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Old 05-22-2011, 12:30 PM   #1
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Default How best re-stain/paint fiberglass exterior front door?

How best re-stain/paint fiberglass exterior front door?

I have a customer who I am trying to assist for the 2nd year in a row. He purchased a fiberglass prestained (mahogany) a number of years ago.
It gets a lot of sun in the summer. The stain from the manufacturer began to blister. I used some light sand paper to remove the blistered areas. I also cleaned the door throughly. I then used a Minwax gel stain with UV protection and brushed on the mahogany stain. I let it dry completely and a few days later I added 2 more coats, letting it dry in between coats.

I did not add a clear coat on top of this or any marine type of clear coat.

Summer came and the blistering is back, door is dull, you get the idea.....

As you know these kind of fiberglass doors have a wood grain finish made out of fiberglass.

I was thinking that perhaps this year I should forego stain and look for an oil or latex paint that might match the color. My thinking is that it may last longer than the stain. I might have to use an oil base first and then latex but I really do not care as long as it stands up for a few summer sin a row.

Of course I might need to sand and prep the surface first. Not sure if I have to strip all of the existing Minwax stain off the door.

Any comments, product recommendations, techniques are very much welcome

Fiberglass Doors are my weakness

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PC

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Old 05-22-2011, 12:48 PM   #2
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i ve never seen a stain that has uv protection,and i know for a fact gel stain is not uv protected,u have to put a finish over the stain,and a fiberlass door is not going to take stain,it is an issue of protection,sikkens cetol door and trim,stain and tint in one,uv protected and nice finish

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Old 05-22-2011, 01:59 PM   #3
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prime it and paint it or strip it and stain it.


Always clear coat stain doors.
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Old 05-22-2011, 02:07 PM   #4
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Prime with latex and then paint latex?
or prime with oil and paint with oil or latex?

then
Clear coat recommendation?
-----
Or should I try the Cetol 23 plus type color (mahogany or redwood) stain and give it a few coats without a clear coat. I think this has built in UV protection a posted said.

Thanks so much
PC

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prime it and paint it or strip it and stain it.


Always clear coat stain doors.
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Old 05-22-2011, 02:12 PM   #5
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If in doubt for bonding... use oil for primer. I use latex for topcoats.

As per clear coat... marine spar varnish- mcloskys or old masters. Multiple coats.

Many ways to skin a cat. Paint is always easier. Gel stain or any stain for that matter is a bit more time intensive and skilled.
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:12 PM   #6
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Clean and sand, prime with oil tinted with a wood tone and gel stain allow to dry and varnish with coats of spar gloss done that
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:20 PM   #7
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Once a fiberglass door has been coated, especially if paint is used, youn can never make it look as nice as when it was new. Stain just does not take the same as over the raw Fiberglas.
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:21 PM   #8
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[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC82FprZSis"]YouTube - ‪Gel Stain a Fiberglass Door‬‏[/ame]
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Old 05-22-2011, 04:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
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prime it and paint it or strip it and stain it.


Always clear coat stain doors.
Exactly. I've done many of these doors. They prime and paint VERY well and I always encourage that route. Most people buy them however, because they are "stainable" and that's what they want.

If the finish is failing then your best bet is to strip the door back to the original. It's a mess, but it works. If it is to be stained, a gel stain is what is needed. If the manufacturer's base coat is a light beige color the door is made to be stained lighter. If the base is a russet type color then it is made to be stained a darker color. The light base color doors are difficult to stain real dark and have look natural, but many do it.(I usually base coat them to a more appropriate color) They come out pretty good with some experience and practice. You can also order stain kits from Therma-Tru(most likely the manufacturer of the door). The top coat, believe it or not, is usually a high grade waterbourne clear-also available from Therma-Tru. Be sure to wait a couple days before you put the top coat over the gel stain. Do not apply the top coat too heavy or it will be milky over a dark stain. Several thinner coats are better. With this system I have had very good success here in the North East. It is also the system specified by Therma-Tru.

Last edited by CliffK; 05-23-2011 at 04:25 AM..
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Old 05-22-2011, 07:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcumming View Post
Prime with latex and then paint latex?
or prime with oil and paint with oil or latex?

then
Clear coat recommendation?
-----
Or should I try the Cetol 23 plus type color (mahogany or redwood) stain and give it a few coats without a clear coat. I think this has built in UV protection a posted said.

Thanks so much
PC

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Cetol door and window from Sikkens is what you want.
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:26 PM   #11
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Since when do fiberglass doors accept stain?
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:18 AM   #12
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i wouldnt bother trying to touch up one of these doors.

also always let your customer know these doors require maintenance! if it gets sun, id suggest a clearcoat at least every 2 years. i use waterborne clearcoats,,,,a nice THIN coat applied with a brush.

but if the finish is failing ive used 2 different approaches.

first was to strip the door and sidelights,,,this is a huge pain in the butt, considering all of the protecting of adjacent surfaces. but on the bright side,,,,,with all the work it involves i charge about $1300 to strip stain and clear coat a door and sidelights. and of course paint the jambs and reinstall the locksets and brass door kick.

after stripping a bunch of them, i figured id try painting one the base color they come with from the manufacturer,,,,,and then staining it. it worked great. there was no slop to contain from stripping, and was able to hold the cost down for my customer. the only downside is that you couldnt do this many times, as it would eventually fill in the fake grain of the door.

id gladly use either method,,,,although i prefer the less messy of the two.
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:53 AM   #13
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staining fiberglass doors sounds like one of many anomalies in the painting industry..but you can stain fiberglass doors....

I think it is much like learning for years to prime, prime, prime, and then you learn about something like Gardz and it upsets the whole applecart.

I probably would not go thru the hassle of stripping the door...I would do what it takes(oil primer) and put it back into latex paint.. I think it would look better than a stain with a clear coat...as that looks pretty on real wood, not imitation grain/fiberglass door. and you are using solid stain-no?

I just went thru the pain of a curve ball accident having to strip doors and it was a painful process, and messy, and time consuming......

I would strip a door if it had promising beauty that I could uncover and enhance.....other than that....a door as you described needs alot of yearly or every couple of year TLC.

just my thought process.
also seeing projects makes a big difference in decision making and what the customer wants to spend and willing to spend based on described methodologies.
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:02 AM   #14
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We have a project to price out for these fiberglass doors where the last time the stained doors were redone, they were primed a base color, stained, and then clear coated but the primer is failings and the doors are all bubbling. Some were "fixed" by sanding down the entire door and primed, stained, and cleared. The effect looks more like a distressing glaze than faux wood though. Now, those doors have lost 80% of the grain texture and will not look like wood ever again. Maybe with a full strip.
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Old 05-23-2011, 04:43 PM   #15
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How do these doors look good painted with a faux wood grain? Wouldn't that show up and look Funky
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:55 PM   #16
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Prime, stain, clear? If fiberglass doors accept stain why would you prime? Does the stain penetrate the primer coat?
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Old 05-24-2011, 05:27 AM   #17
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Prime, stain, clear? If fiberglass doors accept stain why would you prime? Does the stain penetrate the primer coat?
Your not using a penetrating stain, it's a gel stain. It's more or less a "faux" finish of sorts, but it is how these doors are marketed and sold and it's seems to be what the consumers are sold on. Up close they look pretty fake to someone who has any insights or experience with finishing wood, but from a ways a way they look ok if they are done well.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:37 AM   #18
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I did one of these doors a few years ago and it still looks pretty good. I bought the kit from therma-tru and it had the stain and topcoat in the box. As has already been stated, strip the door using chemical stripper and use a stiff bristle brush to clean out the grain. I actually took the door off the hinges put the stripper on and then power washed it off. that worked pretty good. DO NOT SAND! Sanding will remove or damage the wood grain and then it'll never look right. you also have to make sure that whatever stripper you use won't take the gel coat off the fiberglass. I have some pics of the door I did, and I'll try to remember to put them up when I get home today.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:44 AM   #19
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has this become a d.i.y forum?

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