How to Finsh a Fiberglass Entry Door
LESLIE: Out in Florida, Timmy’s got fiberglass doors on his mind. What can we do for you?
TIMMY: Well, I’ve got – I bought this door and it’s fiberglass and it’s black (inaudible) leaded glass; a real nice door. And the problem is I don’t know how to finish it because we didn’t get it in a – it’s not pre-hung because of my – I didn’t want to rip out all my door jambs because of where the door is located.
TIMMY: So I got the door – just the door. And the outside edge is wood and it’s – but it’s fiberglass. And I’m – it’s been laying on these two sawhorses for about a couple of months because I’m not really sure how to finish it and seal up the wood.
TOM: Does it have a graining to it? Or does it have a – is it smooth?
TIMMY: Yeah, it’s got a grain. It’s made to look like wood.
TOM: Well, there’s a couple of things that you can do. First of all, know that you’re only doing this for cosmetic reasons. You don’t need to, you know, stain it for structural reasons because it’s plastic; it’s fiberglass.
TOM: But if you’re going to paint it, then I want you to use a primer first and then a regular topcoat. Would you rather see it to be stained?
TIMMY: I would rather see it stained. I’d like to have it match some trim work I did …
TOM: You want to go – there’s a number of different fiberglass door manufacturers out there. There’s JELD-WEN – J-E-L-D-W-E-N. There’s Therma-Tru – T-h-e-r-m-a-T-r-u. And they’re going to – they have stain kits for fiberglass doors because the staining material itself is different than the actual stain that you would use for wood.
TOM: And the difference is that wood stain has a lot of pigment in it. But the fiberglass door stains have very little pigment in it. And it looks real good. It has just enough pigment to give you the differentiation in the colors, but not enough to look muddy. You follow me?
TOM: Because it’s not absorbent. You can’t use a standard …
LESLIE: It just sits on top.
TOM: Yeah. And it looks sticky.
TIMMY: And you layer it like you do regular stain, to get it darker so you can adjust the shade?
TOM: No, you actually buy the physical color that you want.
TOM: And it will have a little bit of deflection but it’s not as much as wood. OK? It’s not like you put on multiple coats.
TIMMY: (overlapping voices) What about the wood on the outside.
TOM: Then that you can probably simply stain with the same material or, if it turns out too light, you could use a tad – a bit of wood stain on that. Just mask off the other edges.
TOM: And then, you know, once you’re done with the wood stain, you can put a layer of polyurethane just on the wood – on the wood edge itself. But the reason that wood is there – because that gives you the ability to adjust it a bit. You know, you can sand it, you can plane it and make it fit. But remember, the key of the fiberglass stain is to use one that’s designed just for fiberglass and not for wood; otherwise, it’s just not going to look right. OK?
LESLIE: And Tim, remember, when you’re working with the wood surfaces around the door, if you’re trying to layer stain and match up a stain to the – whatever fiberglass stain color you’re going to get, if you buy a stain that’s either a gel stain or something that already has the finish mixed into it, don’t do it. Because if you try to layer one layer over another to get a deeper color – especially if it has a finish built into it – it’s not going to layer properly and it’s going to look very muddy as well. So make sure you buy the proper thing if you’re trying to layer to get a good color.
TOM: I would go direct to the door manufacturers because it’s not going to be one that you’re going to find over the counter, so to speak.
Tim, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.