Applying gel stain to a fiberglass door

kristine_2009February 25, 2011

My mother recently purchased a woodgrain fiberglass door and would like me to help her stain it. Is there any particular gel stain that works better than others? She would like it to be a burgandy/ mohagany color. I found these instructions online

Does that cover pretty much what I need to know? I have used general finishes gel stain on furniture before with good results, but have not done a door. My mother is quite picky, so I want to do a good job. ;) Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Hello Kristine_2009,

My name is Christine and I work in the paint department at The Home Depot in Atlanta. I love gel stains! Using it for your door will work out really well for you.

The instructions that you have are spot on. Just follow them closely and your mom will have a new looking door in a jiffy!

Happy staining,

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 12:16PM
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In my opinion, this is one of the hardest DIY projects you can do. I don't even know many painters that can do it well. It will depend on how picky you's easy to smear stain on the door and call it done, but if you are wanting it looking like a real wood door, then this may take a lot of practice or you may want to hire someone. You can try a panel and wipe the stain right off though if you don't like it.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 2:56PM
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I would recommend using two colors of stain, a second coat that's a dark brown over a redder first coat, to give some depth; fiberglass isn't wood, so the door with just one coat of stain will be very flat-looking. A second coat treated like a glaze (left heavier in corners and moldings) is going to give a richer appearance. I do this on wood doors, so I think it's all the more important to do on synthetic.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 4:45PM
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Please keep us informed on how the gel stain works out.
I have new fiberglass doors with the wood grain texture. The painters used Zar dark stain on the inside and paint on the outside surfaces. Both are wearing off after about a year. Both of the outside surfaces are in protected areas (under a roof).

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 6:27PM
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ZAR stain would still be my first choice here.

Which exact Zar stain-series were you using?
What exact type/brand of topcoats are on the Zar side?
* There's no real reason the Zar stain would be coming off, though it does have to be coated with a sealant, like any stain would.
* Assuming a good, cleaned door, and a good topcoat system, that Zar should be serving a decade or more.
* Uncoated...yes....It'll wear off way too soon. Like ANY stain-only surface would.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 10:51PM
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The label says
Premium Quality
oil-based wood stain
multi-surface formula

I can't read the instructions because they're covered with the stain.
Don't know if the painters put a topcoat on it. Assuming they didn't, what should I use?

Thanks to the OP for asking the question!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 8:41AM
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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 11:10AM
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Paint the outside, stain the inside. If you want a beautiful Mahogany door look, go buy a Mahogany door. Fiberglass is a great product but they almost never look good on the outside [stained] after just a few years, even in a protected entrance.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Mahogany doors are wonderful to look at but I definitely would not put a wooden door on my house because the front faces south and there is no porch roof. Fiberglass is a better choice for exposed doors, I think. Like I said, if you avoid gel stain and go with something like Sikkens, you can have your cake and eat it too.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 4:18PM
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