The first coat should be a stain-and-sealer, a combination of stain and sealer, which colors the door and seals the surface. It is available in a wide range of colors. The stain-and-sealer should have an alkyd-resin base. Under no circumstances should a lacquer-based toner or any other lacquer-based finish be used on exterior doors.
The second and third coats (two top coats minimum) may be a solvent-borne (oil-base, alkyd resin-base, polyurethane resin-base) or a water-borne (latex resin-base) clear finish. See notes (1) and (2) below.
The advantages and disadvantages of solvent-borne vs. water-borne clear finishes are as follows:
- Solvent-Borne Advantages: Faster drying, harder and more water resistant. May be applied under variable weather conditions. Disadvantages: Subject to ultraviolet degradation and not as flexible or durable as water-borne clear finish.
- Water-Borne Advantages: Very flexible, greater ultraviolet resistance, and good exterior durability. Disadvantages: Cannot be applied below 50º F, long drying period required, and may not fully cure for several weeks. Water-sensitive until cure is complete.
Note: Do not sand between coats of clear latex. All stain-and-clear finishes will perform measurably better if protected from the direct effects of sunlight and weathering, and refinishing will not be required as frequently.
Either oil-base or latex resin-base exterior grade paints may be used with success on panel doors. Oil-base paints offer more resistance to the passage of water (liquid and vapor) than latex resin-base paints, but the latter have better durability and color retention.
Doors should be sealed with a good quality oil-base primer followed by two top coats of either an oil-base or latex resin-base paint. Of course, both primer and top coat should be made by the same manufacturer and be designed to be used as a combination.
Note: Where possible exposure to direct sun or rain is a factor, to keep your wood doors beautiful they require periodic resealing or painting dependent on weather or moisture exposure. Do not use dark colored stains or paint on doors exposed to sunlight, as some expansion and contraction of door parts may occur.
Caution: Simpson Door Company cannot evaluate all the available paints and stains, nor the customers' specific application requirements. Your paint dealer should know of suitable finish systems that give satisfactory results in your region. It is highly recommended that top quality finishes be selected, and the application instructions on the container be followed explicitly.
High Exposure Finishing
- Use an oil-based primer followed by at least three top coats of oil or latex-based paint on the exterior. Latex is more durable and has better color retention.
- Use a silicone or caulking bead (must be compatible with paint) around the perimeter of each glass pane. This will seal the putty and prevent any moisture from running directly into the door.
- Ensure all finish coats are allowed to flow into the glass area at least 1/16".
- Ensure all coatings that go on the surface of the door are also applied to the top and bottom. Coat all six sides of every door, or your warranty will be voided.
- Silicone the door bottom sweep onto the bottom of the door and apply a surface mount drip cap to the bottom of each door to allow for moisture runoff onto the sill.
- For outswing units: Prior to finishing the top of the inactive door, be sure to fill the mortise pocket around the flush bolt prep with silicone or caulking. Moisture has a history of pooling up in this area on outswing units. Consider a thin layer of metal across the top of the door to keep moisture from direct contact with the wood.
- Storm or screen doors may be mandatory to completely eliminate moisture problems. Storm doors must be vented to eliminate temperature build-up.
- Performance Series® upgrades are recommended for high exposure door openings. Request UltraBlock® technology from your Simpson retailer to get the most life out of your door. And if you are selecting a French door, we strongly recommend specifying Simpson’s WaterBarrier® technology.
Paint Finish Specifics
- "Bridge" finish from face of door to moulding, ensuring there is no gap between moulding and surface of the door.
- "Bridge" finish as noted above on inside of panel area where moulding meets panel and/or glass.
- Ensure all moulding miters are well-coated, leaving no gaps.
- Caulk at sill-to-jamb leg connection.
- Use corner pads where sill meets jamb.
- Flood flush bolt hole in sill with caulk or silicone.