How to Finish Your Custom Wooden Door
There are many choices of colors and stains to choose from. Regardless, nothing replaces good practices for Primer and Painting or Staining and Varnishing.
NOTE: Completely seal and finish all surfaces of your door within 14 days of delivery and before installation. Untreated doors may crack and warp if exposed to dampness…store in a warm, dry environment. Doors left untreated or incompletely finished that are subject to these damp environments will void any warranty on our products.
Preparing the door…
- Keep door clean and avoid touching it with unclean hands. Avoid allowing the unfinished door from coming in contact with any chemicals, greases or oils which will cause adhering problems with paints and varnishes.
- Position the door into the intended door opening. Any trimming, cutting, mortising, or drilling of holes for respective hardware should be performed in this step 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 primers or shellac depending the type of finish. Let the application dry before installation. Primer, stain and finish coats of marine varnish can be applied after jambs are installed if you wish. Normally, it’s easier to finish them when dismantled.
- Find a sheltered, dust free, well lit and well ventilated area or room to work in. This is important to provide a clean finish and spot runs during the application of primers, paints, stains, and varnishes.
- Remove the screen or storm unit by loosening brass screws and removing each individual turn button. DO NOT MISPLACE THE SCREWS.
- Position door face down on sawhorses or other flat surface for working. Be sure the door is secure so it does not tip over.
- Once door is positioned, use a lint free tack cloth to wipe door surface free of any debris or built up dust.
- If purchased unprimed, the door must be primed on all six sides before any color coat finishes are applied. We recommend priming the door using a stain blocker primer/sealer. Begin on one side including the outer four edges. Generously apply primer/sealer until all areas of the surface are thoroughly covered to ensure a good seal.
- Watch for runs, especially on the opposite side where they may have crept down the edges or decorative pieces, brushing them out before they dry.
- One coat of stain blocker primer/sealer should dry within 2 hours. Let the surface dry completely before flipping the door over to the unfinished side.
- Repeat the priming application on the remaining unfinished side.
- After the first coat has completely dried, scuff or lightly sand any rough areas with 180 – 220 grit sand paper and wipe the surface with a lint free tack cloth to remove dust from sanding. DO NOT SAND DOWN TO BARE WOOD.
- Apply second coat of primer to each of the six sides. Let dry and lightly sand again. Wipe with tack cloth to remove sanding dust.
- Using vertical strokes, apply the first coat of exterior paint to all six sides. All sides should be covered thoroughly to ensure a good seal. BE SURE TO WATCH FOR ANY DEVELOPING RUNS, ESPECIALLY ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE WHERE RUNS TEND TO CREEP, AND BRUSH THEM OUT BEFORE THEY HARDEN.
- Depending on the brand of paint you should allow 24 hours for the first coat of exterior finish paint to dry.
- After the first coat of exterior paint has completely dried, lightly sand any rough areas, wiping away dust with a lint free tack cloth.
- Apply the next or final coat of exterior paint.
- After the final coat has dried, inspect to ensure all areas of the door have been completely sealed.
- Generously apply the stain of your choice to one side of the door.
- Using a clean lint free cloth or rag, immediately wipe the entire surface removing any excess stain.
- Repeat staining procedure on each of the door’s six sides.
- Allow 24 hours for the stain to dry and become completely absorbed into the wood before applying Marine varnish.
- Stain provides only color it does not seal the wood from the environment. Leaving your door unsealed may cause cracking and warping.
- You must apply marine varnish as described in the next steps or any warranty will be void.
- Using vertical strokes, lightly apply the first coat of Marine varnish thoroughly to the first five sides of the door.
- BE SURE TO WATCH FOR ANY DEVELOPING RUNS, ESPECIALLY ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE WHERE RUNS TEND TO CREEP, AND BRUSH THEM OUT BEFORE THEY HARDEN.
- Allow 24 hours for the first coat of Marine varnish to dry.
- Repeat step 4 three times. Be sure to lightly scuff each surface between each coat of Marine varnish with a 180 to 220 grit sand paper or sanding pad to eliminate any rough areas and provide the smoothest possible finish. Apply last two coats with slow and uniform brush strokes for best results.
- DO NOT SAND DOWN TO BARE WOOD.
- DO NOT SAND FINAL COAT.
- After drying of the final coat, carefully inspect to ensure all areas of the door have been completely sealed.
Finishing the door with hardware…
- Reinstall the screen or storm unit. Snug all brass screws to secure the screen or storm frame.
- Mount door in opening and install any additional hardware.