You are here:

Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/recurring 'milky' finish on garage door


I have a cedar garage door that is approximately 5 years old-new construction. The door was professionally stained and finished. About a year ago my wife applied a quality furniture polish to the surface as it is was dulling. Then the surface started turning a milky colour. I then applied a mixture of boiled linseed oil,lemon juice and turpentine which gave it a beautiful finish for a few months.

Now it is quite milky and I'm not sure what's causing this-See attached photos garage door 1&2- because it appears mainly on the lower part of the door. (Note: Man door photo attached is same wood and current look).

Before I take the next step,I'd like a professional opinion. I'd prefer not use any harsh chemicals to remove the white substance and intended to apply a professional grade varnish without sanding, and re-staining.

Your comments and recommendations would be GREATLY appreciated.

Hey Tom, I do not see the pic's attached for some reason,.....but what you're experiencing is most likely water damage from exposure and splash up on the bottom area of the doors.Cedar is very soft and resinous, and it typically should not be finished with a varnish or surface type finish like that as a general rule, as it will inevitably break down and start to fail, and when it does, it presents a problematic scenario to fix.A furniture polish should not be applied to an exterior surface, and straight boiled Linseed oil is an outdated and poor choice as well, as it also breaks down and darkens with age.Depending on the finish thats been applied on there, you'll likely have to remove it in order to do a lasting and durable job, and again, with Cedar this is a problem because it's so's difficult to work with in terms of removing old finishes, etc. A penetrating modified oil finish is a decent choice, but it's not advised over an existing finish, unless it's the SAME type. They never chip, flake, etc...and they can be reapplied, but they will also darken Cedar pretty substantially....please post back and try to get the pics to upload-regards-Greg

Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Greg Scholl


Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects, Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings, wood species recognition and usage,tool recommendations, blade types and recommendation,techniques and methods for many Woodworking related issues, etc.


Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.) Sold, built, serviced, setup Home, Industrial, and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools , provided knowledge, parts replacement, service, and on site service, Trade show Demo, and training as well.

Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002) ...("27 year compilation of expert know-how")

Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars from major Tool manufacturers, Skil/Bosch, Delta, Powermatic, Ritter, Porter cable, Milwaukee, Dewalt/B&Decker, Performax.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT. (the Antiques capital of CT.), Golden Age of Trucking Museum,Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies. For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]