Wood Garage Door Staining: Everything You Need to Know

If your wood garage door looks worn and faded, it might be time for a stain. A fresh coat of stain revives your garage door and makes it look new. In this article, we’ll share findings from our conversation with stain expert Blaze Wildman of Texas Premium Blend Stains in Waxahachie, Texas. Continue reading to learn our tips and thoughts on wood garage door staining.


Start from the beginning

Before starting your stain project, do your best to find out what is on your current garage door. If you can still see the grain on your wood garage door, your door was likely treated with a transparent stain or clear coat. If you don’t see the wood grain through the finish, a semi-solid latex stain or an oil-based semi-transparent stain may have been applied. If in doubt, check your order paperwork.


Wood garage door stain fading or discoloration

Faded cedar overlay garage door
Faded cedar overlay garage door

Like your skin on a hot, blistering Texas afternoon, the sun can also damage your garage door. In just a few hours outside, untreated cedar or Douglas fir wood will change colors from the sun’s intensity. Therefore, sun exposure is the main culprit behind stain fading. A close second is water damage. Often the lower quarter of a garage door will have water spots and discoloration from sprinkler overspray.

Mold and mildew build-up on the wood also lead to discoloration. If you see small green, grey, or black spores on your door, mildew has settled into your door and started to grow.


Staining frequency

Depending on sun and water exposure, we recommend staining your wood garage door every 3 to 5 years. We’ve found some clients like the silver patina of an aging cedar door, while others want them to look new all the time. Oil-based stains soak into the woodgrain while sun exposure continually draws moisture out, so there’s a constant tug of war.

Do wood species accept stains differently?

Most wood garage door designs are built using cedar or Douglas fir, both softwood species. These wood doors accept stains easily because they are more porous than hardwoods like mahogany or oak.


Cleaning your cedar garage door

Now that you’ve decided to stain your cedar door, the next step is to have a professional clean it. Using a 50/50 bleach and water combo, the solution will be sprayed with a hand pump, washing away years of dirt, grime, and mildew.  The bleach solution won’t damage the concrete or impact the existing stain.

When the 50/50 solution isn’t doing the trick, Blaze recommends upping the cleaning solution to 75/25 bleach to water and doing it again. Once applied, the solution needs to be rinsed off using a water hose. After washing the grime, the garage door must dry for 48 to 72 hours before a stain is applied.

Do you need to power-wash cedar garage doors?

No, quite the opposite. A power washer will likely ruin the grain by cutting into it, leaving streaks across the door. Avoid this because these streaks will be more noticeable once stained. Cedar is a softwood, so a hand pump and water hose are all you need to clean your door.


What type of stain to use on a cedar garage door?

If you want the natural wood grain to show through, we recommend a 100% oil-based wood preservative sealer. More than a stain, an effective sealer prevents cupping, warping, and splitting of the wood. We use Texas Premium Blend in one of their colors for our pre-stained wood garage doors. Transparent stains penetrate the cedar and protect it from the elements.

Can I stain it black?

Black garage doors are popular; black wood garage doors are a common request. While we don’t offer a black stained garage door, there are semi-transparent and semi-solid latex finishes that will deliver a black wood garage door. Remember that black attracts heat and will dry out wood faster and cover the grain patterns.


How long does it take to stain a wood garage door?

It should take a minimum of four days to complete a garage door staining project. If it’s cleaned on day one, it’s ready to accept stains on day 4. It takes less than 30 minutes to prep and apply the oil-based stain to a two-car garage door.


How many coats of stain are needed for cedar garage doors?

Newly stained cedar garage door
Newly stained cedar garage door

Just one. The 100% oil-based solution is applied through a sprayer at close range. Once applied, the stain soaks into the wood for a few hours, then dries to the touch.

How much does it cost to stain a cedar garage door?

If your stain professional follows the cleaning process, waiting a few days, and then prepping and staining, it can cost between $300 – $500. The cost varies based on the garage door size (one vs. two cars), how many you have, and how much prep work is involved. The additional prep work may cost extra for a garage door with glass and grids between.


For more info on garage doors, we’ve written a handful of helpful articles


Treatment for painted garage doors

Unlike stains, painted garage doors require commercial stripping chemicals made of nasty stuff. Cleaning painted garage doors requires power washing and chemicals which may damage the wood. We don’t recommend stripping down a painted garage door and then trying to apply a stain on it. We believe that once your garage door is painted, it should stay that way.

We tried to answer the most common questions about staining a wood garage door, and we hope you found it helpful. Planning your garage door stain project doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little preparation, your wood garage door will look brand new. If you’ve decided not to stain your garage doors but buy new wood garage doors, we’d love to be your first call.

Doorvana Blog Wood Garage Door Staining: Everything You Need to Know