Care for Your Exterior Wooden Door

Before installing a new exterior door in your home, here are some guidelines to help you properly finish and care for your new wooden door.

Care Tips

A few do’s and don’ts when it comes to caring for your exterior door:

  • Do not subject wooden doors to extreme heat, dryness or humidity. Wood will warp when exposed to these factors.
  • Store doors on a flat, level surface in a dry, well-ventilated building and always keep them covered. Following these instructions will prevent shape and color distortion of your custom millwork.
  • Allow doors to reach room temperature and stabilize 24 hours before installing. This allows for the humidity levels within the wood to acclimate with the new surroundings. 
  • If you have a French door, remove film from French doors with caution. The tempered glass is sensitive and could scratch by using sharp objects or abrasive cleaners. 

Because we use real wooden products, color and wood grain are unique to your door. Some of these variations will become more pronounced during the finishing process, something that is outside our control and something for which we are not responsible. Please direct all questions regarding the proper application of sealers and finishes to your chosen finish supplier.

Finishing Tips

There is a step-by-step process to prepare your exterior door before installing it: Sand, stain and finish.

Step 1. Sand

Use a fine sand paper (180 grit) over the surface of your wooden door to remove any fingerprints and handling marks.

  • Go with the grain to avoid any abrasive marks.
  • Pay special attention to handling marks, raised grain and other blemishes. 
  • Sand slightly more for dark stains, high gloss paints and spray finishes.

Use a soft cotton or fiber cloth to remove excess dust and debris. 

Step 2. Stain

Use a stain-and-sealer combination as the first coat to both color and seal your exterior door.

  • Use one with an alkyd-resin base.

The second and third coats of clear finish should be either a solvent-borne (oil, alkyd-resin or polyurethane resin base) or a water-borne latex resin-base.

  • Solvent-borne finishes dry faster and are more water resistant, but they are more susceptible to UV degradation.
  • Water-borne finishes have greater UV resistance and stronger exterior durability, but they require a longer period to dry, several weeks in some cases.
  • Finishes last longer if they’re not in direct sunlight and weather.

Step 3. Paint and finish

Your paint and finish products should come from the same manufacturer. Products designed to be used in tandem will produce better results.

Seal your exterior door with a high-quality oil-based primer and two top coats of either an oil-base or a latex resin-base paint.

Panel doors are best sealed with either oil-base or latex resin-base exterior grade paint.

  • Oil-base paints are more water resistant than latex resin-base paints.
  • However, latex resin-base paints tend to be stronger and long-lasting.

Use premium products if sun and weather exposure are possible.