Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

January, 2005

Coating an Exterior Front Door

Q. I have a new wood door that will have a direct southern exposure. I have recieved advice to finish the door with paint but also with a solid stain. My question is which will give more years of service with minimum maintenance, and which will be easier to repair when it is time to do so?

A. If the front door is to be exposed to the severe Ultra Violet rays from the sun, then I highly recommend that you apply a good quality exterior solid color paint. The U.V. Rays will pass through a clear or semi transparent stain or coating, and actually degrade the wood substrate. This will cause the finish to fail, and peel off.

Some people have been known to apply a coat of linseed oil to a wooden door, however this requires extensive maintenance. You may find some products available from your local home improvement center that contain U.V. Inhibitors, both in the stain and in the clear top coats. This will provide for some extra protection, but will not last very long. A solid color paint will last longer and require less maintenance than a stain.

When preparing any surface for the application of paints or coatings, be certain to take precautions to protect against breathing in any air borne dust particles or debris that may be created by the prep work.

Please be aware that paints, coatings and solvents are chemicals and therefore you should always pay attention to proper handling procedures and be prepared to wear protective clothing, such as respirators, gloves, coveralls, etc. For further information on the health and safety requirements for the coatings and solvents you wish to use we strongly advised you to contact your local coating supplier. If possible, go the extra step and look for this information on the website of the product vendor.


Jim Burke

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