Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>exterior door will not accept stain
4 posts / 0 new
Last post
exterior door will not accept stain

I'm refinishing an exterior solid mahogany door. I sanded both sides but I have a serious problem in one area around the oval leaded glass. I sanded too much in this area thinking I could clean the offending area, but I exposed what appears to be laminate (so much for the solid wood door). Now, I'm staining and the "laminate" exposed area won't accept stain. It is considerably lighter that the rest of the area surrounding the oval window, and it looks awful! I've puddled stain on it to try to darken it, but as soon as I reapply stain to smooth out the color differences, the stainon the laminated area wipes off and I'm back where I started. Please help!

Re: exterior door will not accept stain


Bummer. But these things happen. Never fun when they do though.

The good news is that there *is* a way to deal with this. Actually two different coloring products that could be used to recolor the offending areas.

Before I go into a long explanation of the materials & application techniques.....am gonna ask if you have spray equipment (either standard high pressure gun, HVLP or even an air-brush could be used)...and experience using it? If so, then I can guide you to the appropriate materials and give a little coaching as concerns choices and techniques.

If you do not have spray equipment and experience using it, then this is not really a good project to learn on. If that is the case, I'll recommend that you seek out the assistance of a local custom cabinet/woodworking/refinishing shop and let them do the deed for you. But not just any old shop will do. This will require personnel with experience using either the liquid trans-tint dyes from Homestead Finishing and the pigment stain products offered by Mohawk Finishing. (The latter is available only to pro-shops having an account with them.) So.........if searching out a shop/someone who can help you out.......you want to ask if they have and are familiar with these products. If the answer is "no"........keep looking.

I kinda think that the Mohawk pigments may serve best in this instance, judging from what I can see that likely needs not only recoloring, but probably just a slight bit of "disquising" also. Or it may take a combination of the two products to achieve the bestest result. It depends.

Also can't tell for sure whether this is on the outside or inside of the door. If the outside.......make sure the final coats of clear finish (2 coats minimum) over these colorants are an outdoor "spar varnish of some manner with UV inhibitors.

There's a couple different reasons why you haven't been able to get the stain to recolor this area the same as the rest of the door. 1- Different species of wood 2- (and the most influential)
The underlying wood is saturated with the glues/adhesives used to fuse the veneers together. Dried glues/adhesives don't/won't take stain.

Now then for some potentially better news - There's a high probablity that the panel which is sanded-thru...can simply be replaced. It would entail removing the moldings, popping out the old panel and dropping the new one in. This replacement panel would be comprised of the same thing the old one likely is.....a plywood with mahogany face-veneer. If you find that custom cab shop I talked about, they may have some right there on the premises. If not, it is easily acquired. Even you can likely acquire this down at the big-box or at a local lumberyard. If you replace the panel, then you're maybe only facing coloring that new panel a bit to match the rest of the door.......and recoloring any other smaller areas on the door that might need coloring and refuse to take your common stain. Quicker, faster cheaper and better than recoloring everything by far.

Re: exterior door will not accept stain

A much simpler method could be tried first! Try using either a wiping stain or a gel stain in comparison to a penetrating stain. These stains are able to dry on the surface of both wood and fiberglass, and most likely even laminate! This way, the stain does not need to penetrate the laminate (which will not work), thus giving the uneven color.

Try not to apply the wiping or gel stain on too thickly for any coat, but the layer does not have to be super thin either. It should be able to cover the laminate completely. Another coat can even be applied afterwards, unlike with the penetrating stain.

I would also talk to your nearest paint dealer about products like these. The better the product you buy, the better it will work!

Good Luck!

Re: exterior door will not accept stain

Wow I really am sorry about your door. A common mistake is to use power sanders to sand a wood door and from what I can see it looks like you used a power sander. I have learned from experience to always sand my doors by hand with a light touch as something like this happened to me too so I can sympathize with you.
As one of the above posters mentioned you can do a faux finish or have someone do it for you but that is very expensive and if you do it yourself it is very time consuming too. You can also put on veneer and that is applied very much like counter tops are but things have to line up just right. If you want to go the veneer route though I would suggest you wait until summer as the contact cement should probably dry in warmer weather and then you need to put on very thin coats to both sides. If you have trouble finding veneer here is one source The Wood Workers Supply at www.woodworker.com . I have used them off and on and they have just about everything you need and have a great customer service department to help answer any questions you might have.
Alternatively I think I would paint that door as it would look great painted. I would suggest either white or black with black being a preference as it doesn't show the dirt as much. Or maybe replace the door with a fiberglass door as they have some really nice doors that look just like wood in many different styles. Good Luck:)

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.