What kind of finish is great for interior doors?

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Forum topic by timthetoolman posted 07-19-2010 02:05 PM 9153 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View timthetoolman's profile


41 posts in 2745 days

07-19-2010 02:05 PM

Hello, i just bought some 6 panel solid pine doors to start replacing doors in the house, what kind of finish gets those doors nice and shiny and feels really thick to have a nice finish on solid wood doors? any particular recipe or brand anyone would recommend? I’d appreciate it! Tim

-- Tim The Toolman Dayton, Ohio

7 replies so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3516 days

#1 posted 07-19-2010 02:19 PM

As a contractor I use pre-cat lacquers.

ML Campbell MagnaMax is my first choice. Sherwin Williams T77-F37 & T77-F57 are second.

The ML Campbell MagnaMax has a high durability in comparison to Sherwin’s precat lacquers. But the doors and trim that I did years ago are still holding up with both. It becomes more of a critical issue if it is cabinets in a bath or kitchen.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2897 days

#2 posted 07-19-2010 03:44 PM

I use Minwax Polycrylic semi-gloss. I usually use 3 coats with a light sanding in between. The Polycrylic dries clear and quickly, and its water based and clean up is easy. You can apply all coats in a single day. I just did 8 oak six panel doors and they turned out great. Polycrylic isnt quite as hard as regular poly, but it works just fine for doors.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View swirt's profile


2105 posts in 2388 days

#3 posted 07-19-2010 04:16 PM

I’m probably going to break with tradition of uber protection here and suggest shellac and oil rubbed in (similar to a french polish, but without all the polish).

Here is my rationale. No matter what you put on a door, it is eventually going to get bumped, dinged or scratched. It is the very nature of going in and out a door. Every door in my house is a six panel pine door and only one of them has polyurethane on it. The rest are all rubbed on shellac and BLO. (Mainly the BLO is to reduce friction and keep the shellac from sticking to the pad, though I think it does add a bit of depth to the first couple coats.)
The door with polyurethane looks like crap, the rest still look great. The reason is that when the poly gets dinged or scratched, it turns white and makes the damage look worse than it is. On the shellaced doors, the same dings appear, but they are almost invisible….and if they are really bad, a rub with just a wee bit of alcohol cleans up the finish and re-melts it into the rest. The blemeshes just look a lot more natural than they do on the poly. The poly will only look good again if it is stripped and recoated….and if I went to all the trouble to strip it, I’d go with shellac on it instead.

I avoid really thick finishes on things like doors. They just get damaged deeper and take even more to repair. Thicker only usually offers more protection from moisture, it rarely offers more protection from impact.
I should also point out that This shellac finish has been on my bathroom doors for years and show no effects of moisture damage.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3238 days

#4 posted 07-19-2010 04:22 PM

Tim, when we built our house back in the late ‘80s we put in 6 panel pine doors throughout (over 30 doors). I put on 3 coats of polyurethane. The doors still look as good today as they did when we first put them up.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3544 days

#5 posted 07-19-2010 04:31 PM

Aye matey, it’s spar varnish for me.
Hand wiped and rubbed to a nice glow.

Waterlox will also work.

-- 温故知新

View Ger21's profile


1045 posts in 2547 days

#6 posted 07-19-2010 05:57 PM

I just finished 4 15lite pine doors. Minwax poly. 2 coats gloss, then 2 coats satin. Sanding between each coat. glass smooth finish.

-- Gerry,

View timthetoolman's profile


41 posts in 2745 days

#7 posted 07-20-2010 04:39 AM

Hello, thanks for all the posts from everyone, it really gives me an idea of what to choose from and actually start from somewhere, thank you all !!

-- Tim The Toolman Dayton, Ohio

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