Steel Door Fix-Up

Add a wood look to a plain steel door with these easy directions.
Stain and Grain

It's easy to give your plain steel doors the look of rich wood. An inexpensive wood-graining tool and a heavy-bodied wood stain are the keys to this decorative-finish technique. You can apply the finish while the door is on its hinges, but it's easier if you remove the door and lay it on padded sawhorses.

Rate your skill

  • Suitable for beginners, though experience with decorative paint finishes is helpful. First, practice your wood-graining technique on a painted metal or wood surface.
  • Cost: Less than $30.

Grab your gear

  • Mineral spirits; wood stain; polyurethane
  • Lint-free cloths; masking tape; wood-graining tool (available at hardware stores and home centers); paintbrush

Steel doors usually come primed white, gray, or tan. If your door is colored, apply a neutral base coat and let dry. Mask off glass and remove all hardware. Wipe the door with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits.

Continued on page 2:  Step-by-Step