We're regularly asked about the process for staining doors and recommendations for products. Let me first say, any products mentioned here are not a recommendation, but mere mentions based off products our customers have been satisfied with. As always, follow the stain manufacturer's directions for applying their product. We recommend you contact the manufacturer of any stain or finishing product you plan to use and let them know how the product will be used, in this case on a door, the weather exposure anticipated, exposure to sunlight, and even the direction in which your home faces. We encourage you to seek the guidance of your local stain vendor and/or professional finisher when choosing the color and appropriate product for finishing your door.Now that we have covered the disclaimer, on with the content.
What is the purpose of the stain anyway?
In summary, it is to enhance, beautify and protect the wood. The primary purpose is to protect as a result of the coloring and absorption of the stain deep into the wood's pores. The most common reason to use stain as a protectant is to protect against ultraviolet light (UV). Many stains help reflect UV light preventing wood surfaces from deteriorating and fading.
What are the factors to consider when choosing a stain?
The manufacturer's warranty requirements for finishing the door is an important factor. The purpose of the application (i.e. staining a door), the weather exposure anticipated, exposure to sunlight, and even the direction your home faces.
What does our manufacturer require of a stain and what is the process?
Our most up-to-date finishing instructions can be found here, but also referencing below.
- Prior to finishing, remove all debris, oils, and any other materials the unit may be exposed to during handling and installation. This is achieved by sanding the entire door with proper care by a professional to ensure no sanding marks.
- Depending on the stain material/stain manufacturer chosen, all directions must be followed including application and sanding techniques between clear coats in order to ensure proper appearance and stain coverage.
- All exposed surfaces of the door must be sealed, including the top, bottom, side edges and the hardware cutouts.
- It is imperative and will void any warranty of the door unit if a product is used that is intended for interior use and does not contain a UV inhibitor.
- Exterior surfaces, including the top, bottom and sides of the door must be finish coated with a good quality exterior grade paint or topcoat. At least three (3) coats of exterior grade topcoat with a UV inhibitor must be applied.
- Dark opaque stains as well as dark colored paints in installations with high sun exposure will not be covered under warranty as cracking, splitting, and warping are at high risk in this application. Staining or painting the door black or any other dark opaque colors will void the warranty. These colors cause harm to the wood components by absorbing excess heat/UV rays. Here is a good guide for stain colors found in our Frequently Asked Questions.
- Most finishes on exterior doors deteriorate due to exposure to elements. To ensure exterior doors receive the protection required, inspect the condition of exterior topcoat at least once a year and re-coat as often as needed to maintain the protective stability of the finish.
Can we get wood samples for the species of wood door we purchased to test stain colors?
Yes, please send us a request for wood samples and we will be happy to send them to you.
NOTE: Due to the overwhelming demand for wood samples, we are at times out of them. This is something we send as a courtesy when we have them.When we are out it can take weeks for us to replenish our supply of veneer samples. Also, we will only send samples as a post-order courtesy when requested. They are not sent as part of or as a condition of your order. We do not send them without an order confirmation.
This has caused some frustration with some customers. Again, these are sent as a courtesy, not a condition of purchase. We hope our customers understand.
What brands do we recommend?
As a matter of practice, we do not recommend stain brands or colors. Rather, we provide this resource which is the general guidelines of what should be used and we recommend consulting with a stain professional. Important information: 1) The door is an exterior wood door, 2) must be an exterior grade product, 3) must have a UV inhibitor, and 3) a desire to have a furniture-grade finish.
We recommend you contact the manufacturer of any stain or finishing product you plan to use and let them know how the product will be used, in this case on a door, the weather exposure anticipated, exposure to sunlight, and even the direction in which your home faces. We encourage you to seek the guidance of your local stain vendor and/or professional finisher when choosing the color and appropriate product for finishing your door.
Regarding protection of the elements, what physical protections are required?
- All Doors must be installed providing sufficient protection from exposure to weather including excessive moisture/rain as well as excessive heat due to sun exposure. This protection required includes adequate overhang distance that is at a minimum projection from the home at one half the distance from the floor of the overhang to the ceiling of the overhang.
- Any deterioration of the wood components of the door unit caused by neglect or failure to protect and seal all exposed surfaces and edges of the door either prior to or immediately after hanging the door are not covered by this warranty. Every door unit regardless of exposure must be annually inspected and maintained by the homeowner. Reasonable maintenance includes ensuring adequate clear topcoat that contains a UV inhibitor and is maintained throughout the life of the door.
- Manufacturer reserves the right to require on site inspections of maintenance and installation procedures before any claim will be processed.
- Wood is a natural product therefore any variations in color, texture, grain or the general surface appearance of wood naturally occurring will not be considered defects. Variations in wood color must be compensated for by the use of staining methods preferably implemented by a professional.
- All wood doors are constructed using floating panels. This construction method allows for expansion and contraction. Exposure to severe moisture such as rain in an unprotected environment may result in water penetration through the panels and is not considered a defect. In the event of water penetrating through the edges of the panels in this environment, it will be the consumers responsibility to caulk and or provide a remedy for the water penetration.