How to Finish Pine Doors


Distinctive in appearance and characterized by wide grain patterns, pine is a relatively soft wood often used to make furniture and doors. Many homeowners choose pine doors because they contain natural features like attractive knots and other flaws for a distinguished look. Because it is so soft, pine can be difficult to finish. The wood tends to accept stain and sealer unevenly, resulting in blotches and uneven coloring. To prevent this, it is important to finish pine carefully, using wood conditioners to seal the door before staining.

Things You'll Need

  • Orbital palm sander
  • Rags
  • Mineral spirits
  • Wood conditioner (pre-treatment solution)
  • Paint brushes
  • Foam brush
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane sealer
  • Sand away any handling marks or scratches on the door as even new pine doors can develop marks during shipping. Use a palm sander with a fine grit sanding pad to remove these marks.

  • Clean the door to remove sanding dust, grease and any remaining dirt. Apply mineral spirits to a clean rag and wipe the door clean. Wipe the door once more with a dry cloth to remove any excess mineral spirits and dirt left behind.

  • Apply a wood conditioner to all surfaces and edges of the door. Conditioner can be painted on with a regular paint brush, helping to seal wood pores so stain absorbs evenly. Allow about 15 minutes for conditioner to dry before staining.

  • Stain the door. Apply stain with a foam brush, wiping stain against the wood grain. Use a clean rag to brush stain down into the grain, then wipe away any excess. Make sure the stain is rated for UV protection if the door will be installed in an exterior opening.

  • Sand the door lightly before applying a second coat of stain, if desired. Wipe away all sanding dust before applying stain.

  • Coat the door with a polyurethane sealer. Most stains are not designed to protect against moisture and humidity, leaving the pine vulnerable to swelling and warping. By applying a separate sealer to all six edges and faces, you will help the door resist moisture damage. Apply the sealer with a paint brush and wipe away excess sealer with a clean rag.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work in a well ventilated area when using mineral spirits and stains. These materials can be hazardous to the respiratory system and also cause eye irritation.

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