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igneous 09-21-2013 10:27 AM

staining french doors
I am not a novice to painting, many years experience, but I am offering to help a good friend stain her newly installed French door, and I have not done much staining in the past.
I would like advice on product and technique. I assume she will ask me for advice on product, so I'd like to sound reasonably intelligent. Also, I often see stain applied and then wiped off. Will this be part of my process?
I don't know what kind of wood the doors are made of.
Any help would be appreciated.

joecaption 09-21-2013 10:36 AM

Need to figure out what type wood it is first. Soft woods will need a conditioner.
I like to do mine with the doors laying flat so I can seal all sides.
I use a Gel stain, it's brushed on then wiped off with a lint free cloth. Were rubber gloves, there's a reason they call it stain.
Are these doors going to be in direct sunlight? If so there going to need at least 3, coats of a marine grade poly.
The best you can buy is Bristle Finish. Not cheap but it dry's fast, self levels and has way more UV protection then any other sealer.

Gymschu 09-21-2013 03:52 PM

Joe offers up some great advice. Staining does have a bit of a learning curve to it. You will have to work with your friend on achieving the exact shade you want on the wood doors. Applying stain and then letting it sit gives you a darker finish. Wiping it immediately produces a lighter finish. This is something you will have to tweak before going all out. Pine definitely requires a PRE-stain conditioner so that you get an even finish. Usually you have about 20 minutes of working time after applying the pre-conditioner before applying the stain.

ToolSeeker 09-21-2013 06:11 PM

Where she got the doors may give you a hint as to the wood. If she got them from a box store then they are probably pine unless she special ordered them. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong but to the best of my knowledge conditioner will have no bad effects on hardwoods so if in doubt I would use it to be safe.

joecaption 09-21-2013 07:31 PM

On a hardwood the stain would tend to float on the surface not soak in like it's suppose to.

ToolSeeker 09-21-2013 08:53 PM

That's kinds normal isn't it Joe not a result of the conditioner?

wkearney99 09-22-2013 07:40 AM


Originally Posted by ToolSeeker (Post 1244773)
Where she got the doors may give you a hint as to the wood. If she got them from a box store then they are probably pine unless she special ordered them. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong but to the best of my knowledge conditioner will have no bad effects on hardwoods so if in doubt I would use it to be safe.

That and what'd they cost? Hardwoods are usually considerably more expensive.

igneous 09-22-2013 04:38 PM

conditioning before staining
Thanks to all who contributed to my question about staining doors. I really don't know what you mean about using a conditioner. OnceI find out about the species of wood, I plan to ask my SW rep about what to get. As to application, what is the preferred brush or application method? So if she likes the color with one pass, then is that it? How long before applying polyurethane? These are bedroom doors and will not be in direct sun light. They're merely a passage to another part of the master suite. Also, I do have a pretty steady hand for cutting in, but should I consider taping off the windows? Time is not a factor here. I'd love to talk her into painting them,but it's an older Boston home with lots of character (woodwork). Hate to be a pain,but i've received good advice from you guys in the past.

Jmayspaint 09-22-2013 05:18 PM

Wood conditioner or pre stain is a clear solvent based product designed to be applied before staining soft woods to help the stain absorb more evenly. Soft woods ofter have places that will absorb way more stain than the rest of the door, causing ugly dark spots. (See 'Door staining issue' thread)
Personally, I never thought pre stain worked all that well but it does help on pine. You can usually buy it where they sell stain.

I like black china bristle brushes for detailed staining. If you can cut in pretty good, I wouldn't use tape. It's hard to tape for stain anyway, as it tends to seep under tape. A lot of new French doors will have plastic on the glass that can be cut out after finishing. That makes it easy because you don't have to worry about staying of the glass.

When I do it, I barely dip the brush in the stain and try to avoid getting the brush overloaded.
Dry brushing the stain on minimizes wiping and is less messy overall. If it turns out too light, put another coat on.

Stain needs to dry well before applying Polly. If its not dry enough the Polly can cause the stain to lift up out of the wood. Let it dry at least overnight ( longer for two coats of stain).
When you are applying the Polly if stain pigment is getting on the brush, it is lifting and needs to dry longer.

cdaniels 09-22-2013 05:25 PM

Brush them.It will take you a little while to know how much stain to load in your brush, start with a little.I wouldn't tape the glass it would be faster to clean it off with a rag and knife if needed.You should use a sanding sealer after the stain is dry-usually the next day just read the label.Sand it smooth with 220, wipe it clean then topcoat with poly.

DIY-Her 09-24-2013 09:12 AM

good advice. I did similar to all the doors in my previous house in 1990. I brushed the stain on and did a light wiping if needed. I waited a good 24 hours before I started to put the poly on. I also lightly sanded first and in between coats. I have noticed that when putting on even satin poly, if you don't sand between coats, each new coat tends to make it shinier each time and may not be what you are after, especially if you are using a satin.

So I'm assuming Bristol Finish would be good to finish furniture or my kitchen cabinets once restained? I've been using Minwax, but always looking for something better if I hear about it.

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