7 Best Stain for Douglas Fir Door in 2024 – [Exterior & Interior]

Best Stain for Douglas Fir Door

Hearing nothing but praise, you finally decide to get a Douglas fir door. But, after installing the door, it doesn’t seem to impress you. The door looks very average. So what was all the hype about?

Douglas fir might be the best wood for doors, but the wood alone won’t live up to all the expectations.

If you want the door to be in its full glory, you have to stain the wood. Applying the best stain for Douglas fir door enhances its natural beauty and protects it from rotting, giving it a long lifespan.

Staining a door is no easy task. Although we can’t help you apply the stain, we can help you find the right one. So here’s our round-up of the finest stains for fir door.

Top 7 Douglas Fir Door Stain – Table

  1. Ready Seal 525
  2. Minwax 22760
  3. General Finishes Oil
  4. General Finishes Water-Based
  5. Varathane 269400
  6. Minwax 66020000
  7. Varathane 262024

Which Type of Stain is Best for Douglas Fir Door?

Wood stains come in different formulas and configurations. Not every type might suit your wood well.

As long as we discuss Douglas fir, a few types of stains work best in different scenarios. Let us introduce you to the wood stain types in brief.

Oil-based Stains

Oil stains are the most common type of stains that people use on wood. This type is mostly based on linseed oil which is all-natural and non-toxic. Oil stains usually contain dyes, pigments, or a combination of both.

Oil stains are usually thinned with mineral spirits. They don’t overlap easily, hence a very popular option for staining wood. You can also apply any kind of finish over oil stains other than water stains.

Oil stains take a very short time to dry, which is somewhere between 1 to 2 hours. They are also absorbed well in porous wood surfaces, so a very effective substance for staining wood.

Water-based Stains

Water stains are the most natural type and very environment-friendly. These stains are mostly aniline dyes that are soluble in water.

However, the problem with using water stains is they can wet the wood surface enough to raise the grains, which later affects the finish of the stain.

Wood should be processed before you are going to apply water-based stains on any surface. Also, water stains dry very quickly.

So, handling them is a bit of trouble unless you divide the whole surface into small segments and work on one at a time.

Usually, propylene glycol is added to water stains to slow down the drying process. Though water stains don’t protect the wood for longer as they don’t penetrate that much, they enhance the wood grain very well.

Gel Stains

Gel stains might be the easiest type of stain to apply. As they are thickened pigments, they don’t flow or drip while staining.

So, you can easily fix any splotch even if you are slow. But as they are very thick, they can’t penetrate too deep inside the wood.

Gel stains are mostly oil-based stains but a lot thicker than that. Some gel stains can be varnish-based; we will get into which in a moment. The easy application of gel stains is the main reason behind their popularity.

7 Best Stain for Douglas Fir Door Reviews

Based on features and applications, we have hand-vetted a few stains for the Douglas fir door.

Let’s take a closer look at them and find out why they should be your choice. We will also let you know what you should be aware of these products.

1. Ready Seal 525 Dark Walnut Stain on Douglas Fir, 5 Gallon

Ready Seal 525 Dark Walnut Stain on Douglas Fir, 5 Gallon
Photo: Amazon



  • UV Blocking
  • Waterproofing
  • Semi-transparent
  • Oil-based
  • Mildew Resistance
  • 5 Gallon

To give your Douglas fir doors that dark finish of walnut, Ready Seal 525 is an elementary choice. It requires no primer to be mixed with.

So, the application is quite easy. You can use a sprayer, roller, or brush to apply the stain on the door surface.

When you first apply the stain, it usually is at its darkest. But it gradually turns lighter and gets its characteristic color over time.

Often it happens within 14 days of application. We are used to putting a stain on doors first and then applying a sealer to protect the stain from moisture.

In this case, you don’t need any extra sealer as everything is mixed together. You also don’t need to dilute the concentration of the stain as it is pre-mixed. You can start applying it right out of the container.

But remember, you can’t apply this stain on surfaces that were previously stained. The surface also needs to be cleaned from mildew, dust, dirt, oil, or grease. This is what you might find difficult, but the result will be mesmerizing.

Though it is difficult to declare this the best stain to use on Douglas fir, there is no doubt that this special walnut stain on Douglas fir will save a lot of your time and cost.

Give it a go and try for yourself to get a protected fir door for a long.

Highlighted Features

  • Stain and sealer are mixed, so you don’t need to apply any sealer separately.
  • Enhances the natural beauty of the door surface as the texture and grain of the wood remain visible as the stain is semi-transparent.
  • Oil-based stain inhibits penetration and protects the wood from moisture.


  • Stain can only be applied on the dry wood surface, and you need to wait for 48 to 72 hours to completely dry the wood.
  • You need to cover the surrounding plants before applying the stain.

2. Minwax Weathered Oak Stain on Douglas Fir, Half Pint

Minwax Weathered Oak Stain on Douglas Fir, Half Pint
Photo: Amazon



  • One-coat color
  • Oil-based
  • 2 hours drying time
  • 5-minutes penetration
  • Semi-transparent
  • Lapping resistant

Minwax weathered oak stain gives your furniture or Douglas fir doors that combination of vintage and modern look. Though applying it is very easy, you might face a tough time while prepping for the application.

It is an oil-based natural wood finish that enhances the grains of the bare wood. With its high penetrating formula, it can go deeper into wood than many other stains.

Once applied, it reaches the maximum depth in just 5 to 15 minutes to pull out the true rich oak color on the surface.

Still, it needs some time to ripen the color. Though you get a rich color in only one coat, you can repeat the process for a darker finish.

Don’t worry, even if you are slow in the application. It has lapping resistance, so you can be sure of even application on Douglas fir doors.

As it isn’t mixed with sealer, you need to apply a top coat for final protection. Though you can get a fast-drying polyurethane with a clear satin color from the same brand, it might cost you some extra bucks for the finish.

It would be better if it were mixed with the sealer to protect the door. You also need to condition the wood with a pre-stain which is helpful for even stain penetration.

It might seem difficult to follow all the steps, but if you do that, you are getting one of the best exterior stains for Douglas fir door.

Highlighted Features

  • Natural wood finish enhances the grains of wood.
  • Adds rich color to the wood in just one coat.
  • Highly penetrating stain ensures longer protection.
  • Easy cleaning with mineral spirit.


  • You need to go through several steps and use different materials to get the final finish, but that is worth the time and money.

3. General Finishes Oil Base Gel Stain on Douglas Fir, Half Pint

General Finishes Oil Base Gel Stain on Douglas Fir, Half Pint
Photo: Amazon



  • Interior use
  • Wipe, brush, or roll application
  • Heavy-bodied, no-drip oil-based stain
  • Rich color production
  • Half Pint

When using gel stain on Douglas fir, oil-based gel stain from General Finishes can be the benchmark for the final finish. This is being used to give your Douglas fir doors an ash-grey color that is very rich and heartwarming.

As this stain is heavy-bodied, you don’t need to worry about the application time like other thinner stains.

Without any chance of dripping or lapping, you can smoothly spread the stain with a cloth or brush.

Not only does the ash-grey color look better on the Douglas fir door but also you can work it out on other interior surfaces.

Due to the thick-bodied stain, there will be no uneven penetration. As a result, the final finish you get will be much more consistent than many other stains.

It takes a bit more time to dry completely than other thinner stains, but it is worth waiting.

It will generally need somewhere between 12 to 24 hours to completely dry in ideal weather conditions. But if the humidity or temperature is too high or too low, drying time can vary greatly.

You also need to be cautious about applying water-based finishes on the stain within 72 hours of application of this stain.

But when it comes to ease of use, this stain surpasses its competitors by a large margin. A value-for-money product that will suit your Douglas fir doors.

Highlighted Features

  • Oil-based gel stain formula ensures easy application, even penetration, and a smooth finish.
  • No mixing is necessary for application hence saves time.
  • No lapping or dripping.
  • Easy to clean.


  • Will need several top coats for sealing the stain, which can be costly but will ensure a great finish.

4. General Finishes Water Based Stain on Douglas Fir, 1 Quart

General Finishes Water Based Stain on Douglas Fir, 1 Quart



  • For hard-to-stain woods
  • Rich and uniform color
  • Interior use
  • Easy clean up with water
  • 1 Quart

As you might already know about water-based stains, we have a new type that has pigments to produce rich color on the wood surface soon after application. As the thickness of the stain is lower than oil-based stains, you can expect deep penetration from it.

Due to this property, you will need to complete your work as quickly as possible. If the surface is large, it is better to divide it into sections and work one time.

No mixing is required for this stain. You can simply clean the surface of any dust or stains and then apply the white stain Douglas fir door.

It is great for interior use, which can be a problem if you are looking for outdoor use. It emits a lot less odor than other stains.

Cleaning it is also easier as you can do that with just water. Other than the white stain, you can also use many different colors of this stain to portray your characteristics on your Douglas fir doors.

Though it is water-based, you will get the same finish as oil-based stains, which is a big plus.

Highlighted Features

  • Water-based stain works better with woods that aren’t easily penetrable by thicker stains.
  • The application requires no special skill or knowledge to use cloth, brush, or roll to paint along the grain of the wood surface.
  • Color becomes even richer after applying a top coat to seal the surface.


  • Dripping is a common incident for water-based stains, so be careful about that.

5. Varathane 269400 Ebony Stain on Douglas Fir, Half Pint

Varathane 269400 Ebony Stain on Douglas Fir, Half Pint
Photo: Amazon



  • 1-hour drying time
  • One-coat color
  • 75% saving
  • Dark Ebony
  • Oil-based

This oil-based premium wood stain contains nano pigment particles that penetrate deep enough into the wood to protect it from moisture and give it that classic ebony finish.

Whether you use it for Douglas fir doors furniture or cabinets, it will provide the same performance throughout.

Due to the single coat color property of this stain, you will need a lot less amount than other stains.

As a result, Varathane wood stain can cover 75% more area than its competitors. The total area it can cover is 70 sq. feet, so don’t worry about spending many bucks after the stain.

As it is oil-based, the application is quite easy. You can simply use a brush or lint-free cloth to apply the stain.

The drying time of this stain is amazing at first. With a drying time of 1 hour, it can be the best stain for Douglas fir door in terms of speedy drying.

Cleaning the stain requires mineral spirit as it is oil-based. Another benefit of oil-based formula is its dripping-free application which reduces the waste of the stain.

But if you want long-term protection, you need to use a topcoat. Don’t worry; you can start applying the topcoat after 1 hour of staining.

Highlighted Features

  • Rich ebony brings out the natural texture and grain of the wood and makes it look better.
  • Covers almost 70 sq. feet of area, which is a good deal at this price.
  • The oil-based formula ensures easy application without dripping and even penetration.


  • No sealer is mixed with the product, so you need to apply a separate top coat for the ultimate finish and durability.

6. Minwax 66020000 Gel Stain on Douglas Fir

Minwax 66020000 Gel Stain on Douglas Fir
Photo: Amazon



  • Rich and uniform color
  • Non-drip formula
  • Ideal for vertical surfaces
  • Aged Oak color
  • 1 Quart

Whenever you talk about a golden oak stain on Douglas fir, a Minwax-aged oak gel stain should be included in your discussion for its seamless performance on any wood surface.

This gel stain is thicker than an oil-based stain, so there will be no worries about dripping.

As a result, it is a good fit for staining vertical surfaces like Douglas fir doors. In most cases, when we stain doors, they are mounted in a vertical position.

A gel stain like this can be a handy solution for staining. Applying it evenly is also easier as it takes longer to dry. So, you can stain doors without lapping even if you are working slowly.

Its unique feature is its compatibility with different materials, including wood, plywood, fibreglass, metal, etc. But keep in mind, you might not be able to directly apply the stain on bare wood.

You need to condition the wood surface by applying a pre-stain. Then you can apply the stain so that the gel penetrates enough to protect the surface.

The final finish needs a separate topcoat which often bothers people. But if you are up to going that extra mile for a durable and smoother finish, Minwax gel stain will show you the true color and texture of wood.

Highlighted Features

  • Gel stain, so there is no chance of dripping.
  • Penetrates better into wood surfaces with large pores.
  • Doesn’t make the stain splotchy as you can even any odds while applying.
  • Can be used on several different materials.


  • Penetrating wood surfaces with small pores can be difficult but won’t affect the finish much.
  • Combustible, so you need to handle it with care.

7. Varathane 262024 Early American Stain on Douglas Fir

Varathane 262024 Early American Stain on Douglas Fir
Photo: Amazon



  • 1-hour drying time
  • One-coat color
  • 75% saving
  • Oil-based
  • Half Pint

You might have already seen another product from Varathane. They are known for making great stains of different colors.

Early American stain is just another variety of their stain line-up. Like the previous one, it is also oil-based.

As a result, the application of this stain is easier and smoother. It leaves no lapping during application. Even if it happens, you can clean the extra stain with just a wet, clean rag.

Early America is usually darker than the natural wood color, but still, it brings out the natural texture of the wood.

It contains enough stain to cover a total area of 70 sq. feet which saves you almost 75% cost compared to other stains.

Its nano pigment particles penetrate deep into the wood and seal the wood pores for better protection.

Oil-based formula is also great for no or less dripping. So, even if you have the least experience working with stains, you can apply the stain quite well. That rich and uniform color is just one coat away from this stain.

The drying time of this stain is also low at only 1 hour. But for full curing, you might need to leave it for a minimum of 24 hours. A topcoat is also necessary to complete the finish and give it a longer life.

Highlighted Features

  • Deep penetration for better sealing and durability ensures the stain remains as it is for a longer period.
  • No prior conditioning is required to apply the stain.
  • Easy and smooth application with less drying time.
  • Any topcoat is applicable on the stain provided that it gets proper curing time.


  • An extra topcoat can cost you more, but it seals the stain better.

Factors to Consider While Choosing Stain for Douglas Fir Door

Staining can be an interesting DIY project, but it’s not like you are just going to the market and grabbing the stain you see in front of yourself.

Before you head to buy, you have a clear concept of the best stain for Douglas fir and why it is so. Let’s talk about some factors that you need to consider before buying a stain.

Hardwood or softwood?

The stain you wanna put on should be according to the hardness of the wood. For example, softwoods can absorb stains much better than hardwoods. As a result, they can achieve the desired color after just one single coat.

But hardwoods might need several coats to reach their true color. Also, stains for hardwoods should have deep penetration power to protect the wood. Whatever wood you are using, decide the stain based on that primarily.

Water or Oil or Gel-based?

Though there are a few more types of stain for staining Douglas fir for outdoor use, we have discussed three main types of stains here.

All three types have their characteristic features. You need to determine which features are gonna advantageous for you.

Water-based stains will dry quicker than the other two types, but you need to work quickly with those options.

These stains can generally leave brush marks on the surface. Also, penetration isn’t that deep in the case of water-based stains.

Oil or gel-based stains are thicker than water-based stains, and they can penetrate deeper into the wood.

So, they seal the surface better for better protection and durability. You can also take your time working with these stains as they don’t create lap marks.

Dripping is also less or absent in case of oil or gel stains. So, think about your work surface, wood type, exterior or interior use, and then choose the stain according to those factors.

Separate sealer or all-in-one?

Some stains are pre-mixed with wood conditioner and sealer altogether so that you don’t need to put separate topcoats for a better finish.

With these stains, you just need to brush or roll them onto the surface. After it dries, you will get your desired finish.

For some other stains, you need to condition the wood before applying the stain. Then after the stain dries up completely, you need to apply a topcoat several times to pull out the best look possible.

If you are in a hurry, go for ready-mixed stains. But if you have the time to invest after a separate finish, you can go for it.

Solid or transparent stain?

Solid stains help you achieve color in fewer coats. But they often cover the natural texture and grain of the wood surface.

Transparent stains need to be applied several times, they generally give the wood surface a tinted color which exposes the wood grain much better than other stains.

So, it is up to your personal preference. If you like the wood grains to be exposed, you can go for transparent or semi-transparent stains.

How to Stain Douglas Fir Door? Explained

Douglas fir is a very soft wood like pine or hemlock. So, you need to be careful while choosing the best stain for the Douglas fir door.

Once you have the stain and are ready to go, watch some easy steps to perfectly stain your Douglas fir door.

Let’s break it into two sections. One is for exterior use, and the other is for interior use. First things first, let’s focus on the exterior.

How to stain a fir exterior door?

Step 1

The first step of staining Douglas fir for outdoor use is to sand the surface of the door with 180-grit sandpaper to remove all dirt, debris, smudges, or any other blemishes. Be careful to sand in the same direction as the wood grain.

Step 2

After sanding, completely clean the wood surface and allow it to dry completely before applying any stain.

Step 3

As fir is softwood, it needs conditioning before applying any stain to not become blotchy. Apply a wood conditional with a paintbrush in the direction of the grain and allow it to dry.

Step 4

Now you are ready to apply wood stain. This process is quite similar to the previous step. Apply wood stain with a brush or roller in the direction of the wood grain to get the best result.

Let it dry completely, and don’t apply any topcoat until it’s dry.

Step 5

Finally, apply a top coat of polyurethane to protect the door for a longer period. The topcoat should be applied a minimum of 3 times to get the best protection.

How to stain a fir interior door?

Step 1

Sanding the wood surface is a must for interior doors too. Sand the surface with 180-grit sandpaper before you apply any stain.

Step 2

A solvent-based or lacquer-based finish system is better for interior doors. For fir doors, use a pre-sealer or wood conditioner to prepare the wood for staining.

Step 3

Then apply any oil or gel stain is made for interior use. A single coat of these stains will be enough for interior doors.

Step 4

The topcoat should be applied after the stain has dried completely. In this case, applying the topcoat twice is enough.

Final Words

Discussions are over. It is now time for you to crank the working mood on and finally pick the best stain for Douglas fir door.

Once you are there, your fir doors are only a few steps away from getting a stunning finish that will last for years to come.

Although staining your Douglas fir doors is a time-consuming process, you will learn a lot. And, the beauty you will see on the finished doors is completely worth the time and hard work.

Brace yourself for watching your fir door reveal its beauty after every swap of stain.


Some of the most commonly asked questions about staining Douglas fir doors.

Is Douglas fir good for staining?

Douglas fir is a softwood that is light amber. Though it makes great doors for both exterior and interior use, you can enhance the beauty of the doors by staining them. Fir absorbs stains much better than other woods.

What is the best stain for Douglas fir?

As you have already seen, there are various types of stains available for various purposes and woods. Gel stains are the best for Douglas fir.

As fir is a softwood, it absorbs too much and too quickly. So, thicker gel stains can slow down the absorption process, and you get more time to evenly spread the stain for a beautiful finish.

Is hem fir and Douglas fir the same?

No, they are different. Douglas fir is a straight-grained and resilient timber with a light amber color. Its strength-to-weight ratio is higher than the hem fir.

On the other hand, hem fir is lighter than Douglas fir. Its color can vary from creamy to light, straw-brown color.

Is Douglas fir open or closed grain?

Douglas fir has smaller pores and hence closed grains. This wood feels very smooth to the touch and is referred to as fine-grained.

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