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Question DetailsAsked on 5/6/2014

I did Gel Stain on my fiber-glass front doors last weekend but it was very patchy. Help!

I tried to use mineral spirit to remove some darker area but it is to hard to get that stuff off. Any professional help available? How about sanding off the darker area a bit. But for non-flat area like the frame, I may not be able to send down uniformly...

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1 Answer


Ouch - stains have to be able to penetrate the material to work, and fiberglass allows penetration between the fibers, but not into them - so you will get a very patchy job if you use it like a stain, rather than as a paint. I suspect your issue is you rubbed it out like you would with wood, so you got dark streaking in the low spots between the fibers and almost nothing sticking to the high spots.

Assuming you wiped the excess off and it truly dried (did not stay tacky), you have three choices.

1) All may not be lost - if you want it darker, or can accept it darker, restain - treating the stain like a paint - not wiping off the excess after sponging or brushing or ragging it on. Read a couple of the articles or watch videos at search results below.

2) strip off with chemical stripper (being careful it does not lift and fuzz the fiberglass, which will have to sanded if it does) and not getting the stripped into the edges, as some fiberglass is glued on over wood or foam which can dissolve, then priming with a pre-stain sealer/primer ot get uniform "take", then staining essentially the primer. Can produce OK results with very dark stains, but basically you are staining the primer and the only "grain" you will see is the roughness in the fiberglass - the fake wood grain, and the primer will reduce that. Be sure the primer/sealer is for use before staining and includes fiberglass doors as recommended use - these are thinner primers than paint primers, so the grain does not fill in as much.

3) strip, or not strip - and prime with an oil based paint primer, then paint over that. If the gel coat was pretty well wiped out thin, stripping is probably not necessary, but I would go with a primer from the same manufacturer to be on the safe side, and definitely oil primer. OF course, this gets you a painted rather than stained door.

4) assuming yours is a wood grain door, I would recommned against sanding - you will get some areas with grain, some with glass and it will look blotchy from a distance.

If you use a stripper, protect surrounding paint and flooring VERY well, do not let any get on steps or porch, and keep it off any rubber or plastic weatherstripping or seals, and remove knobs and locks and hinges if possible, as it can remove the brass or nickel or whatever plating on them.

You can google this search phrase for more info on how to stain a fiberglass door - can you stain a fiberglass door . Minwax, Varathane, Zar and others also have guides on their websites on how to do this.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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