How to Finish an External Veneered Door

      External glazed doors with sidelights      

All unfinished doors should be finished with a suitable product before installation to maintain the integrity of the door and ensure that it remains looking good for as long as possible, this is especially important with external doors. Most of the external doors produced by XL Joinery have a 10-year manufacturer defect guarantee, but this will only be valid if the door is finished in a recommended way.

        Buy external doors online  

Pre-finished doors come with a suitable finish already applied, but when making cuts outs for hinges, latches, handles, letterboxes, spy holes or anything else you may want to include on the doors, you will need to add a finish to the cutout areas. You will also need to maintain the pre-finished doors and re-apply a finish as necessary to keep the door protected. 


Finishing XL Joinery External Veneered Doors

  Painted external hardwood door  

Engineered doors with veneers are popular due to their strength and durability. They should perform better than solid timber doors as they will be more resistant to movement and natural fluctuations from weather conditions, as well as being more environmentally friendly due to the sustainability of engineered timber and the lack of waste, but you will need to treat a veneered door in a different way to one made with solid timber.

Ensure you use a ‘high build’ tinted wood stain or good quality exterior paint, and ensure they are suitable for use on veneered/engineered doors. Apply at least 3 coats of your chosen finish to the front and back faces and all edges, as well as to the cutouts for the lock, hinges and letter plate as necessary to fully seal the door. 


It’s advisable to apply two coats of finish as soon as you can after unpacking the door to ensure it’s protected. One coat should be applied immediately after unpacking.

Never use any hard, brittle varnish, paint or wax; or thin penetrating stains, oils or sealants on veneered doors as these can seep through to the adhesive and can cause the veneer to peel or crack. These types of finish will drastically shorten the life of the door and invalidate any warranties.  

  Finish external doors before you install them with a high-quality stain or paint  
  Front door in a set frame with fittings for easy installation  

We don’t recommend clear translucent coatings for external doors as UV rays can degrade and discolour the timbre over time.

You should also ensure you are applying the finish in dry conditions, so avoid finishing the door in damp or wet weather. You should never use paints or stains that have been thinned or are classed as ‘low build’. You should also not mix incompatible finishing products, such as using a stain on one side and a paint on the other, and it’s always recommended that you use the same product for all the edges of a door to maintain the consistent structural integrity of the door.   


Maintaining Veneered External Doors


Maintain the finished external door by ensuring you give it gentle clean at least once a year by wiping away any surface dirt or pollution. Check the door’s finish periodically so you can touch up areas as needed, and you will probably need to fully retreat an external door every few years. How regularly you’ll need to retreat a door will be dependent on how exposed it is. 

Front and back doors for residential properties
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