How to Stain Fiberglass Doors to Look Like Wood

What You'll Need
Tintable fiberglass glaze
White China bristle brush
Burnt sienna latex paint
No-rinse detergent
Mineral spirits
Drop cloth
Application brush
Latex varnish
Soft latex brush

Fiberglass doors offer good protection from potential burglars, but do not always look aesthetically pleasing. You can buy fiberglass doors in many styles and designs. Due to the ease of producing textures in fiberglass you can purchase these doors with a wood grain texture already molded on the exterior. Most fiberglass doors, however, are molded in standard colors and painting or staining them is more complicated than just throwing the paint or stain on it. The following article will show you how to properly stain fiberglass doors and how to make them appear as they though they are wood.

Step 1 - Prepare the Fiberglass Door

Before you can stain fiberglass doors you have to prepare the surface. To do this you will be sanding the door. When you sand down fiberglass doors you are creating a texture that the stain can attach itself to. Use a sandpaper that is a very fine grit and sand the door lightly, as you do not want to remove any of the wood texture. Wipe the door down with a damp rag then dry it with another rag. There may be some dirt or grime on the door which will need to be removed and do this by cleaning the door with the no-rinse detergent. Soak a rag with the mineral spirits, ring it out, then wipe the door down. Hang the rag on a line to dry before disposing of it.

Step 2 - Staining

Staining fiberglass doors to look like wood is a two part process which begins with staining and following up with hand brushing. Mix one tablespoon of the burnt sienna (or other wood color) in the glaze and stir until completely combined. A chip brush is not high enough in quality to do a good job which is why the white China brush is used because they are soft and perfect for blending the stain. The sequence to stain the door is very important to the finished product. Begin with the raised panels then complete the rails and stiles. Place the glaze on the door sparingly using the brush to spread the glaze. Wait for the glaze to partially dry before continuing but don't wait too long or the glaze will be too dry to brush.

Step 3 - Dry Brushing

This is the most important step to get a wood stain on fiberglass doors. Drag the stain with the flow of the wood grain using the brush's flat edge at a slight angle and do it lightly. You do not want to remove too much of the stain. This technique creates an offset between the background and primary grains as this will create the wood look. 

Step 4 - Varnish

Allow the stain to dry for at least 2 days. Apply the varnish by using the latex brush. Pay special attention to the corners of the fiberglass doors and remove drips as they form. You will need two coats of varnish.