If your fiberglass door is looking worn, is faded from sun exposure, or is damaged, you don't have to replace it. Fiberglass doors can be stained or painted by a novice DIY, but the project requires patience. Here are tips to refinish a fiberglass entry door.
Prepare to Work
For this project, you need:
- work gloves
- safety goggles
- breathing apparatus
- liquid soap
- wool sponge
- wire brush
- Philips screwdriver
- painter's tape tarp or plastic
- fine, medium, and coarse sandpaper
- clear lacquer
- pain thinner or mineral spirits
- paint brushes or roller
- stain or primer and paint
Lay tarp or plastic over areas you don't want touched by refinishing materials. Open windows for ventilation, or move the door to a ventilated area, if possible.
Use the screwdriver to detach the door handle screws and door knockers. Detach the door hinges, and transfer the door to a flat work surface—laid across two saw horses is ideal. Laying the door on the floor may keep the finish from drying properly.
Remove the Old Finish
Cover hinges with painter's tape. Wash the door with a cloth and liquid soap. Rinse, and let the door dry.
Dip a brush in paint thinner or mineral spirits and remove the old finish. A stripping agent may be used to remove the finish. Check the manufacturer's instructions, if you choose a stripping agent. Use a wire brush to remove the finish from scroll work.
Sand the entire door with coarse sandpaper, then sand again with medium and fine sandpaper. Use the cloth to remove sand dust.
Buy primer that is compatible with fiberglass, such as urethane, epoxy, and latex. Any oil-based paint works best since it can withstand the elements. Etching primer isn't suited for fiberglass.
Apply a coat of primer with a paint brush or roller brushing in direction of the grain and let it dry. Follow up with another layer of primer.
Don't paint in direct sun, or the paint may harden too quickly. Brush on a thin coat of paint and let it dry. Brush on another thin layer.
Check for recommended stains. Rub on the stain using a clean cloth, and move in a circular motion beginning from the middle. Apply the stain in small sections.
Check for overlaps. An overlap could result in dark lines. If you find overlaps, gently go over the lapped area with a paint brush. Let the stain dry for twenty-four hours, and add a clear lacquer to protect the finish.
Reinstall the door after it completely dries. Your door should look new again. If you don't trust your skill, or the door is seriously damaged, and you think it's time for a new door, contact a professional.