Apr 7, 2007

Stain Masonite Doors

You can save money by purchasing 6-Panel Masonite doors instead of real oak, pine or poplar doors. Masonite doors can be stained to look similar to real wood by applying a base primer and semi-solid stain, finishing off with two coats of clear.

Apply a base-coat of tinted primer matching the color of bare wood used on your project. If you trimmed the doors with oak then find a color chip from the paint store closest to the color of bare wood. Mix the color in a flat oil-based primer. The goal is to get the door to look as close to real bare wood before you stain. The base coat adds depth when applying stain.

Whichever primer used, make sure it has a flat finish. Stain sticks best to flat surfaces. The next day, you will be applying stain similar to spreading a thin dragged-out coat of paint. Two things first, the oil brush should be an ox hair blend or angular silk bristle; black china can be used if the other two are unavailable. Expect to go through two brushes on approximately 18 doors. These brushes have a required degree of firmness but yet soft enough bristle that allows you to tweak the character of the stain. I recommend Zar brand solid oil stain, they can be mixed together to achieve custom colors.

If the door has recessed panels, start with the top two moving to the middle two then the bottom two. (see photo on the left) Finish off working around the panels in the same direction of the artificial grain. Pay attention to the grain. Masonite doors should have 2 coats of varnish applied after two full days of drying time, be sure to seal all six edges.

Spend about 15 minutes per side; prepare to move swiftly, stain will set up if you move too slowly. If you mess up, worst thing to do is re-prime and start over. It happens… it’s touch-and-go. Once the door is stained avoid going back over it unless you have drips. If so, gently feather lightly with the dry tip of the brush in the same direction of the grain. If you experience drips from the recessed panels, chances are the stain is too heavy to achieve the desired color. The right color match is achieved when the stain looks good applied lightly but not dry. The inside bevel of the panels are areas to watch out for heaviness.

The process is lengthy and requires 4 steps that require 5 days, mainly dry time. Staining moves slowly as you add character to a painted door. Treat each side of the door as a clean canvas. It’s an art to make them look just right. Many people apply stain and it either looks blotchy or it looks too consistently perfect, or unnatural.

TIP: for dark mahogany stain colors, use a base-coat brown in color. Red mahogany stain applied over a brownish base achieves nice results.

Edited, Updated and republished with permission from Superior Home Care Services

1 comment:

John Hudson said...

thanks this blog is very informative. which brushes would you use on this case? I have just got some harrison perfection china bristle ones not use yet. o you rate syntetic for this application?