Maintenance / Finishing


All replacement doors and entry units are delivered pre-finished unless otherwise specified. 

The units are generally stained and painted with three coats of Marine Varnish, the most durable exterior finish available. 

Because of the fact that these solid wood doors are installed in a variety of conditions, some mention need be made concerning maintenance. 

When an entry is protected somewhat from direct weather by means of a porch of substantial overhang, a minimum of maintenance is required. When a unit is exposed to direct rain and sunlight, some yearly maintenance is required. This holds true for any type of entry; wood, fiberglass or metal. Due consideration should be given prior to construction to weather protection to cut down on all types of maintenance. 

A wood door will last a lifetime as long as it is maintained properly. For a door to last, its finish must be maintained. When moisture passes through the exterior finish some degradation, expansion and discoloration can occur. 

These doors and entries are offered in oak and mahogany. In severe weather conditions, mahogany is recommended. 

Substantial protection from weathering can be obtained by use of a storm door as long as consideration is given to heat build-up when the door is exposed to direct sunlight with a Western or Southern exposure. 

General maintenance consists of a yearly inspection, looking for finish breakdown and small surface checks in the outer surface of the wood. If maintenance is required, the surface checks are filled with a stainable filler, lightly sanded, stained and given several coats of Marine Varnish.

Units in direct weather will require more maintenance. Those in protected areas will require much less. 

Any unit, properly maintained, will last a long time with good service and give you years of enjoyment. There is really no substitute for a beautiful wooden entry. 

Yearly inspection and maintenance is the responsibility of the owner.


Care of Exterior Wooden Entryways

Your entryway has been finished with a minimum of three coats of gloss marine varnish.* If your entryway has a matte finish, a top coat has been used.** These finishes work to protect the wood in two ways. First, as finishes go they remain comparatively soft and flexible, expanding and contracting with the wood to seal out moisture. Additionally, they contain UV inhibitors which help block ultraviolet light which can destroy the finish’s adhesive properties. 

Once a year make a visual inspection of the finish. The earliest sign that your finish might need attention is when you notice a loss of glossiness. Check for cracking or peeling as well as scratches. If any of these are apparent, maintenance is required. 


The best way to keep your entryway looking new is regular maintenance by a finishing professional.

Call Seth Catherman at (717)-781-3882.

Seth refinishes several of our doors every year and can give you information on pricing and frequency. Depending on exposure and protection, an entryway could use refinishing as frequently as every year or once every several years. At the earliest signs of varnish aging it’s best to give Seth a call.

Do-It-Yourself Instructions


1. Begin by wiping the woodwork with mineral spirits (paint thinner) to remove dust, dirt, and pollutants. Sand with 220 grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots, loose finish, etc. Any clouded finish is not adhering and needs to be taken down to the bare wood. Since the current finish is several layers thick, it will be necessary to ‘feather’ the finish where it meets bare wood to avoid ridges. 

2. Dust or vacuum the wood surface, then wipe again with mineral spirits to remove the finest dust. Also clean the area surrounding the entryway to keep as much dirt as possible out of the finish. 

3. Restain if necessary.*** 

4. Apply the varnish on a dry, warm day using a good-quality, natural bristle brush. If possible, choose a time of day when the wood will not be in direct sunlight for several hours. The finish can take up to six hours to dry to the touch so be prepared to leave your door open slightly to allow the edges to dry properly. Watch for drips and sags. The wet finish can be brushed over for some minutes. The warmer the weather, the less working time you will have. Always brush with the grain of the wood. 

5. Wherever the wood is bare, be prepared to apply several more coats of finish to restore the thickness of the film. Allow one day drying time between coats.

*Interlux Schooner Marine Varnish 
**Epifanes Wood Matte Fines Available through Jamestown Distributors: 
Phone 1.800.423.0030 
Fax 1.800.423.0542 
***Minwax stains available in any hardware store.