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daniel2229 04-09-2008 08:47 AM

fiberglass finish fiasco
I got a really nice fiberglass entry door from Lowes. The installations was great!

We bought fiberglass because we wanted to finish the inside in a faux wood grain. I looked at the spec sheet, and they suggested using a gel stain for the job. I bought a can of Minwax Gel Stain.

I really like Minwax stains for my finishes. I have been refinishing antiques and making new furniture for more than 30 years, and have never had a bad refinishing job. Until now...

The Minwax Gel Stain is nearly impossible to use. I tried direct application with a brush, and had to wip it off. I tried wiping on the stain with a cloth and had to wipe it off. I tried a dry brush application and settled on that.

The directions on the can state that you are to wait 6-8 hours dry time. I waited 24, and started to put on the second drybrush coat. I started to melt off the original layer, and caused all sorts of problems. Some spots were clumpy and others the finish wore off to the bare.

I thought, OK, I 'll wait 48 hours and put on yet another coat to smooth out the finish. Wrong -- it looked so bad, I decided to remove the whole finish.

Oh Oh, nothing short of harsh chemicals would remove the finish now. Minwax recommends paint thinnner for clean-up, but that wouldn't even touch the finish now.

So now the door has been primed and painted a nice color just darker than the walls.

I won't be buying any more Minwax Gel Coat! Unless your a genie, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

glennjanie 04-10-2008 10:38 AM

Hello Daniel:
Sorry about your bad experience with the Minwax stain. Fiberglass doors are very difficult to stain because they don't absorb any of the stain, it is just on the surface and subject to be messed up easily. I would not have put another coat of stain on it but, rather spray a coat of varnish or polyurethane on to cover the stain.

daniel2229 04-18-2008 02:33 PM

Thanks for comiserating with me on my stain fiasco. I have since talked to a gentlemen who told me he uses art pigments thinned with linseed oil. He wipes on the stain then finishes the door with a poly spray.

I think my problem could have been solved if I had thinned the gel stain down a bit.

Square Eye 04-18-2008 05:12 PM

Isn't the gel stain intended to level deep grain? And as a side, give the appearance of rough grain in a faux finish application?
I can certainly see that a spray-on topcoat would have a definite advantage if you have problems with the base coat softening.

Cool thread :)
It's always good to learn from others even if it didn't turn out as planned.

Jack322 12-08-2012 01:26 PM

I am on here today because my story is virtually the same as yours. I have heard on the radio home repair shows that fiberglass doors can be stained to look like wood but it always seemed odd to me because fiberglass does not absorb like wood. But when we got our new door my wife wanted a wood look on the inside. I wanted to just paint the whole door the same color inside and out but I trusted the radio guys done and told my wife I'd give the interior a wood look. Minwax Gel Stain was the recommended product so I figured it must work. Just could not get an even finish. And yes, it does take forever to dry. Went on with another coat - as you did - hoping to even things out, but still looks pretty bad. Was thinking of doing yet another coat, but after hearing your story that does not sound like a good idea. Now I am not sure what to do. I don't want to even think of trying to strip the gel stain off. If I decide to paint right over it will I need to use an enamel or will an acrylic work?

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