Fiberglass doors are hard-wearing, but not even fiberglass exterior doors are completely maintenance-free. You will already have stained and finished them and fitted suitable hardware, but the material can become weathered and faded over time. There are several solutions to this problem, and anyone with any DIY knowledge should be able to complete the task of preventing the doors from fading by following these simple steps.
Step 1 - Strip the Fiberglass Exterior Doors
When you wish to apply a new coat of stain or topcoat to a fiberglass door, you will first need to perform some cleaning of the door. The first thing to be done is to apply a specific fiberglass cleaning fluid, which will help to strip off the topcoat and stain. Once this has been done, wash the door thoroughly using dish soap and a wet sponge. Wash again with clean water, and then dry off using a towel, or leave to dry naturally.
Step 2 - Add the Stain
The stain is the most important tool in the prevention of fading. Too much stain can make a fiberglass door look heavy and unattractive, but too little stain can lead to excessive fading. You need to apply the stain in even, regular strokes which should all travel in one direction, ie up and down, in order to give the effect of wood. Don't allow your paintbrush to dip too far into the wood, or you will be painting a thick sludge onto your door. Leave the stain to dry thoroughly before continuing.
Step 3 - Add Topcoat
The topcoat is also a vital element in keeping the doors bright. You should apply at least three layers of topcoat, and five will probably give more protection against the elements. Apply each layer in long, regular brush strokes, rather than short, rapid ones, and keep the coat thin, but allow enough to cover each part of the door. Take care not to apply too much in one go, but work your way gradually towards the bottom of the door. Each coat will need to dry over one or two nights before the next coat can be added, so prepare to wait. Once the coat is finished, you can also add a further layer or door varnish which will enhance the door, and help to defend against fading.
Know Your Products
As fiberglass exterior doors become increasingly popular, manufacturers have been eager to develop stains and topcoats which actually fight the influence of the sun and wind in causing fading. You should therefore look out for gel stains and other suitable fiberglass door finishes which feature UVL protection. This chemical deflects the sun, and therefore doesn't allow it to change the color of your door. You may find other weathering stains which work just as effectively. These stains are not cheap, but they do help you to protect your door against fading.