12-13-2010 11:42 AM
I have 8 louvered bifold door panels 12" wide that need to be stained and varnished. I'm worried about making the stain look good in all those hundreds of corners where the louvers meet the frame. What are some tips to make this job simple? Should I consider the tinted varnish? Thanks.
12-13-2010 12:14 PM
Stains are very thin and therefore a little tricky and messy to use. Start out with the door in the least viewed area so that you can get a feel for the stain. Use a 1" or 1 1/2" brush made for the type of stain you are using. Make sure there are plenty of drop cloths under the doors. Apply liberal amounts of stain to the doors then wipe the excess off
after 1 or 2 minutes.
I would never use varnish on interior doors, instead use a low luster urethane. The trick is to avoid runs and sags by applying 2 or 3 thin coats to the doors. Again use the type of brush that is recommended by the urethane manufacturer. Hope this has helped
12-13-2010 01:47 PM
Greeting CenTexHutch, and welcome to our community.
I work in the Door & Window department at Home Depot in the Chicago area, and I had this question asked last week. Staining louvered doors will be a very tedious & laborious process.
The easiest way would be to spray the stain onto the louvers so you get into all of the hard to reach areas, and minimize runs & drips. If you don’t have a sprayer, you might be able to rent or purchase one at your local Home Depot. If you are wondering why spraying on the stain, well, the thought of individually brushing or wiping on stain between each slat in a manner that the stain is applied evenly and consistently without runs & drips is difficult at best.
Here is the process I would recommend.
1. Make sure the surface is free of any dirt & dust by wiping down with a tack cloth.
2. Apply a pre-stain wood conditioner, this will even out the stain.
3. Lightly sand the surface after the conditioner has dried.
4. Apply the stain to the entire surface, and wipe the entire surface after the stain has sat for a period of time, the longer you leave the stain on before wiping, the darker it will be.
5. Once you have achieved the desired darkness and has sufficiently dried, then apply water based polyurethane, you can also apply this with a sprayer as well. The water based products dry very quickly, some products as soon as one hour. One the first coat has dried, you need to lightly sand between coats with #220 grit sandpaper, and then wipe down with a tack cloth to remove any residual dust. Then apply the second coat, and possibly a third (remembering to sand between 2nd & 3rd coats).
I hope this helps, if you have any questions about the process, please send me message or post a reply. Post pictures once your are done, we would love to see how it turned out.
“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
12-13-2010 02:05 PM - edited 12-13-2010 02:08 PM
How's it goin' CenTexHutch?
The only thing better looking than a stained louvered bi-fold door, is a nicely stained louvered bi-fold door! When I worked in the Paint Department at my store, I got into this project quite a few times with my customers. The really best way for you to get the corners where the louvers meet the frame (as you stated) entirely covered with stain is by using the right tools and applications for your doors.
Firstly, I'd recommend using a cup or HVLP (High-Volume Low Pressure) sprayer then wiping your surface down right afterwards for any drips or over spray with a lint-free wiping cloth. HVLP sprayers sound clunky and expensive but they are really the flip opposite of that. Several home centers I know rent them out and even purchasing one by Wagner is an economical choice as well. If your doors are a softwood like pine, make sure to put down a coat of stain conditioner first, so as to not make the top coat(s) of stain look irregular. As long as the tip of the spray gun is rated for stains and varnishes, you can spray stain, polyurethane, lacquer, etc through the machine. Just in case you get too much overspray in the slats and its a bit out of reach even with the wiping cloth, use an angled bristle brush rated for oil paints/stains.
The Home Depot sells Polyshades by Minwax that has the polyurethane and stain mixed in. The products darker colors I have found to be somewhat tricky when staining multiple coats, so be your own judge and always test a small area first before diving into the project. Enclosed are several pictures of the products/tools I referred to earlier.
Good luck with your project and welcome to the community!
I am a 12 year Home Depot Store Associate, trained and authorized to help people on the Internet.