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Tips for varnishing an oak front door needed

(9 Posts)
runner2 Thu 04-Jun-15 16:23:43

I have a love/hate relationship with my front door as, whilst it looks lovely (or used to anyway!), it is very exposed to the elements and weathers very quickly. The carpenter who installed it last April put 2 coats of Sadolin "natural" extra durable woodstain on it but by the end of the year the door was looking dull and I worried that it wouldn't last the winter, so I gave it a light sanding, cleaned it with a lint-free cloth and methylated spirit, then applied a coat of the same Sadolin "natural" woodstain. It was a disaster! I ended up with brush marks and darker patches, and nothing like the natural finish I was hoping for. Now the weather is warming up again I need to have another go at it but I'm dreading it. How do I get rid of the patches? And where did I go wrong? sad

PigletJohn Thu 04-Jun-15 16:50:48

This is a problem with coloured stains. The colour will vary according to the thickness of the coating. For a more even colour, which is easier to touch-up or recoat, I recommend using Colron or similar wood dye to give the colour you want, then a clear untinted finish for protection.

You have to sand down to bare wood to dye it. You will get a better finish if you wrap the paper round a cork block for the flat parts.

If the door is solid (not veneered) you could use linseed or other oil, but again, you would have to sand back to bare wood.

It is easier to paint a door if it is hung on lift-off hinges, then you can easily take it off and lie it flat on trestles (external doors are rather heavy).

runner2 Thu 04-Jun-15 21:28:52

That all sounds a bit daunting! My time is limited and I'm so worried about doing it wrong again that I think I might just have to pay someone to do it for me. I have a very good decorator, but would it be better to have a carpenter do it?

Millymollymama Thu 04-Jun-15 22:32:10

Decorator. Do NOT use varnish!! It blisters in the sun and cracks up. I suggest a matt finish such as Osmo. It will not last forever though and you have to redo it every 2 years or so.

PigletJohn Fri 05-Jun-15 00:16:31

if it is exposed to weather, pay special attention to the top and bottom of the door. They are out of sight and often neglected, but most prone to water penetration and damage.

OliviaBenson Fri 05-Jun-15 07:02:52

I echo use of oil instead of varnish - osmo oil is great.

runner2 Fri 05-Jun-15 12:04:49

Do you mean Osmo Natural Oil Woodstain? It comes in a light oak finish - don't know if that would bring it close to the door's original colour, or if the Clear Matt finish would be better? Should I just abandon the Sadolin then? The carpenter who installed the door seemed to rate it, but if the Osmo oil is superior quality I would be happy to try it.

PigletJohn Fri 05-Jun-15 15:45:32

A lot of people say Sadolin is very good. I used to have it and didn't like it, it went matt quickly and obscured the grain. Opinions will differ. It is fairly expensive.

I use oil on some exposed softwood cladding, it seems to last well. I did use Colron for the colour first, and oiled over the top.

runner2 Sat 06-Jun-15 10:04:51

My decorator is coming to look at the door next week - hopefully that will resolve this! Thanks for all your help smile

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