staining 101

A couple of months ago already, the husband and I bought a new patio door. We got a remarkable deal on an Atrium door from a Seconds and Surplus; it’s white on the exterior and wood on the interior. The wood came unfinished, so that was added to our project list this weekend, after I talked to my dad (who talked me out of hiring a professional… I thank him for the advice and thinking his daughter can do it). I started the staining process actually last week because of the time between stain and the polyurethane. The professional claimed to have done everything in a day for $150.00. I don’t know if he would of done as good of job but I wish I would’ve paid the professional. It wasn’t hard, just time consuming work.

We first set out to Sherwin Williams (I know, scarreligious for a Benjamin Moore queen) but it was close and they had a great selection of stain. We opted for a “fruitwood” color. Basically, we loved the grain and look of the door already, just wanted it a tint darker.

(picture of cans)

I started by:

  1. Block sanding with 400 grit sand paper. Always sanding with the grain of the wood. Making sure to sand evenly as the stain will pick up on any of your imperfections.
  2. Make sure to remove any excess caulking agent around the edges of the exposed glass area.
  3. Clean Surface with clean rag. And you’re ready to begin!
  4. Test a non-conspicuous area for compatibility with the finish. (I didn’t do this)
  5. I started with a primer “wood conditioner” to prep the wood for the stain. This helps to evenly set the stain on the surface. I applied two coats with a white rag to the surface of the door.
  6. Within 4 hours of primer application, you need to add your stain. I applied one coat of fruitwood stain, and let sit overnight (the can says at least 6 hours), then applied another coat. Both were applied with a rag. I would advise wearing gloves! Or else your hands will look like a bad spray tan! **I used vegetable oil to remove it and it worked great. Followed by Dawn soap.
  7. After the second coat of stain has set for 8 hours or more apply the polyurethane. I applied three coats of polyurethane to the door with a sponge brush. Sanding between each coat with 220 grit sand paper, allowed ample drying time (at least 2 hours) between each application.
That’s it! It wasn’t actually too bad, its always more painful during the process than after. Ha. The waiting in between and opening the door to get the edged in the Texas summer heat, that was the hard part, so I guess I’m glad I saved us $150.00! Hence, the splurge on the Anthropologie “S”. That’s my gorilla math, as the husband calls it.

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