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Exterior door restoration - finish options

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Forum topic by mayday3374 posted 07-24-2018 02:59 PM 432 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mayday3374

30 posts in 676 days


07-24-2018 02:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: exterior door door refinish door restoration

Hello everyone. I am going to be restoring an entry door on an old mansion in buffalo ny. It appears to be quartersawn white oak. I’m looking for an exterior finish regiman that will hold up and something that the homeowner will be able to easily maintain. Helmsman spar urethane is the only product I am familiar with for outdoor use and I hate it. I was considering epiphanes or perhaps tung oil or something along that lines where the homeowner would be able to easily maintain the finish but I don’t have experience with either of these. Any suggestions? The door is on the north side of the home so it is somewhat sheltered from direct sun and driving rains.


9 replies so far

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dca

28 posts in 448 days


#1 posted 07-24-2018 03:16 PM

I’ve used epiphanes and it’s arguably one of the best exterior finishing products made. Also one of the more expensive. It took a bit for me to figure it out and I even had to call up the manufacturer after having pretty poor results initially. They were great and got me on the right track though. So there is a fairly steep learning curve.

Some may argue differently but I’d say it is not within the realm of your average homeowner. You’re probably on the right track with some sort of oil.

The “wood whisperer” had what he considered a serviceable outdoor finish, essentially 1/3 BLO, 1/3 epiphanes and 1/3 naptha if I remember correctly – a form of your classic wiping varnish. I’m sure this works for him but when I used it it ruined my outdoor cooler project as the BLO eventually attracted mold. The very same project I finished the top with just epiphanes as per the instructions and had no issues – so it definitely had to do with the BLO. Note I’m in a humid climate and he was in the desert at the time. I wonder if using tung oil vs BLO would have faired better.

I’d love to hear what others have used. I finish all my outdoor projects with various spar varnishes, they work well but I hate the process.

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mayday3374

30 posts in 676 days


#2 posted 07-24-2018 03:44 PM

Can u elaborate on the learning curve with the epiphanes at all? What issues did u have initially? What did you do to correct it? And yes I believe I read about BLO darkening / turning black in an article somewhere pertaining to old finish techniques. I wonder if pure tung oil would be an option to mix it with or use straight and just educate the homeowner on how to reapply.

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bilyo

746 posts in 1525 days


#3 posted 07-24-2018 06:33 PM

I suggest that before you decide which finish to use, particularly very expensive ones, do some internet research on the use of a good quality house trim paint base with no color tint added. I (and others here) have used it and it does go on clear. However, I don’t have any long term experience with it. There are some articles on the net about it that make a good case for trying it. Maybe you and your client can agree to try it as an experiment if you agree to strip it and refinish if it fails in a short time. Good quality exterior paint usually lasts several years. So, it seems reasonable that it should hold up as well or better as anything else; particularly with a northern exposure..

Many years ago, a northern university did a rather extensive study of different painting methods using standard wood window frames that they painted and then mounted out in a field to weather. They found that consistently those that were prepared first with a water proofing sealer (maybe similar to Tompsons Waterseal) before priming and painting lasted the longest (6 to 8 years as I recall). I don’t know if the results would be similar today with modern paints (clear base).

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BlueHill

1 post in 364 days


#4 posted 07-24-2018 08:49 PM

I have a quarter sawn white oak door on my house in Vermont. It faces north as well. After building the door, I applied 10 coats of Helmsman Spar Varnish. I sanded and recoated it 3 years later with another 10 coats. I should have recoated in 2 years. Got some finish wear through on moulding edges and minor staining. Before applying those new coats I rounded the worn through edges over considerably. Applied 5 coats edges only, then the 10 recoats mentioned above.

I’ve tried the Bristol Finish process on other projects, (the Boat) Interlux stuff, etc, etc. as well. They all seem to perform more or less the same in the long haul. If it faces the sun, recoat every year. In the shade or faces north, you can get away with every 2 years.

Good Luck.

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AandCstyle

3214 posts in 2680 days


#5 posted 07-24-2018 09:47 PM

mayday, I used Cetol Door and Window on a west facing door in Dallas. It was easy to apply and has lasted 7 years and counting. I would not have any reservations about using it again. FWIW

-- Art

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Rich

4583 posts in 1012 days


#6 posted 07-24-2018 10:03 PM

I seem to recall Charles Neil saying he was doing a long-term test of One Time Wood. You might PM him and ask him how it turned out.

https://onetimewood.com

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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dca

28 posts in 448 days


#7 posted 07-24-2018 10:07 PM

My first application was applying it to a large table top so I had issues getting a uniform surface, especially during the latter coats when you don’t thin it. The varnish kind of sets quickly and is very susceptible to being overworked. For larger areas you basically have to roll and tip the varnish to have any chance of eliminating streaks.

Use a 4” foam roller to apply your varnish in sections and then tip it with either a foam or natural bristle brush immediately, then move onto the next section. You really need to move fast. You can “saddle” the bristle brush in order to work better with marine varnish – essentially wrapping some painters tape around the brush to shorten the effective length of the bristles.

You also need a good brush to tip with. I used some chip brushes initially and found the bristles all in the finish. I also read that you could thin varnish really thin and use a rag to apply it – this worked even worse as there were bits of rag that got pulled off into the finish once it tacked up mid way through the process. Terrible idea.

Also there are the slew of other issues like dust, bubbles and running finish. The varnish settles which means it can run and “gloop” around the edges. I wanted a matte finish too but I found out you really need to apply the gloss for the initial coats and only apply the matte finish for the last one or two coats in order for it not to get murky.

Lighting also matters quite a bit – you need to be able to see what your doing at the right angles to make sure you’re getting your varnish everywhere and not missing spots – and then do the same when tipping.

And you need to do this about a half dozen times with epiphanes. Like I said, I hate the process. Your homeowner will too and never do it. Do it right though and it’s beautiful and durable. The first table I used it on was made to be put outside. Once it was finished it was so unexpectedly beautiful that it found its way inside as a new dining table – go figure.

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mayday3374

30 posts in 676 days


#8 posted 07-25-2018 12:36 AM

Thanks for all the input guys. Hey rich, how do I go about finding Charles to send a pm on this site? I can’t figure it out for the life of me

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Rich

4583 posts in 1012 days


#9 posted 07-25-2018 12:39 AM


Thanks for all the input guys. Hey rich, how do I go about finding Charles to send a pm on this site? I can’t figure it out for the life of me

- mayday3374

http://lumberjocks.com/CharlesNeil

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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