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Rives, Tennessee

Byars Painting

Getting Your Foot in the Door
Faux graining exterior doors in humid conditions

In the finished faux grain project, the metal door looks like wood.

Every climate has its challenges, and where Monty Byars works in west Tennessee comes with its own special weather to encourage him toward some creative solutions. “The challenges with these doors is at lower temperatures especially that solvent entrapment can occur leading to hazing of the door unit if varnish is applied too soon. This occurs because the material is cured well underneath the varnish and until it evaporates outwardly the hazing is present. This does ultimately resolve with no ill effects to the finish. The sanding sealer reduction is also critical to the faster drying speed to eliminate this,” he said. Byars responds by tweaking the very minimal sanding sealer reduction in the stain mixture; the more humidity, the hotter the sealer reduction to accelerate the drying process.

The temperature is key also. “I don’t like doing these when the temperature is under 50 degrees,” he said. “If the temperature is cooler, the sealer reduction has to be a little hotter. It can be a bit tricky because wind will accelerate it even on cooler days. If you’ve already started the project and the wind picks up, it can add a degree of difficulty, but it is still manageable.”

Choice of products matters to him as well. “I am a stickler about Zinsser Cover Stain Oil-Base Primer being my go-to for the base coat before the faux grain application,” he says. “I use ZAR stains for the faux grain and ZAR Exterior Polyurethane for topcoats, both solvent based.”

Byars acknowledges he doesn’t work “by the book,” but he often contributes some spellbinding chapters.

“The technique I use, while self-taught, is not the mainstream way of doing faux grain as far as the material end of it. It has an old-school flare and a ‘seat of your pants’ feel about it that I like,” he said. “When I start a unit, the first panel sets the tone for what the next one will look like. I prefer this process because it makes every door unit unique.

It’s this originality, combined with skill and know-how, that wins Byars a TOP JOB award for 2022.

This metal door was dark green before the project began.
One panel completed against a primed background.
Byars shows off his arsenal of products, including coatings, applicators and sundries, used for the projects.
The new look of the door adds significantly to the curb appeal.


Monty Byars

Key Products

  • Zinsser Cover Stain
  • ZAR stains and exterior polyurethane