Please help me with fiberglass door

anncarolynAugust 23, 2008

About 5 years ago, I had a new fiberglass front door(etched glass) with sidelights installed. It was not stained at the factory so I had the installer to stain it before he put it up. The stain and polyurathene (?) is now cracking and peeling. It looks really bad. Can I strip or very lightly sand the unit and stain it again? Has anyone ever done this? I have tried some gel stripper on a piece of the fiberglass the company gave me and it did not seem to hurt the wood look of the door. Also, if I can get all this mess off, what kind of stain and poly should I use so this will not happen again. Or, (Last Choice) should I just paint the unit? Please help, I can see this is going to be a BIG job for this little girl!

Thanks,

Carolyn

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randy427

I would contact the manufacturer about stripping and the type of stain, but it will most probably be a gel type for both. With trial and error, and a lot of patience, you will develop your technique.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 8:10PM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

Never sand a fiberglass door skin!

You can strip it and remove residue with synthetic pad. Wipe down with mineral spirits several times and allow to dry.

Gel Stain or Paint to refinish.

You'll need time and patience. Remove the door from jamb to refinish.

Michael

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 7:11AM
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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 25, 2012 at 10:06AM
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Jumpilotmdm

Paint it. If you want a door that looks like wood on the outside, buy a wood door.
NEVER sand a fiberglass door. You won't like the result.

good luck!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 1:42PM
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HandyMac

Stains have to sink into the material to which they are applied, or they become really bad paint.

I am not aware of a stain made for polished fiberglass.

Gel stains are simply modified paint---and a poor one at that.

Adding spar varnish to a material with basically a bad paint job means you get exactly what you got.

Spar varnish is designed for wood application. Itb vis designed to be flexible, so the wood movement will mnot crack the finish rapidly. UV additives have to be added for additional protection.

So, basically, you used products designed for wood on a non wood surface. Sadly, you are not the only one caught in that situation.

Go to a real paint store--I favor Sherwin Williams. Tell them what happened and take their advice.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 1:45PM
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geoff_nc

Handymac, that Sikkens product I referenced above is made specifically for fiberglass doors, check it out.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 4:23PM
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HandyMac

That Sikkens product is not a stain, it is a clear finish that can be colored.

You can get much the same protection using a #4(or #5 with some brands) deep tint base paint----which dries clear when used without adding color.

They are decent solutions for painting doors, but they are not stains.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:19AM
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geoff_nc

Maybe Sikkens is not technically a stain however it comes in a handful of colors and it requires no topcoat. I bought a mahogany color and it definitely is not clear! My door looks fabulous now. I've uploaded a picture that can be found at the link, below. Can't figure out how people are able to embed images in the body of their post here.

Before I found out about Sikkens I did ask a few paint store employees about using deep tint base instead of varnish as I had read about that here some time back and they looked at me like I had two heads. They dissuaded me from trying that approach.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:39AM
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