Perspectives from Master Doors Canada

Now that you’ve designed your custom front door to enhance your house and reflect your style, you’re ready to choose the door finish. Although exterior wood doors take up minimal space in your home, they’re essential entry points (and barriers) that need to withstand high traffic and a range of weather conditions. The right finish will protect your solid wood door, maintain its beauty, and increase durability.

You have several options for wood front door finishes, including:

  • Paint
  • Varnish
  • Polyurethane
  • Stain

Each finish is available in a water or oil-based, and all have their merits for entrance doors.  To help you find a finish that meets your needs and fits your door design, we gathered perspectives from our team.

Painting Exterior Doors in Canada

If your front door has high sun exposure, exterior water- or oil-based paint is a long-lasting, protective finish because the opaque pigments block UV rays. You also have a wide range of paint colour choices to add a ‘pop’ to your entryway.

  • Pro Tips: For solid wood doors without tannins, like white fir or pine, a water-based paint dries quickly, resists fading, and has fewer fumes. For other hardwoods like cedar, choose an oil-based paint with more resistance to tannin bleed-through.

Varnish for Front Doors

Some people use the term varnish to describe polyurethane, but the two products are distinct. Oil-based varnish is UV-resistant and includes resin, which makes it a flexible door finish to apply. The resin in the varnish often contains a tint that may create a patina or deepen the front door colour over time.

  • Pro Tips: A water-based varnish will raise the grain on a solid wood door, so before applying it, spray the door lightly with water and let it dry overnight. Then, lightly sand the grain ‘whiskers,’ use the varnish, and you’ll get a smooth finish.

Polyurethane for Entrance Doors

For a smooth, hard finish that will protect your solid wood door from moisture and daily knocks and bumps, polyurethane is an effective option. Oil-based polyurethane brings out the beautiful wood grain, too.

  • Pro Tips:  Using polyurethane is challenging.  You’ll need to apply multiple coats, sanding between each. Products can bubble, making it difficult to achieve a smooth door finish. 

Staining Your Custom Front Door

Stains for solid wood doors are available in various wood colours like pecan, walnut, or oak to complement your home’s exterior. You have a few more colour options with water-based stains, but oil-based stains penetrate the wood more deeply, enhancing the natural wood grain of your door.

  • Pro Tips: While stain alone will offer protection from moisture and UV-rays, we recommend applying a coat of clear varnish or polyurethane after staining for additional durability.

Ready to create a stunning finish for your solid wood      door? Talk with our professional design team to find the finish that makes your front door a standout! Call us at (647) 699-4657 today.