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Like most, my front door is exposed to weather including sun ( I live in Austin), heat, cold, wind, and I have to refinish it about once yearly, including sanding, re-staining and two polyurethane coats separated by light sanding. I've found that the polyurethane does not hold up well to the weather and has required annual refinishing. I am thinking about using a heaver marine finish, "Epifanes woodfinish matte" "for exterior or interior use" (though it's expensive) to try to get the finish to hold up longer. In addition, sanding the door is complicated by the shaped molding on the door face. Any ideas about (1) how to sand the door given the shaped molding, and (2) do you think the Epifanes will hold up better, and (3) if not is there another finish that might? All comments are welcome. A pic of the door exterior is attached.

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For one thing polyurethane is an interior finish not suited for a door. There are a few polyurethane finishes made for exterior use but they are only available at professional suppliers. Anyway you would be better off with a marine grade spar varnish. The Epifanes you mention is the best.

Really the issue you are having with sanding is the old finish is not being stripped off well enough. The government has banned methylene chloride removers to the public and that is the only thing that is going to do it. A professional refinisher would still be able to get the chemicals.
 

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You are on the right track. True marine Varnishes will have more UV protection that consumer grade stuff sold at the big box stores. Epifanes does make good varnish and it no, it is not cheap. There are other good brands too.

Keep in mind nothing stands up for long against UV. Many boats that sit in the sun are varnished every year. I suspect you will more than that on your door but don't expect miracles either.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In the absence of methylene chloride paint removers availability to me, do you think a heat gun will work on the old polyurethane finish to help remove it.
 

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I had a very expensive panelled western red cedar door that faced south, into what ever the weather gave us.
New house, new door, 2 years and it peeled. Ultra tedious hand sanding to clean it off.
Two coats of BEHR "Rawhide" had enough UV inhibitors for protection. The surface didn't crack or craze.
Temperature swings ( in the shade) from -40F to + 90F. What that was on the door in the sun, I dont know.

Last time I saw that house, they had replaced the front door and added an exterior storm door that looked ugly.
Maybe that's the ultimate 'fix?'
 

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Cassidy, Although many people rave over Epifane, I have used it a few times and my experience, with 5 or 6 coats, is that it holds up very well for years if not in direct sun. In direct sun, it began peeling in a year, like all others I've ever tried. Best bet is maybe to install an awning to limit the amount of direct UV on it. The UV is the killer.
 

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I have used Epifanes for many many years on several boats.
There is a matching thinner for it, just dont remember the name.
The first time it must be applied with 8 coats. On the Gulf of Mex, if done in the late spring or early fall, you might get 2 coats a day on it.
if in direct sunlight, depending on where u live you might get 2 years out of the fist 8 coats, but I did it every year
If you do it every year, you will need a light sanding and only 2 or 3 coats after the first year. It is very durable and can take a beating, but the sun is a killer of most clear coatings.
Austin, Tx qualifies as a really hot place in summer. Not much humidity, but the finish dont care about humidity It's all about direct sun light.
If you do Epifanes yearly, you should not hav a problem and a light sanding is all that should be required.
Do you get direct sun on your door all day long? Cold , wind and rain has little effect on it
 

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Listen to Tony. Varnish is not a One and Done finish. It is high maintenance and really should be recoated yearly if it subject to a lot of UV.
People put it on and complain about it it peeling off in a couple of years but that is normal. If you don't want to deal with year maintenance you should use paint.
Cheap big box store varnishes may not make it a year in harsh/high UV situations.
 

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treat it like a boat deck (well, many boat decks). Build it out of teak, and just give up on maintaining a finish. Let it weather. Else build a roof over the front door.
 

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Paint it.

Or go with a non wood door.

The other viable solution already stated is a large roof overhang (and ideally move the house so the door faces north) basically keep it from getting any direct sunlight or rain..
 

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Paint it.

Or go with a non wood door.

The other viable solution already stated is a large roof overhang (and ideally move the house so the door faces north) basically keep it from getting any direct sunlight or rain..
i vote 'move the house' 🤣 🤦‍♂️
 
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