Sand and Stain a Mahogany Door
LESLIE: Next up we have Shirley from Florida.
Shirley, how can we help you?
SHIRLEY: Yes, we’ve got a house in Florida and we’re looking at to fix up the mahogany doors that have gotten – they’ve just gotten a little bit rough; as if there was never any finish on them.
SHIRLEY: And I’m wondering what I should do with them.
TOM: Yeah, I think what you have is luan mahogany. It’s a thin, plywood skin on the outside. Here’s what you need to do. The best thing to do is to take them off the hinges and lay them flat and then lightly sand the doors. And I mean real …
LESLIE: What type of a grit would you use?
TOM: I would use probably something around 150 to 220 because …
LESLIE: So that’s medium-fine?
TOM: Yeah, medium-fine because you’re just taking off – probably what happened is the first time these were finished, the grain on the wood swelled and that made it very rough. And it takes a really good painter to know that they have to sand them in between coats. So if it was never done, it’s probably very prickly when you try to dust it and rub a rag over it.
SHIRLEY: They look fine, actually.
TOM: Yeah, they look great but they’re not the smooth finish. Take them off the door, lay them flat, and then sand them very lightly and put a new coat of finish on them. And you can use either water-based polyurethane or oil-based. The water-based will dry a lot faster and I like water-based for vertical surfaces. I don’t like water-based for anything that’s going to take any abrasion.
Leslie, have you had any experience with water-based polyurethane?
LESLIE: Actually, we use it a lot on While You Were Out just because of the speed in which we need things to dry. So we’ve had good experience with it. You do need more coats to get it as shiny or satiny as you want it to be.
TOM: But would you put that on a floor as well as a wall? Because I’ll tell you, I made the mistake once of putting it on a floor and I had one part of the house that was covered with an oil-based polyurethane and one part that was covered by a water-based …
LESLIE: And they look nothing alike.
TOM: Nothing alike and the water-based stuff was down to raw wood in no time.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And Shirley, when you finish sanding, make sure you use a tack cloth to get rid of all of that dust.
TOM: Yeah, because that’s going to swell up again and that could leave it rougher. You’ll find that the first time you use this though it’s going to be a lot smoother. Alright, Shirley?
SHIRLEY: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 for the smooth solution to your home improvement question.