Varnishing a bare wood door.


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Old 04-01-08, 10:24 PM
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Varnishing a bare wood door.

I recently had a new solid wood door installed in my home and I now wish to varnish the interior side of it with a polyurethane varnish or the like. I would like assistance in deciding exactly what sort of varnish I should use. Also, should I varnish it with the door hung or not?

Any additional advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 04-02-08, 12:03 AM
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You can lay thicker coats if it's off the hinges and varnish-side-up.

I'd remove the hardware too.

I recommend no-frills solvent-based polyurethane. This is simply the most durable coating, and because it has a long working time you'll get no bubbles or brush marks. A deglossing additive will be settled thickly at the bottom of the can and it's important to get this distributed by serious shaking of the can. Yeah, shake don't stir. Do that ten minutes before opening the can, the bubbles will have gone by then.

So, the product to look for is not "fast drying", not "easy clean up", not "low fuming" or "good for our waterways" etc, no gee-whiz at all, just a straight simple polyurethane formulation.

Use a very soft, crisply cut brush sold "for latex" - not a coarse bristle brush. Despite the packaging claims I have never had a problem using fine latex brushes with solvent based finishes, and I have cleaned them with thinner, xylene, brush cleaner, etc. I find a 2" sash brush comfortable for these jobs because it is narrow enough to fit in the can, it has a point good for working out puddles, and by twisting the brush it becomes something like a 3/4" wide brush.

Seal the brush in plastic bag between coats and stow it in the freezer. Squeeze out old excess before the next coat. Finally clean the brush by squeezing between newspapers, whisking in a jar of paint thinner, and then rubbing through with water-soluble brush cleaner before whisking again in jar of water (let evaporate).
 
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Old 04-02-08, 04:31 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

At least 1 coat must be done with the door off of the hinges. Both the top and bottom of the door need tobe sealed [paint or poly] When the door is finished, all 6 sides/edges need to be sealed to keep out moisture. This is especially important on an exterior door!

Personally I detest using a latex brush to apply a solvent based coating. IMO a natural bristle brush does a better job!

Basically there are 3 types of coatings to choose from; waterbased poly, oil poly and varnish. I like to use sanding sealer for the 1st coat [easy to sand and dries a little quicker] and varnish for the 2 top coats. Polyurathane dries harder and may wear a little better. Both of these products will deepen the natural colors in the wood.

I'm not overly fond of the water based poly. It doesn't change the color of the wood any, also doesn't dry as hard = won't wear as good [but probably good enough for a door]
 
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Old 04-02-08, 09:20 PM
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Thanks you both for your help, you have narrowed my questions considerably and it seems I have just one last question at the moment.
Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Basically there are 3 types of coatings to choose from; waterbased poly, oil poly and varnish. I like to use sanding sealer for the 1st coat [easy to sand and dries a little quicker] and varnish for the 2 top coats. Polyurathane dries harder and may wear a little better. Both of these products will deepen the natural colors in the wood.
Since the color of the finished product is roughly half the goal, is there any chance you could give me an approximation of what the effect of the different types of these have on color?
Perhaps you could use this image or similar to help?
 
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Old 04-03-08, 01:43 AM
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It'll look pretty much as the raw wood does when you wet it

(wet it, sparingly)

plus a slight amber overlay to the colour.

***

@Marksr: Bristle brushes. What am I missing?
 
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Old 04-03-08, 03:28 AM
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If you wet the wood with mineral spirits, it will give you an idea of how deep the colors will be if finished with oil varnish/poly. As noted it will also amber/yellow some with age. I prefer this look but not everyone agrees

If you want more than a little color change in the door you may need to use a stain. Most paint stores will have a stain chart that will give the approximate stain color when used over oak or pine.


Natural bristle brushes are for solvent based coatings only. The most common natural bristle is hog hair, usually from china. These bristles will swell when they get wet with water, making them useless for painting.

Synthetic bristles are usually polyestor or nylon, sometimes a combination of the two. They can be used for most coatings. They also wear longer than a natural [softer] bristle.

It is the opinion of me and most pro painters that a natural bristle is superior for brushing oil base coatings.
 
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Old 04-03-08, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
detest using a latex brush
Originally Posted by marksr View Post
natural bristle is superior
Sorry for the tangent, but, why? You only said why bristle sucks for water based coatings.
 
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Old 04-03-08, 01:31 PM
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A natural bristle brush does a better job with solvent based coatings. It lays the paint out better and easier to eliminate brush marks.
 
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Old 04-03-08, 05:25 PM
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I would remove the door and seal the bottom and the top of the door. Then put it right back up for the remainder of the work. As marksr said the poly or varnish oil will amber/yellow with age. Keep this in mind if you want no stain but concerned it may be too light. This happens within months. If you use varnish, you need to use a sanding sealer first. Sand down, remove dust w/ tact cloth and then varnish. With the poly you do not have to use sanding sealer. Just straight up two coats of poly with or without stain. But sanding between coats. I have never used the water based clear before.

What about the exterior side of the door??
 
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Old 04-08-08, 11:11 PM
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I apologise for taking so long to respond, I have been quite busy. The exterior of the door was dealt with by the contractor who we had to install the door, it is painted a shade of green that is similar to the original.
 
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Old 04-09-08, 03:35 AM
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You need to check and see if he also painted the top and bottom. With a little luck you can view the bottom using a mirror. It doesn't really matter what kind of paint or color is on the top and bottom as long as it is sealed.
 
 

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