How to Stain Your Front Door

If you have an old wooden door, you may be wondering what you can do to spruce up its curb appeal. Restaining and refinishing it can make a significant difference. This process will leave your old wooden door looking good as new, and you can do it in just a few days.

1. Choose Your Products

The best stain to choose is one that is the same shade or darker than your current one. If you want to go lighter, you will have to completely remove the existing varnish. This process can be challenging, especially if your door has trim work or details.

You’ll need to purchase a stain and a varnish or topcoat. You can use a conventional liquid stain and outdoor varnish. A gel stain is another popular option. Gel stain is thicker than liquid, and it does not go into the wood as much. As a result, it can be applied over the existing stain so you don’t have to do much sanding or stripping. If you do opt for a gel stain, you’ll still need an outdoor topcoat. 

2. Clean and Sand the Door

Remove all the hardware from the door, leaving it on the hinges. Use a wood cleaner to completely remove any dirt. Patch cracks with a wood filler if you need to. It’s a good idea to open the door and lay a drop cloth under your work area. You can use a door stopper so it can’t move while you’re working.

Wait until the door has dried, and then start sanding. It’s important to have a smooth area for the new stain and finish. If you’re trying to completely remove the old varnish, you’ll likely have to use a chemical stripper. Otherwise, you can use a sander to remove the varnish from all the flat areas of the door for the best look.

3. Apply the Stain

When you’re ready to stain, start at the top of the door and work your way down. Smooth the stain on with a brush and wipe off any excess with a rag. The stain will become darker the longer it sits.

Follow the instructions on the stain you purchased regarding how long to wait before applying a second coat. Try to wait until it is dry before you close the door for the night, as the seal of your door can get in the way.

4. Add Varnish or Topcoat

The next day, you’ll be able to apply the varnish or topcoat that will protect your new stain from the elements. Make sure it’s labeled for exterior use unless your door is protected by a storm door. The drying time and the number of coats can vary, so check the instructions on the product before you start applying it.

View Our Entry Doors

Restaining your front door can be a lot of work, especially if you want a lighter color or your door has significant damage. If your current door isn’t giving you the style you want, Quality Overhead Door can help. Browse our huge selection of entry doors today.


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