How Do You Stain a Front Door?

Stain a Front DoorIf you are wondering how to stain a front door like a professional, keep reading. Staining is not a difficult endeavor, but it must be done correctly if you desire a professional finish. Whether you stain your door while it is hanging or you remove it from the frame is up to you, but removing the door is recommended so that you are able to reach every inch of the surface.

Materials and Prep Work

Staining a door, or any piece of wood, begins with the right materials and proper prep work. You can find everything you need at your local home improvement or hardware store. Your materials list should include mineral spirits, cheese cloth, a foam brush, a safety razor and extra blades, rubber gloves, a bristle paint brush, and masking tape. You will also need stain and UV-stabilized polyurethane. Be sure that the stain and polyurethane you choose are exterior grade.

Before you learn how to stain a front door, you must first understand preparation, according to the San Francisco Gate. No matter how careful you are with your stain, your project will not last if you do not prepare your surface correctly. Dust, dirt and debris remaining on the door will inhibit coat adhesion. Prior to applying stain to the door, clean the wood with mineral spirits. Allow the door to dry completely, and then tape off any surface that you will not be staining.

Staining the Entry Door

Once your surface is clean and taped off, you are ready to apply stain. Shake the can of stain and open the lid. Stir the stain until it is creamy. Before you apply stain to a large area, select an inconspicuous area and stain it using a foam brush. Allow the spot to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply another coat. Continue staining this spot until you discover how many coats of stain it takes to achieve the color you desire.

When you have determined the number of coats necessary, start staining the door. Put on a pair of latex gloves and work in this order: panels and sticking, vertical center, horizontal areas, remaining vertical areas, and the edges, including the sides, top and bottom of the door. To achieve a professional look, work with one section at a time.

Apply the stain with a foam brush, and rub the stain into the wood grain with cheese cloth. The more you rub with the cloth, the more stain will be removed. This is desirable to some who want a subtle variation in the finish of the door. Be sure to check for drips as you work. Run a dry bristle brush over the entire surface while the stain is wet, moving with the grain. This helps to achieve a consistent look over the entire surface of the door.

Allow the stain to dry completely. Add subsequent coats, allowing each to dry, to achieve the depth of color that you desire. Do not sand the surface between coats.

Sealing the Door

Applying a top coat to your entry door is essential for protection from the elements. Not only will a good top coat protect your door from the weather, but it makes your door easily washable. When the stain is completely dry, you are a ready to apply a satin or low-gloss polyurethane.

Open the can of clear coat and stir it. Use slow, smooth strokes so that you do not create air bubbles in the polyurethane. Dip the end of a bristle brush into the clear coat and slide it out against the edge of the container to remove excess coating. Apply the coating with long, even strokes. Pull the brush through the coating two or three times to even it out.

Allow the coating to dry completely, and apply a second coat to the entire surface. When the second coat is dry, remove the masking tape you applied during your prep work. Use safety razors to remove any stain or clear coat that has gotten onto glass or other surfaces. Place the door back into the frame, walk outside, and enjoy your handiwork. A beautifully-stained entry door adds curb appeal and value to your home.

Remember to reapply a clear coat no less than every seven years. How often you need to re-stain or re-coat your entry door depends on the weather conditions in your area. Although staining a door properly may take several hours, it does not take a lot of elbow grease. Once you learn how to stain a front door correctly, you discover how easy it really is.

Related Resource: How To Remove Pivots From a Bi-Fold Door