There are plenty of ways you can paint a cedar garage door, but if you want to bring out its natural beauty, staining is the way to go. A high-quality penetrating stain can enhance your home's appearance by giving your cedar garage door an exceptionally beautiful finish. If you want to take on this promising home improvement project, here's an in-depth guide that'll help you get the results you're looking for.
Preparation is Always the Key
Starting with a clean slate is always ideal for any project and cedar garage doors are no different. Lingering specks of dirt, dust and even moss can interfere with the finish and make it appear uneven. Meanwhile, the wood underneath is blocked from being treated properly. Start by removing surface grime with a high-quality wood cleaner and use a nylon scrub brush to loosen and remove the grime. Follow up with rinse from a pressure washer set to around 1,000 to 1,200 psi (any higher and you'll likely damage the wood).
If you get a brand-new door and you think it looks clean, think again. There's a good chance it still has "mill glaze" on the surface. This glaze-like coating can also prevent the stain from soaking into the wood properly. Putting a few drops of water on the door is a quick way of finding out if it has mill glaze. If the water drops bead up on the door, then you know it's time to break out the fine-grit sandpaper. As you sand, you'll want to sand in the direction of the grain instead of sanding against it.
Water-Based or Oil-Based?
Another major decision you'll face is whether you should use a water-based stain or go with an oil-based stain. Both types have their own set of advantages and disadvantages to consider.
For instance, water-based stains dry faster than most oil-based stains, making the staining process a bit quicker. Water-based stains are also less likely to trap water within the wood. In addition, the stain won't darken over time as an oil-based stain would likely do. You also won't have to deal with the flammability or odor issues that often come with using oil-based stains.
However, a slower drying process also means you can apply even coats more effectively, giving your cedar garage door a more even appearance. Oil-based stains also stand up better to the slings and arrows of the great outdoors, resulting in less overall maintenance.
Staining the Wood
Now that you have your choice of stain ready, it's time to apply the stain onto your prepped cedar garage door. You'll want to use a paint brush with synthetic bristles to prevent brush hairs from being lost and subsequently trapped inside of the finish.
Use long, flowing strokes to uniformly apply the first coat. As with the sanding, brush following the direction of the grain instead of against it. Before starting on the second coat, make sure the first coat is completely dry. The first coat should cover the entire door, from the inside and outside of the door to the door's edges.
Once the first coat is dry, you can begin applying the second coat on the garage door in the same manner as the first coat. The amount of time required for drying depends on the type and brand of stain you're using.
As you work on your cedar garage door, it's important to keep these helpful tips in mind:
- If your cedar garage door has a panel design, start with the panels first. After the panels are finished, you can wrap up the rails surrounding the panels.
- Any leftover stain that fails to soak into the wood an hour after application should be wiped up with a soft cloth.
- If you have a primed or pretreated cedar garage door, the manufacturer may suggest you use a wood brightener to prevent stain darkening after application.
These tips can help you get the beautiful results you've been expecting out of your cedar garage door. For more information, contact a garage door company like America's Garage Doors LLC.