Staining pine on Andersen french doors

shezzy_in_sjMay 12, 2005

We want to stain the pine on our Andersen french doors and bay window. We want to do some testing first, of course.

I was wondering if anyone had advice about which staining, or dye, product is best with pine. Is there?

What are the staining characteristics of pine? Uneven? Streaks? Blotchy? Will it take a medium dark "cherry" stain?

Is the gel stain good to use on vertical surfaces, since these are already installed?

We'd like to put a tough finish on, too. Dog occasionally puts his paw to the door. (Not scratching it really, but just slightly dragging it down.) I was at the hardward store the other day and saw something that said "diamond" finish. Do I look for something like that?

Any good websites to send me to?



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Pine is relatively difficult to stain evenly. A pre-stain blocker is normally used to try and even out the absorption of the wood.
Even practicing on another piece of wood may not work unless you can identify the exact species of pine used in the doors.
Pigment stains tend to be more forgiving of uneven absorption by the wood.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 8:26AM
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Recently built a home & stained all the pine woodwork with a red oak colored stain. Used a wood, pre-conditioner on the windows & doors first. Worked great. Stain went on very even not blotchy at all. The stain and pre-conditioner were both from Minwax. Would highly recommend.
As for sealer, we put on three coat of a water-based poly acrylic.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 4:07PM
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Also used Minwax products to stain all of the Andersen windows and french door in our 3 yr. old house. We also stained all of the pine woodwork including our 6 panel pine interior doors using Minwax's Early American colored stain. We finished the project of with two coats of Minwax's gloss polyurethane We are ver happy with the rich quality finish. One note, we did not use a pre-conditioner before we did any staining.
Good luck,

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 9:42AM
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Pine can stain blotchy, however as has been noted, much depends on the species and grain pattern of the wood that is being stained. A light sanding of the surfaces to be stained with 220 grit sandpaper may help.

There is no real advantage to a gel stain for vertical surfaces. You don't want to put on a heavy coat of stain. Apply the stain lightly with a rag and rub into the wood. Wipe off the excess with another rag after letting it set a few minutes.

A conditioner will provide more consistent color, but you will not get as dark a color because the conditioner, by it's nature, prevents absorption of the stain. Some folks use analine dyes with great success on woods that are difficult to stain with standard pigment stains. You buy a dry powder and mix it so that you can control the color. I've never used them so I can't offer any practical advice on them, but you may want to check into that.

As for the finish, over time even gentle scratching from a pet will become evident in just about any finish you apply. Try to look for a finish that is recommended for wood floors or possibly bar tops. They may hold up better.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 2:07PM
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This is an older thread, but I have a similar issue. We are staining pine baseboard and window trim and our pine windows. Most likely using Minwax stain (water based - puritan pine) or Ace stain (oil based - shaker pine).

My Questions are:

(1) Do we need to do a preconditioner? Why or why not - )what are the results with and without)?

(2) What are the benefits/drawbacks to using oil or water (besides the smell of oil-based), i.e., does the oil based coat the wood better with less splotchiness? (I like the oil based color a little bit better - but not so much more that it is essential to me - but have heard clean up is a problem with oil.)

(3) Should we sand or use steel wool between coats? If sand, what grit?

(4) What finish is receommended - polyurethane or varnish or lacquer or what!?!

(5) Does anyone have pictures of their stained interior trim/windows?? If yes, please post and if you recall, please provide information regarding the process you took to stain and the products you used.

Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 5:55PM
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1) If you are staining pine and plan to use Minwax stain, you need to do something. Pine is notoriously blotchy with certain stains.


2) My recommendation is if you are using an oil-based finish, use an oil-based stain. If you are using a water-borne finish, use a water-borne stain.

3) I normally sand varnishes and water-borne products between coats. NEVER use steel wool between coats, especially for water-borne finishes. Use 3M's sandblaster paper (P400 grit) and / or maroon Scotch-Brite pads. Steel wool will leave behind shards of steel that will rust.

4) Chose any finish that you are comfortable with and gives you the look and protection you want. P.S. Polyurethane is a type of varnish. But there is a big difference between oil-based polyurethane and water-borne polyurethane.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 9:49PM
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Thank you Bobsmyuncle !

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 12:27PM
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Just found this thread as I'm getting ready to stain interior of our Andersen windows.
Bobsmyuncle, you stated there is a big difference between oil=based and water-borne polyurethane. Would you let me know what that difference would be? Thanks. I'd love to use the water-borne produncts as the cleanup is so much easier, but I mainly want to get the best finish.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 4:03PM
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They are quite different both chemically and the way they cure. W/B products are mostly acrylic polymers. The use of the word "polyurethane" on them is largely gratuitous. I suppose people think, "Hey, Polyurethane, (the ubiquitous finish) and it's water based," and that's all they know.

I use them professionally, but I have the ability to spray. They are a bit more difficult to apply with a brush or rag and get a good, smooth finish.

See the articles on the "Hemlock door" that I posted.

If you decide to use an oil-based wiping varnish, clean up is really easy. Throw away your rag and take off your gloves.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 6:20PM
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Thanks for the information, Bob. I really appreciate the help. Jeanie

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 1:08PM
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okay, I stained with a rag and now I'm spending hours cleaning the window panes...any suggestions. Next we varnish, how to I get that off?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 12:41PM
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Get a really good 1" angled brush---Purdy makes some---and applt the varnish very carefully, not getting any on the glass. That actually takes less time than cleaning up the glass afterwards.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 1:51PM
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Ok, I'm going to stain my new Anderson sliding door. The sliding door itself is pine and the outer trim is oak. I had stain matched to the existing woodwork color. I have the pretreat conditioner and will apply it to the pine but not the oak correct? Wait 24 hours, sand with 400 paper?? Wipe with tack cloth. Apply stain, let dry 24 hours, sand again??? I bought Waterlux as my final finish. I also read the thread that said to fill the nail holes AFTER I do the staining. I can not find the powder to mix with the stain to fill the nail holes. What do I do with those??? There are a LOT of them. I'm very nervous about ruining this expensive door and appreciate any feedback on what I've outlined. Can I use the foam brushes or should I use my good Purdy brushes??? I could also wipe all of this on. Can I tape the glass to avoid getting the waterlux or other stuff on it? Should I tape off the oak and stain the pine sliding door 1st?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 11:26PM
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To add to the discussion...specifically the comments about there being "a big difference between oil-based polyurethane and waterborne polyurethane(s)." Yes there are, but there are excellent waterborne finishing films that outperform oilbased.

The Waterlox products and the hardwax oils may some day compete effectively with the polyurethanes.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 5:14PM
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We recently had installed 2 Andersen pine patio doors. We have an oil based Minwax wood stain for the interior. Should we lightly sand the doors before staining and should we use a pre-treat conditioner before applying the stain? Also, what type of varnish works over oil based stain.
Thank you,
Jane Hoppe

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 5:58PM
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Hi - I do not know where or how to sign in in order to get the answer to my questions posted above. I received your e-mail and tried to login but they told me I had the wrong user-name so I re-applied and now I still do not know how to log in to get my answer??? What is the Optional Link URL and Name of the Link listed below? Am I supposed to do something with that??
Thanks again,
Jane Hoppe

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 3:23PM
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i want to refinish my pine trim on my anderson windows, casements. they are approx 25 yrs old and been refinished several times since installed. when i remove all varnish and go to restain & varnish black stains appear. that makes the window look bad. i was told there is a 2 part cleaner that will clean the spots after sanding. i was told it was a acid with a neutralizer ? thanks , jim.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 9:37AM
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Below is an article on wood bleaches. It really depends upon what the stain type is. Oxalic acid is best for stains from iron and tannin chemical reaction.

I would probably start with A-B bleach that, if memory serves is a strong hydrogen peroxide along with a catalyzer (lye?)

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood bleach

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 10:32AM
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Has anyone used Bush Oil on Anderson pine doors? And if I ask Anerson sales rep, can they tell me what ind of pine they used on my doors?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 5:47PM
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Don't kmow about Bush Oil, but Andersen uses Ponderosa Pine.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 5:54PM
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