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Exterior stains for timber doors and joinery

(including garage doors)

Resene Popular Paint Systems –
Exterior and interior woodcare© (stains and clear finishes): training notes

This web page is an edited version of the Resene Best System Selling training notes provided to Resene staff and is provided to enable you to gain a greater understanding of the substrates and paint systems you may encounter in your decorating project. It is impossible to cover all decorating scenarios in a single document, so if you are in doubt about any aspect of your project please contact Resene for assistance.

How to stain exterior doors and joinery (including garage doors)

Note: Refer to the PDF flowchart for a visual of the steps below:


  1. Wash using Resene Timber and Deck Wash.

  2. Lightly sand using 150 grit garnet to remove any loose timber fibres and to arris any sharp edges.

  3. Finish options:

Previously coated - refer notes

  1. Treat moss and mould using Resene Moss & Mould Killer.

  2. Wash and scrub using Resene Timber and Deck Wash.

  3. Lightly sand using 150 grit garnet to remove loose timber fibres and stain residue. Refer to notes if film forming stain or varnish used.

  4. Finish options:

    • Deteriorated timber and/or failed coatings:
      • Sand to remove previous coating and return to bare timber (consider stripping using Sea 2 Sky - refer appendix).
      • Refer to exterior varnished.
    • Sound condition:

Exterior stains


  • For new or uncoated Cedar and other absorbent timbers use an application of Resene TimberLock before applying Resene Woodsman. While this is not our standard recommendation the system performs well on Cedar joinery helping to prevent end grain swelling etc.

  • Harder less absorbent timbers, such as Rimu and Eucalyptus are too dense and the use of Resene TimberLock prevents the Resene Woodsman from penetrating into the timber.

  • We recommend a third coat of Resene Woodsman is applied for the additional protection it provides particularly against moisture ingress.

  • Mould and occasionally moss will be present and will need to be killed using Resene Moss & Mould Killer and the residue and other contaminants scrubbed and washed from the surface using Resene Timber and Deck Wash.

  • Older well weathered penetrating stains simply need a good scrub after treating for moss and mould before applying further coats.

  • If the stain is peeling and/or flaking it is likely to be a surface forming stain and unfortunately this will probably need to be removed before applying a penetrating stain like Resene Woodsman (waterborne or solventborne).

  • It is not possible to lighten a stain (unless you remove the previous coating) so subsequent coats need to be either the same colour or darker.

  • Dark stains will help disguise discoloured areas common in aged weathered timber – particularly Cedar. However, there is the likelihood that the darker colour will cause some timber movement (warping, cupping etc) so advise the customer of this. Use Resene Cool Colour options if available – it will help, but not completely stop, heat related stress on timber.

  • Stains are not as effective as enamels at preventing moisture getting into the mitres or corners of the joinery – water here will be taken up by the end grain and cause problems. (Swelling, splitting etc). (photo of as mitre).

  • Putty can be an issue as it will look different when stained. An option for brown stains is to paint the putty with Resene Lumbersider – BS 3044 Resene Cinnamon and then stain with Resene Waterborne Woodsman). Alternatively it can be left natural as a feature.

  • Altex Timbercote marine varnish is an option for joinery and Cedar garage doors that are sheltered from the U.V. light.

Key accessories - essential to complete the job

Add ons - to make job easier or quicker

  • Drop sheet
  • Dusting brush
  • Short bristle scrubbing brush

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