Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>HELP? Can I paint over stained wood doors?
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HELP? Can I paint over stained wood doors?

Hello All.

I have a problem. Last year I had all new solid core, six panel doors installed in my house; they were stained with one coat of min wax: Dark but I still see the grain.

Since I now feel that they are too dark; can I paint over the stain? It was not sealed with poly-anything.

I have too much wood in the house including beamed/wood ceilings, wood closet bi-folds and trim, so I really need a change.

I know one of you "smart men";) can help this woman with a changing mind.

Thanks (and could you kinda hurry before I change my mind again?)

Stow, MA:confused:

Re: HELP? Can I paint over stained wood doors?

Yes you can paint over stain, you need to know what kind of products were used on them and ask your paint store what kind of primer to use over the stain and clear coat, you will need to clean them well first.

Re: HELP? Can I paint over stained wood doors?

Hi there,

Thank you so much for your kind reply.

I believe that the doors have only 1 coat of stain with no
sealant or urethane, etc.

Your advice is good news to me and I thank you for it. .

Many thanks,:D

Stow, MA

Re: HELP? Can I paint over stained wood doors?


It is hard to believe that merely a stain was put on and no kind of protective varnish used. However, if this is the case, it works to your advantage. Stain alone does not seal in the fibers of the wood. This means that an enamel undercoater can penetrate into the grain and make a good bond to the wood. A quality enamel would then be used as the finish coat, either acrylic or oil. Oil is still my favorite because of its hard, durable finish and the way it levels out. Oils biggest drawback is that it yellows with age.

If your woodwork does indeed have a varnish on it, the process is still somewhat the same. The woodwork must be cleaned and the glaze of the varnish reduced either through chemical liquid prep solvents or through a thorough sanding. Be advised, however, that painted woodwork over varnish never has the same adhesion as does paint over virgin wood. It will be somewhat chip prone. After the prep work is done, a coat of enamel undercoater and at least two coats of enamel will be neccessary to cover a dark stained woodwork.

In terms of obtaining a really superior finish, I would consider taking the doors off and spraying them in a remote location such as the garage. Spraying will offer a superior finish to brushing, especially if an acrylic paint is used as the finish coat.

Professional painters tend to prefer lacquers when spraying due to its extremely fast drying. If lacquer is used, your doors might be finished in as little as a day! If your doors indeed have only MinWax stain on them, a lacquer based undercoater and finish coat may be sprayed directly over it. If spraying lacquer over a polyurethane varnish, there may be compatibility problems. Your painter will have to test for compatibility.

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