Staining a door is something I have done several times and I made some mistakes so hopefully I can keep you from making any. When you stain a door you are going to encounter it one of two ways. It is either going to have previously been stained or painted or it will be un-stained or new. If it has been previously covered it will take a couple of extra steps to get the job done.
In either situation get two sawhorses. As I say in all situations that have something to do with home improvement, I try to work with a family hardware store for all supplies and advise them of my project. Not only do they take an interest but sometimes they will give you a discount on your hardware needs. They can provide you with two sawhorses.
If the door has been used, then you will need to remove it from the entrance by removing the hardware which consists of the hinges.
Lay the door flat on the two sawhorses and do one side at a time.
To remove any existing paint or stain you will need paint remover and turpentine. It is a good idea to have a putty knife to scrape off residue.
Rub the paint remover on the door and let it sit as the instructions advise you to do. At that time use the putty knife to scrape the paint from the door. There will be “residual” on the door. Wipe this off using turpentine.
The next step on the plain wood is to take a wood primer and apply it with either cloth rag or small light paintbrush. This can be done twice.
These steps are done to both sides of the door as well as to the thin sides (top and bottom). The molding around the door should match.
At this point you can pick out the color stain you want. They typically come in “tree names” such as Oak, Pine, and Maple to name a few.
This stain should be applied with small even strokes on the door after the primer has dried. Once the stain has dried; add a second coat.
Then “hang” the door by re-attaching the hinges and putting it in the doorway.
Of course, if the door has never been used, then you would pick up with the instructions after the previous paint or stain has been removed.
When you are doing this job you can expect to pay between $45 and $65 depending on where you shop and quality of materials you choose to get.
The main thing to watch for when doing a job like this is impatience. It is a very tedious job because you are “stripping” and reapplying materials in a small way. If you persevere you will be pleased with the result.