Fiberglass front door staining problem; any suggestions?

spf5209July 16, 2011

Has this happened to anyone else out there? Builder sends us to the Therma Tru web site where we build a couple of different Fiberclassic Oak front doors with different glass/side lights, etc., and we get quotes back. Of course, the one we like the most is a $900 upcharge, but that's ok, we go with that one. Now that it is time to finalize the order and we have chosen a specific stain color, we are told it is an additional $1,200 to stain the door at the factory (above the $900 upcharge) because of the need to gel stain fiberglass. All of the pictures in the Therma Tru brochure and the door we selected on the web site show a door that looks like a finished wood door in an oak-brown color, so we assumed that was what we were getting as part of the original selection and just needed to decide on a color. Were we just dumb/naive?

At this point our options are to have it painted with no additional costs, pay the $1,200, or stain it ourselves after installation. Has anyone else had this problem with the Fiberclassic Oak doors? Has anyone done their own staining with the gel stain from Therma Tru? Any other advice?

Thanks!

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GatorAlum

We chose a Therma Tru door also and it has come unstained. Our floor guy will stain it after he does the floors, using a Therma Tru stain color (English Walnut)-- this is definitely a less expensive option.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 9:11PM
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bigey326

I have stained two Therma Tru Classic Craft entry doors with the light oak stain. I actually just did the second door about a month ago. It is very easy to do just read the directions carefully and watch the enclosed DVD. I am not a painter but i do consider some what handy. I would DEFINITELY not pay an additional $1200 to have it factory coated. When we bought our doors we found by selecting the stained glass look verses the clear glass increases the price considerably. We opted for clear glass and love it. A $900 upcharge sounds a little bit steep to me. Good luck with your decision.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 1:09PM
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spf5209

Thanks for the replies.

bigey - We have done doors before, but I was concerned after reading about problems others have had staining fiberglass. I'm not as worried about the door as I am the sidelights and transom. Did you do those as well or just the door?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 3:29PM
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brickeyee

"I was concerned after reading about problems others have had staining fiberglass. "

The 'stain 'in this case is just thinned out paint, and application is everything.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 3:40PM
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stayn2busy

We ordered our fiberglass front doors from Therma Tru as well as the gel stain for the "mahogany" doors. I ended up getting the whole staining kit from Therma Tru as I didn't want to take the chance of messing anything up. I had never stained anything, but watched the DVD, read the directions and did it. It turned out a little darker than I was wanting, but that is because my DH decided to help me. Well, his staining was darker than mine, so I had to make mine darker. I would recommend just one person doing it and it's definitely not worth $1200 for the company to do it. It really wasn't that hard to do. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 4:10PM
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senator13

I would also Google your question. Upon some other forum threads, we actually decided to stain ours with the Old Master's gel stain, instead of the Therma Tru.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 10:29PM
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spf5209

Thanks for all the feedback. We were able to get our painter to do it for $400, which is reasonable and will maintain the work flow. I guess we are still naive about what these vendors are able to charge in this market. I would have thought they would be happy to have the business, but sometimes I can't help but feel like a mark.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:24PM
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geoff_nc

Too late to help now but maybe someone else will benefit. I gel stained my Pella fiberglass entry door 6.5 years ago and it looked great! Used Minwax gel stain and their spar varnish, as directed by Pella. However, it did not stand up to weather at all. It chipped and had to be varnished again every 6 months. This Spring it chipped all the way through to the fiberglass and pulled stain with it! Believe me, I did everything properly. My door faces south east and has no roof. But a neighbor whose fiberglass door faces north had the same trouble - he used the same products as I.

My neighbor got disgusted and stripped his down to fiberglass and restained it with Sikkens products 3 years ago. No trouble since. Sikkens makes a Door and Window stain that does not require varnish over top.

Fortunately for me, just before I started stripping about 36 layers of varnish off my door, it delaminated! Pella brought me a new unfinished slab (under warranty) and I'm using Sikkens to stain it.

I've been told the varnish is the trouble. It's like putting a sheet of glass against the door, trapping the heat. Plus it isn't flexible enough to expand and contract. If I put up a storm door to protect it, the problem would've been worse due to trapped heat. Sikkens is specifically made for fiberglass doors. I don't have any vested interests in the company but thought I'd try to help the next guy...

Here is a link that might be useful: Sikkens Door and Window stain

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 11:06AM
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joyce_6333

We have a Therma Tru door (8' oak with mission glass on top) and the painter did a horrible, horrible job. We had him redo it twice, and it just got worse. I'm wondering how much work it is to strip it down and redo it myself. I am quite certain he didn't use gel stain. He also did our three other exterior doors, and they are also bad. This is a close up picture of our back door. This door was also redone twice.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 3:45PM
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millworkman

When he refinished the doors did he strip them or just go over the previous finish?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 5:27PM
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