Urethaning wood entry door darkens color

Yesterday as a test, I wiped on a small section of Helmsman Spar urethane on my front entry door to see how it looks. This door has been recently stripped down to bare wood and I believe its mahogony. When it dried, it darkened the color of the wood pretty significantly. Is this normal? I thought urethane was suppose to be clear for the most part.
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Oil bases will make the wood darker. they always do afaik
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Water is also clear and darkens wood, but it evaporates. Unlike water, urethane sticks around, which is a characteristic you paid for. The result you got is normal.
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Sneaky trick: Wipe bare wood with mineral spirits. The wood will darken to approximate the look you'll have after applying a non-staining finish like polyurethane. The mineral spirits will evaporate off in a hour or so.
I've yet to find a finish that's truly colorless.
--
Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
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Cool.Thanks. I'll be facing this situation soon with some new interior doors. (#4,108 on the to-do list)
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A water based urethane like, Diamond Varathane Will not darken the wood like a oil base. I installed a hardwood floor and used Diamond on it. I like the look.
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But he need exterior products, the UV protectors usualy give marine products an amber color.
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But he need exterior products, the UV protectors usualy give marine products an amber color.
You are absolutely correct. I should have been paying attention to the subject more closely! Sea fin is a good product for doors
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Test the door with paint thinner first, the panels you showed in the photo need the most work, thinner will let you see if you did the job right. Finishes darken wood
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Mikepier wrote:

way to test the effect of clear finish is to wipe on solvent like mineral spirits - has essentially same effect on color but dries quickly. If I recall, your images of the partially stripped door had a couple of sections that had very light grain. This is common for doors that will be painted, but might be less desirable when you switch to clear finish. If the door will be in strong sun or if the color isn't uniform, I would paint it. What I saw that was stripped looked (mostly) like pretty grain.
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On Thu, 15 May 2008 06:36:56 -0700 (PDT), Mikepier

Usually a finish will darken the wood. To get an idea, wipe a scrap piece with mineral spirits and you will see the wood darkens. You could use water, but water will swell the wood and raise the grain.
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I need to use exterior uethane, plus the door faces west so the sun beats on it all day. If it's normal for the wood to darken I'm ok with it, as long as its protected.
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Mikepier wrote:

Don't get the idea it is protected forever. Any finish needs periodic re-doing and my best suggestion is that you do it *before* it really needs it...light sanding, one coat.
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If it faces the west sun I'd think long and hard about ANY urethane product. I have a solid oak door that I had used the "Super Duper 7-Way Protectant, UV Resistant, Moisture Resistant, etc. etc. etc." After a few years of relentless sun exposure, the finish was peeling, curling, and just downright giving up the fight to protect the wood. I spent an entire day with a Dremel tool sanding all the nooks and crannies to get the last vestiges of the old urethane finish off.
A good friend that spends a lot of time on wood covered boats told me about Deks Olje - an oil finish that dries hard and never needs to be removed - just apply another coat or two every few years. I applied it to the bare wood 10 years ago and with a couple of reapplications along the way, the door looks as good as new. There is a satin finish and a gloss finish available. Easiest finish material I've ever used. Since it is oil, there are no brush strokes or runs to worry about. The wood drinks it up like water, creating a much better bond and barrier. After it dries (a day or two) it is easily washable with water.
Urethane has its place, but heavy exposure to the sun and elements is not its strong suit.
Just my .02 worth.....
Jay

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I agree with the oil paint idea. But, I took a tip from the guy at the hardware store, who's as obsessive about things as I am. I cut a piece of 3/4" ply the size of the door. Removed the door and screwed the plywood to the jamb in its place. Put the door on sawhorses so I could paint it laying flat, doing all the work at eye level. Gave it a full week for the paint to cure, since the time estimates on paint cans are always silly. The finish came out looking like a piano and lasted almost 10 years without any visible wear & tear. I'm sure it helped that it was great paint: Devoe high gloss oil enamel.

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On Thu, 15 May 2008 12:22:10 -0700 (PDT), Mikepier

Mine faces south-west with no overhang. Sometimes in the summer the door gets too hot to the touch. It is a steel door and painted white. It oxidizes badly. I use a light abrasive auto-body grit on it once a year, wax, and buff with an electric auto-buffer. It is best to remove the door and lay it on two saw horses to refinish it.
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