Staining and Clear Finishing the Door
There are a variety of stain options, gel, water-based, oil-based. I recommend gel based for those who aren’t as experienced with a paint brush, because it will not leave streaks or drips, but you will need to be fast with the application. Water based stain is quicker to dry, easier to clean up and sanding between coats is unnecessary, but it needs to be used for fair weather climates only. Oil based stain has better penetration, a longer drying time, but is better for harsh environments. Depending on which staining option you choose, you will need to be sure you finish the door out with a clear coat to seal the door from the elements.
As long as the door is not exposed to direct sunlight for lengthy periods of time, the stain will not need to be applied as frequently.
For a uniform appearance clear coat finishes are not recommended for exterior wood doors.
For additional information please read our wood care and finishing guide.