Archive for October, 2009

Staining a Fiberglass Door

How to stain a Fiberglass door

Calgary South Decorating and SouthPointe Paint & Decor recommend Old Masters gel stain for easiest of use and best results. Old Masters is able to provide you with a richer and more vibrant colour however it is always important to remember that composite wood surfaces don’t nearly absorb as much as wood so therefore expect that the color may be a shade or so lighter than the manufactures sample.

Now for some of the steps that will help the job go smoother

  • Always try to work in a dust free, well ventilated area
  • If at all possible, remove the door and lay flat on sawhorses if you can.
  • Remove all hardware, weather stripping, and door knobs, and if you can’t remove it, mask it!
  • Be sure to trim, and or scrape away any factory sealant seeping out between the window trim and glass.
  • Clean the door with a mild detergent, rinse thoroughly or wipe down with a dampened with mineral spirits if it is not soiled heavily. Allow to dry.
  • Fill and sand any holes scrapes, dings with appropriate filler.
  • Never apply out in direct sunlight, when surface temperature exceeds those recommended by the manufacturer.
  • If there is wood sides, a light sanding and than applying a sanding sealer will keep them from going much darker than the front and back of the door.

As well before you begin it is always handy to have the following supplies:

  • Natural bristle brushes
  • Mineral spirits
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Foam brushes
  • Gloves
  • Lint free rags
  • Heavy paper towels
  • Gel stain
  • Good quality exterior polyurethane
  • Safety glasses

When staining a door it is also important to do a test sample if at all possible, to ensure colour satisfaction. This is often done on the top edge, hinge edge or bottom edge. Once again if a sample isn’t done, be forewarned the color will most likely be lighter than the sample provided by the manufacturer.

As always it is important to follow manufacturer’s recommendations with the use of their products.

First off

  • Stir the stain well. This is important to ensure product colour and consistency.
  • Using a two inch foam brush, apply a liberal coat of stain to one of the raised panels. Be sure to work the stain well into the embossed grain pattern. Be sure to get the product into all corners and crevices.
  • With a clean rag, carefully remove the excess stain from the area coated. Wiping in the direction of the grain flow but be careful not to pull all the stain from the grain embossed in the fiberglass.
  • Remove any lap marks or streaks by gently brushing with the bristle brush, feathering in any areas to blend it all naturally.
  • Repeat this step for all the raised panels than do the verticals between the raised panels, than the horizontals and finally the two outer edges.


Controlling the color.

  • One way to control the colour is by adjusting the amount of colour you apply. When you apply more, it will become darker, less lighter. A key thing to remember is that you can always apply more. However if it is too dark it can be rectified but it is a little tougher. What you do is simply wipe the door down with a rag soaked in the solvent recommend by the manufacturer. In the case of Old Masters Gel Stain that would be Mineral Spirits.
  • Be sure you are satisfied with the colour before proceeding to applying the topcoat. Once the topcoat is applied, refinishing the stain can become quite difficult.


Protecting your door.

  • Wait at least 8 hours and sometimes up to 24 hours depending on drying conditions before top coating your door.
  • Referring to the directions on the can of polyurethane you are using, apply a minimum to two coats in the same sequence as the stain application.
  • Make sure if it is the exterior of the door, a premium grade exterior clear coat is used.


Important: when using oil soaked rags there is always a chance for spontaneous combustion if left piled up in a warm place. Store rags in a tightly sealed container filled with water, or hang up/lay flat to dry and than dispose.

Gel Stains Versus Penetrating Stains

One of the questions I am often asked when it comes to interior stains is what is the difference between Gel and penetrating stains? In order to answer that question it is first best to understand some fundamental differences between the two products. Gel stains, when applied, actually lie on the top surface of the wood and provide a whole lot of colour, whereas penetrating stains need to do exactly that, penetrate into the wood and as a result tend not to provide as much colour. Easy as that! conversation done……. not quite so fast… is it all you need to know? Not at all. First let us talk about how that effects the different types of woods. Some species of wood such as pine, maple, birch are relatively non porous on the surface. When you try to use penetrating stains on these surfaces the color tends to go blotchy. What is happening here is the wood is absorbing the stain unevenly so some areas drink it up and it turns dark and splotchy whereas other areas are more dense and these areas do not absorb nearly as much so they remain quite light. This is where a gel stain will excel simply because it does not need to soak in, it will just lie on the surface, so uneven absorbtion will not be an issue. So why wouldn’t we just use Gel stain all the time than? A drawback to gel stains is that by just lying on the surface they have a tendancy to obscure the grain of the wood. Now in some applications this might be fine, however in other applications this might take away from the project. On woods that have an even porosity, such as oak, ash, and mahogany, penetrating stains are superb for sinking in and creating that real sense of depth. Now there is also products on the market such as wood conditioners. What these products do is sink in and seal the wood at a specific depth, thereby preventing some of the stronger spikes of colors from occuring. Gel stains are easier to use on vertical surfaces but are not good for particularly ornate wood where the gel can get caught in all the nook and crannies. Gel stains are also very effective for staining new fibreglass doors and other simulated wood surfaces. This process is also featured on it’s own in a seperate blog under the title of “Fibreglass Doors.” One of the most important things that can never be stressed enough is that when staining wood, every piece of wood will stain differently. This in my opinion is the natural beauty of wood. Different species of wood stain differently, different cuts from the same log will stain differently. It is always important to do a test sample before staining wood to ensure what the final color will be! As well it is always important too follow the manufactures directions for cleanup, application and disposal of used wiping cloths.

Can I try that colour on my wall first before committing?

Paper swatches are the perfect place to start and begin the process of narrowing down your choice; however nothing will show you exactly how it’s going to look accept the actual paint itself. Where the problem starts is how the paint chips are manufactured, they are made using printers ink to show an approximate rendition of the colour. Than of course lighting factors in. Lighting from the paint store versus lighting from your home will always vary so it is important to see the colour at different times throughout the day under varying conditions.
With over 2000 samples in stock and two sizes to choose from, SouthPointe Paint & Decor and Calgary South Decorating have the testers and tools you need to make the most informed decision!

2 Ounce Liquid Color Samples

Benjamin Moore 2 Ounce Paint Samples

SouthPointe Paint and Decor & Calgary South Decorating

Need a paper swatch? Absolutely, we have those available for you, but with our tester program, you can now explore all your colour choice ideas like never before.
Avoid the “not quite right” colour syndrome and find the perfect Benjamin Moore colour at SouthPointe Paint & Decor and Calgary South Decorating today!