How to Finish Your Lanai Door - French Door Alternative

Finishing your Lanai Door system is similar to finishing a French door. The task is often left up to either you or your contractor. Most builders have professional painting subcontractors who have the experience and knowledge to properly complete the job on-site. We take pride in how your Lanai Door system looks so we wanted to summarize our recommendations on how to achieve a high quality finish. This requires planning, time and careful attention to detail - don't rush the project. The deep, glossy, pre-finished look takes more than the standard three steps. The keys, which also apply to your average French door, are repeated sanding and multiple finish coats.

It is recommended that these doors, like any French door, be finished with a clear finish system. A finish is designed to keep moisture away from the wood. No finish made will keep moisture away from the wood indefinitely. Therefore, ongoing maintenance is recommended for any Lanai door or French door. It is very critical that your door is sealed on all six (6) sides. The following suggestions are offered as a guide to your selection and use of finish materials; however we recommend you consult with your painting contractor or local dealer.

  • Acclimate the Wood: Unfinished wood on any Lanai door or French door needs protection from moisture and extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Before the materials are delivered, have all windows and exterior doors in place, and bring the house to occupancy level conditions. Make sure all new drywall and plaster have had at least a week to dry.
  • Prepare the Room: Keep dust to a minimum and maintain stable levels of temperature and humidity. Schedule other workers away from the jobsite. Mask off any surfaces on your Lanai door or French door that you wish to protect.
  • Seal Coat: Solid hardwoods on your Lanai door or French door must be sealed on all sides. The reason for this is that moisture can pass through the back, edges or ends as easily as the exposed faces. To avoid shrinking, swelling and other damages, you should pre-coat any part of the Lanai door or French door that you won't be able to reach after installation. Apply a coat of clear sanding sealer or wood sealer; additional coats may be necessary, as the wood on your Lanai door or French door must be completely sealed - always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Smooth It: Sanding is critical to an attractive and durable finish. Vacuum the floor thoroughly after sanding your Lanai door or French door. This will help keep unwanted sanding dust from landing on your finish coating.
  • Clean the Wood: Before applying stain to your Lanai door or French door, wipe it down with a clean cloth dampened in mineral spirits to temporarily emphasize defects such as sanding marks. Smooth out any flaws that appear, and then remove all dust with a dry cloth.
  • Stain It: Apply a compatible stain generously with a brush, rag or lambswool applicator. Allow it to sink into your Lanai door or French door for five to ten minutes, and then wipe off the excess with a clean rag. Let the stain dry 24 to 48 hours - always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Seal and Finish Coats: When the stain is dry, brush on the first finish coat and let it dry according to the manufacturer's directions. Use only those coatings that are compatible with the sealer and stain. Drying or curing times vary depending on the type of finish you use.
  • Sand and Coat Again: When it's bone-dry, sand the Lanai door or French door surface lightly with 280-grit or finer paper. Remove the dust with a tack cloth and brush on the second coat. The second or third finish coat will usually give you the desired result.