untreated or incompletely finished and subject to these elements and environments will void any warranty on our products.