Should You Varnish Oak Doors?

Maybe you're renovating a house and came across a beautiful oak door at your local shop. It appears sophisticated and elegant due to its gorgeous wood patterns, and you wish to include it in your home to give it a much more comprehensive appeal. But you're concerned whether or not to varnish it. Don't worry. We've already figured it out, and we are here to help you.

Whatever the case may be, you must varnish your oak wood door. Untreated oakwood is exceptionally prone to threats such as moisture in the air, which causes it to deform and deteriorate over time. A varnished finish provides a durable protective coating that keeps moisture out of the wood and prevents rotting.

We believe there are still some things you can learn about oak wood doors and how to varnish a wood yourself. So continue reading below.

Close up of a wooden door in the empty room, Should You Varnish Oak Doors?

Do You Need to Varnish Oak Doors?

Wood materials are typically varnished to give a protective covering around the wood, and oak-built doors are no different. To keep oak doors from degrading, they should be varnished.

Varnish protects wood by creating a tough layer that resists damage, such as scratches, stains, and moisture that can damage the wood. Varnish also emphasizes the wood's original grain and texture while also darkening it slightly to give it more tone and character.

Remember that most varnish coatings are only appropriate for indoor wood doors— varnish does not like direct sunlight and will peel off and break, exposing and damaging the wood over time.

Worker hand painting wooden door with paintbrush

How Do You Varnish An Oak Door?

As a general rule, you should remove all excess wood chips and dust from the wood before starting. Dust and debris must always be kept out of your workstation; otherwise, they will accumulate on the surface of the newly applied varnish, ruining the glossy and smooth finish.

Steps In Varnishing An Oak Wood Door

Hand of a handyman varnishing a wooden door

  1. Before you begin, clean the area where you will varnish the door to eliminate dust and debris that contaminate the finishing.
  2. Make sure the weather is suitable before beginning to apply the varnish— too humid or too cold conditions will cause the varnish to dry too slowly, causing dust to build and spoil the perfect surface.
  3. Choose a place that is well ventilated. Varnish and other chemicals release strong fumes that can cause lightheadedness, so a well-ventilated room is necessary to bring fresh air inside your working station.
  4. Remove any existing varnish with a suitable varnish remover if necessary. Sand the wood to remove any flaws, then remove any dust with a damp cloth and let it dry.
  5. When varnishing wood, you'll be handling chemicals that could be damaging to your skin if they come into contact with it. Make use of the appropriate tools for the task at hand. Before handling chemicals, always put on a mask and gloves, and if possible, use eye protection.
  6. If you're sanding using sandpaper, go with a 180 to 220 grit and go with the grain. Remove any debris with a moist towel and allow it dry for a few minutes. Do the first application thinly and allow it to dry for 24 hours.
  7. Allow the wood to dry completely before applying the second layer, sand it with fine sandpaper and wipe it clean— apply as many coats as you want, but 2 or 3 will suffice.
  8. For a super-smooth finish, go with the grain for the final coating— don't sand it.

What is The Best Varnish to Use on Oak Doors?

We recommend Epifanes Clear Varnish to be used on oak wood doors. It contains the highest quality tung oil varnish and has a wide range of exterior and interior applications. It is developed to create great flow, glossy finish, uncompromising durability, and longevity.

Check out this Epifanes clear varnish on Amazon.


  • It can be used for both exterior and interior doors.
  • It's excellent for hard and soft woods.
  • It provides a long-lasting protective layer.
  • It has a glossy finishing touch.


  • It takes a long time for the varnish to dry.
  • It requires multiple layers of coat.
  • It may be too complex for newbies.

What is The Best Finish for an Exterior Oak Door?

Waterlox can provide the greatest and most dependable protection for any wood in your home or office. When it comes to excellent performance, bang for the buck, and long-term durability, it's something you should not overlook. Although it is a little pricey, it is unquestionably worthwhile.

Check out this Waterlox Satin Marine Finish here at Amazon.


  • Waterproof
  • Came form natural resources
  • Fast drying
  • Excellent protection against sunlight


  • Too complex for newbies
  • Needs extra caution when applying

Can Oak Doors Be Left Untreated?

Oak doors can be left untreated. However, due to their sensitivity to their environment, it is suggested that oak doors be sealed air-tight and stored in a cool, dry place away from any damp.

If you leave an oak door in a damp walled room, it will deform as it absorbs excess moisture from the air.

Why Should You Choose an Oak Door?

These days, oak is one of the most popular hardwood species for both interior and exterior décor. It has a striking, strong grain pattern, making it ideal for usage indoors. It is both long-lasting, stain-resistant, and simple to deal with.

When selecting a door for your home, the usual guideline is that it should always complement the interior. The design and construction should complement one another and add the finishing touches to your home's design, enhancing its attractiveness and appeal.

Oak-framed doors will never let you down. It enriches your home by bringing a cozy kind of vibe to the room with its iconic wood grain on top of a superb varnish finish.

Finally, because oak doors mix well with both tiled and wooden floors, they provide you the flexibility to come up with different interior combinations that can surely uplift your home.

What are The Advantages of Oak Wood Doors?

As we have mentioned, oak wood doors are very appealing to the masses due to their beauty and quality. To emphasize oak wood doors, here are some of the advantages oak wood can offer you:


Oak doors have a sturdy structure and are long-lasting, durable, and rigid. So, even though you might spend a little more than cheaper options, you'll gain your money's worth for many years to come.


Oak doors contribute a lot to the design of your home, and the versatility element of the oak wood means it complements any flooring.

Energy Efficient

The insulating properties of oak wood are excellent. It has the ability to retain heat while also preventing cold from penetrating your home, which makes it more versatile to be used in any weather conditions.

How Much Does an Oak Door Costs?

An interior oak door costs between $300–$600 on average. Whether it's modern or classic, there's something for everyone.

Internal oak doors come in a wide variety of styles, so you should be able to find something that suits your preferences and requirements.

The Bottomline

Before installing your oak door in your home, you should varnish it as soon as possible. Because raw oak wood, if left exposed without a protective coating, may not endure very long. Finally, varnished oak wood doors are far more elegant than the latter.

If you want to know more about styles that mix perfectly with oak doors and tips to prevent oak doors from warping, check out more of these posts here:

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