How to Stain a Wood Door

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Staining a wood door gives the wood a bit of color, shows off the grain and helps to enhance the appearance of a room. Although natural wood offers a kind of natural beauty, it doesn't always blend with the other wood tones or colors of your home. Staining an unfinished wood door is a fairly easy process, requiring only your choice of wood stain, a few tools and moderate effort.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic tarps or sheets
  • 2 sawhorses
  • Stain
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Rags or vacuum
  • Wood conditioner, optional
  • Paintbrush
  • Cloths
  • Sanding sealer
  • 320-grit sandpaper
  • 300-grit sandpaper
  • Clear coat
  • Prepare your workspace. Stain your door in a well-ventilated area since you'll be working with chemicals. Lay plastic tarps or sheets on the floor to protect it from the stain. Place two sawhorses on top of the tarps to lay your door on while you work.

  • Choose a stain for your wooden door. Pick a desirable stain color and decide whether you would prefer using oil-based or water-based stain. Water-based stains offer a better color selection, dry quickly and are easier to clean. Oil-based stains take longer to dry, which means that you can stain more slowly and not worry about obvious lap marks.

  • Hand-sand your wood door. Use 120-grit sandpaper for the first sanding and 180-grit for the second. Dust your door with a rag, or vacuum it, to remove sanding dust and little bits of debris.

  • Apply wood conditioner to a close-grained wood door. Close-grained woods such as maple, pine and cherry need conditioning, or the stain ends up looking all splotchy. Open-grained woods like oak, mahogany or walnut do not require any type of conditioner before staining.

  • Stain your wood door. Dip a clean paintbrush into the stain and remove any excess. Apply the stain to the door in overlapping coats to prevent stain lines from forming on the wood. Allow the wood to absorb the stain for the amount of time recommended on the manufacturer's label. Wipe the stain off the door with a clean, dry cloth and let your door dry according to the stain product's instructions.

  • Apply a second coat. Most unfinished wooden doors require two coats of stain for rich, dark colors. Repeat the procedure for the first coat and allow your door to dry completely.

  • Stain the other side of the door. Flip the door over and repeat the staining process. Make sure you stain the edges of the door as well. Let the stain dry thoroughly.

  • Apply a sanding sealer to your stained door. Follow the instructions on the sealer manufacturer's label. Lightly hand sand your door with 320- or 300-grit sandpaper to get off any small wood fibers sticking up above the surface of the wood.

  • Apply a clear coat to protect your wood door. Follow the directions on the product's label for the best results.

Tips & Warnings

  • Occasionally stir the stain to redistribute the color pigments evenly.
  • Use natural bristle paintbrushes with oil-based stains and synthetic-bristle brushes for water- based stains for the best results.
  • Remove any hardware from the door, because wood stain can alter the color of metal.

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References

  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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