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Old 07-19-2013, 08:24 AM   #1
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


I building a house and got a fiberglass door installed for the main entrance. I like the wood finish when stained.

My house is getting painted right now and they painted the door moka matching the garage doors.

I was not pleased when I saw it. I find it looks like a metal door. I would of saved me a grand to just get a metal door... I called my contractor to talk about it and he told my his painter doesn't like to stain them anymore because the finish doesn't last as long as paint.

Is this true ? What would you guys do.

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Old 07-19-2013, 08:50 AM   #2
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


I think he should have asked first.
Not much you can do about now I guess.
A whole lot simpler to have done touch up with a gel stain, with paint it's going to be a pain.

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Old 07-19-2013, 09:45 AM   #3
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


I would say just the opposite.

A stained door better be more than just a gel, it needs a top coat. And is a but of an artistic feat to get them to be really nice.
But the top clears will all have problems with long time sun, and will need to be redone. Far from impossible- but will need more attention sooner than a good paint.

Redoing paint- painters do it every day...
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:51 AM   #4
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


Yeah I called my Contractor and he convinced me it was the right decision. The painters here refuse to do it now (in Canada rough winters). Too many call backs 2 years later. The stain last 2 years and starts to peal off.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:01 AM   #5
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


I was a rep for Stanley/Masonite doors for 7 years. Nothing worse than seeing a 3 year od stained door look like crap. They are more maintence if stained. you MUST put a coat of polyurethane on any stained door facing south or west at least every three years. Once you can see fading...it's a nightmare to correct. Paint the exterior and stain the interior and you will be good for 10 to 15 years.
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:28 PM   #6
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


We had a brand new fiberglass door stained to look like wood. It looked very nice but didnt' last but 2 years or so before it began to peel/flake...we had it stripped and painted so I wouldn't have to worry about recoating every couple of years.

Obviously I wouldn't have stained had I known.

Hope this helps
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:15 PM   #7
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


Staining a fiberglass door is only the beginning of the process. After I do my art work on the door I apply three coats of an exterior acrylic poly spar varnish. I’ve gone back two to three years later to see how they are holding up and they look great. It’s the varnish that protects the door, not the stain. Keep the door clean by washing it twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall using Murphy’s Oil Soap.

The fiberglass door finishes fail because people buy the staining kit from the manufacturer, there is only enough varnish in the kit to do one coat. This is the problem. Acrylic products have proven to be far superior to oil base varnishes. You must remember if you stain the door it is now for all practical purposes a wood door. Yes paint may last longer unattended but lacks the character of wood.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:33 AM   #8
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


this had me changing my mind about the same fiberglass door we hope to buy in a year or so. Always wanted stained, but then seeing all the comments before Steve's convinced me to paint. Now seeing Steve's comment makes me wonder of the best acrylic varnish to use

How many years can you expect a stained and properly varnished door to last on a Northern front door?
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:43 AM   #9
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


I concur with Brush Jockey and others who say that the problems lie in using a clear coat on an exterior. Two to three years is the maximum life, Something that is known in the paint industry is this: "All stain jobs eventually get painted."

Yes, I think your painter should have consulted with you, but he just saved you several years of miserable work IMHO.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:53 AM   #10
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


Quote:
Originally Posted by DIY-Her View Post
this had me changing my mind about the same fiberglass door we hope to buy in a year or so. Always wanted stained, but then seeing all the comments before Steve's convinced me to paint. Now seeing Steve's comment makes me wonder of the best acrylic varnish to use

How many years can you expect a stained and properly varnished door to last on a Northern front door?
A door facing North or in the North? Or both as you already hinted at severe climate changes. Storm door over the front of it too? It actually faces so the sun bakes it a good portion of the day.

Too many variables to give you good prediction. At the end of the day, you are talking about a finish on essentially a plastic resin product. Even with one of the newer plastic primers, things heat up and cool rapidly. The best of paint and clear coat products get stretched to the limits.

I will be interested to see what people recommend. I have been known to turn to aircraft, marine or autobody clear coats. Whether even they will stand up to a large slab of fiberglass material baking inside a storm door, I do not know.

I gave up on fiberglass doors and shifted to talking clients into wood ones. Pricey but they do not seem to experience the same finish issues.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:13 AM   #11
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


oops, sorry, meant facing North, our back of the house is facing South.
We put in a wood pine door in our previous house, my husband did the install of the door and hardware. Before he installed it, I did the staining and poly of probably 4 coats. We lived there after that from 1990 to 95 and the door seemed fine, although we did have a glass storm door to protect it and no straight harsh sun on the front.

The door we have now is from the new house in 95, so hitting on 19 yo. Trying to do things now that will last without a huge amount of maintenance in our later 50's and plan to be here at least another 15 years.

Frank didn't mention either if he had a storm door to protect the new front door?
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:16 AM   #12
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


do wood doors seem to expand in heat more than fiberglass? we currently have a steel door and hate anytime it gets nicked, or dented, I can't do anything to really repair it easy like you would if it was wood. Have never repaired fiberglass before.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:38 AM   #13
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


I think the problem is using poly. Once poly begins to show ill effects about the only solution is sanding all the way down and a do over. We have always used spar varnish when it starts to show the same effects all that is needed is a rough sand and apply a new coat. Spar is designed for the very roughest weather and conditions I have found it to work a lot better than poly which I have found hard to use and almost impossible to repair.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:40 PM   #14
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Hey DIY-Her,

There are a few companies that make an acrylic exterior spar, the one I like most is General Finishes www.generalfinishes.com. It’s their “Exterior 450", it comes in satin, semi-gloss or gloss. If you don’t feel confident in your brushing skills I wouldn’t recommend it. It drys extremely fast and some thought needs to dictate your approach. If you do it right the finish will outlast any oil base varnish.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:35 PM   #15
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Fiberglass door paint vs stain


thanks Steve looks like a furniture store 10 mins from me sells their product. Surprised I haven't heard of it yet since I've been refinishing some of my furniture at least for the past 35 years. Wonder if their product would be good for my painted kitchen cabinets as an extra coat of protection

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