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How To Finish Any Internal Door

Not sure where to start on finding the perfect finish for your door and how to apply it? Look no further than our handy guide.

A How-to Guide

Finishing Your Internal Doors

Starting At The Finish

You’ve bought a new, unfinished door: congratulations! It’s the first step towards giving your home a fresh, clean new update, and the door is one of those home necessities that often is forgotten about in design upgrades. Many homeowners will think about painting the walls, but fewer consider the fantastic way in which changing the look of a door can improve how a room is viewed.

Your first step will be to choose whether or not you wish to paint or stain/varnish your door. Both will have a different effect on your door, and it will be important for you to keep the desired effect in mind before you pick up your supplies. A varnished or stained door makes a perfect choice for homes that prefer the natural look of wood, while painted doors offer up far more colour choices.

Think you know which you want to go for? Follow our guides below to learn how to finish your doors perfectly.

Staining and Varnishing

One of the best ways to finish your door is to stain and varnish the surface with wood oil such as our Osmo door oil, and a good-quality branded wood varnish. In choosing these methods, you are preserving the natural woodgrain appearance while helping to protect the surface to increase its longevity. It’s perfect for busy family life, easier cleaning, and keeps your doors usable for years to come. The preparation for these methods won’t take long when being used on our unfinished doors. Here is a handy, helpful guide that’s simple to follow for you to get a head-start on fixing up your doors.

Before you begin:
Check if you need to sand down the door. Some doors may have slightly rougher edges, so it always pays to double-check if there are any areas that may need to be smoothed down before applying your finishing touches.

Take care to also make a quick test of your stain on another piece of wood to ensure it is the right colour you want. The closer to your door’s wood type you can get, the better. Much like paint, the colour you see on the label may be slightly different to that which you see when painted and dried.

Varnishing should also be done only in a well-ventilated room. Ensure that you have open windows and doors or are in an area where there is free-flowing air.

Clean Up The Door & Apply Your Stain

First, make sure that your door’s surface is smooth and clean for applying your stain.

This can be done fairly easily with dry brushes or cloths. Any small areas of dirt can be wiped away with a damp cloth.

Make sure that the door is entirely dry before your stain is applied, and follow the instructions on the label if there are any specific to the brand of your choice.


Choose your preferred brush, and start applying your stain! This is one of the more fun parts of the process, and you can see the colour of your door start to be brought out with every brushstroke. Follow the grain of the woodwork to avoid streaks in the wrong direction. It also would be beneficial to keep your brushstrokes from overlapping as this could end up with you having too much stain applied to certain areas. This can create streaks which you will want to avoid if looking for an all-over smooth finish. 

If you have applied too much stain here and there, simply take a cloth and dab away the areas that are affected. Job done!

Dry and Varnish

Check the label of your stain, and simply admire your hard work while you wait for the stain to fully soak into the wood and dry. The process shouldn’t take too long. Once you are sure this is completed, take your varnish and another brush.  You’ll want to varnish from top to bottom of your door, once again following the natural grain of the wood. If your door has patterned indents, varnish them first before the outside surface. 

Once your varnish has been applied, wait for it to dry and check for any bubbles or bumps. These are easy enough to fix. Simply run over the excess varnish with any sandpaper you have and apply your next coat of varnish. Apply until you are happy with your door’s finish.

There you have it – one perfectly varnished door, ready to be set up on your frame.

Top Tip!

A single light coat of paint – if the paint is thinner than most it works even better! – can look great for a rustic-themed door, giving a much more weathered look. Why not try this style and see if you like it, too?

Painting Your Doors

Not everyone wants to keep the natural woodgrain effect on their doors, and there are thousands of colourful ways to paint your door to make it fit with your perfect aesthetic choice. If you are wanting to paint your door, look no further than our guide.

Before you start:
Choose the right colour of paint. Test it on other wood surfaces to see how the paint looks when dry. The same rule applies to varnish and stains. It is also important to note that with paint, it’s more important that you keep the surface you are painting smooth. With that in mind, let’s turn to the guide.

Smooth Out Surfaces & Apply Your Paint

Your door may have some splits, cracks, or other knocks that will need to be smoothed out before you apply your coats of paint. In order to fill these in, simply take some wood filler and apply to any areas where the wood requires it. Follow the instructions on the label, and sand down when dry.

You can use your sandpaper to smooth out any other surfaces that require it, too. This will give you the smooth surface that you need to ensure your paint looks as good as it can.


Much like with varnish and staining oil, your paint will need to be applied in layers. Each coating will need to be painted following one direction along the surface, preferably following the wood grain. If there are panels on your door, paint these first. Doors that have glass will also need extra protection from any brand of masking tape to ensure the paint does not coat this.

As with any finishing job, you need to take extra care. Your first coat may not be perfect, and this is why a second and third coat should be considered to apply. The more coats, the brighter the colour you will be able to achieve on your door.

Leave To Dry & Hang Your Doors

Once your paint has been applied, simply give it time to dry. Your patience will be worth it when you see your fantastic finished door hanging in its frame and ready to be seen by your guests. Is there any better feeling than seeing that fresh new look your home was needing being added and complimented?

Take your moment in the spotlight and enjoy it knowing that you can always change up your style again in future now you know how to!

Everything You Need From Shawfield Doors

If you’re looking to finish a new door, look no further than your door experts in Glasgow. We have everything you’ll need to get a professional finish on your brand new doors. Prefer to have your doors finished at purchase? No problem!

We offer not only unfinished internal doors and wood finishes for sale but a great selection of pre-finished doors in both natural or white colours too.

Browse our full range of internal doors for sale in Glasgow in-store and online. Visit our showroom for more great deals and our expert advice is on hand to help.

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