If you want a professional-looking job, follow the advice of professional painters and finishers:
- Prep work is the most important part of painting or staining. Prep may take 80 to 90 percent of the total time for a project.
- Always prime whatever surface you're about to paint. Primer seals any stains in the surface below it and improves adhesion of the finish coat.
- The door will never look any better than what's underneath. Scratches, gouges, and discoloration will show right through the most expensive products. Sand, seal, and fill before you apply the finish.
- Apply paint or stain generously. Use enough to get complete, uniform coverage.
- Start with the edges. You can roll extra paint up onto the wider surface and work it into that paint.
- Mask surfaces you don't want to paint or stain and work in well-ventilated spaces. Wear a respirator and rubber gloves as required by manufacturer of the product you're using
- Keep your work area clean and free of dust.