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Front Door Finish Is Coming Off When I Try to Clean Door

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Skeezix

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Fifteen years ago I replaced my front door with one from Lowes. It has a wood-like finish. I tried to clean off the water splash spots on the outside bottom of the door a few times, but soon realized that all I was doing was removing whatever finish had been applied when the door was manufactured. Now the bottom of the door looks faded and kinda crummy.

My neighbor across the street has the same problem. Guess that's what we get for buying finished doors at Lowes.

I don't think there is anything I can do to correct this, but I thought I'd ask here anyways?
 

joecaption

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Please post a picture and tell us what the doors made of.
 

Jeff Handy

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By finish coming off, do you mean the varnish, or the colored surface finish?

Yes, post pics and give more info.
 

Skeezix

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Hi,

Sorry for the delay.

I think it's a colored surface and not a varnish. I never put anything on the door's finish except "cleaner". And it's cleaning the coloring off.
More info: It's a door. It opens and closes. :dance chik:

I don't think the surface is real wood. Prolly some kind of plastic. It looks too "perfect" to be real wood. Silly thing cost $621 back in 2004 plus another $120 to install. Not such a good deal! When I attempted to clean the spots on the bottom, some brown finish rubbed onto the rag. Bummer.

Here are 3 photos:

20200512 Front Door Discoloration 01 800 px.jpg

20200512 Front Door Discoloration 02 800 px.jpg

20200512 Front Door Discoloration 03 800 px.jpg
 

Sparky617

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It looks like a fiberglass door. 15 years for a finish is pretty good. I had a stained fiberglass door on a house I bought in VA, sheesh 31 years ago now. Anyway, the finish lasted less than a year. The builder replaced it, that lasted a year. The builder then went with painting the doors to avoid the call backs for failed finishes. I cleaned the door and painted it. Clear finishes don't penetrate fiberglass like they do wood so the finishes just coat the surface. That's fine for paint, but for clear finishes not so much. Sikens makes a finish, I forget what it is that is supposed to be better.
 

Jeff Handy

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There might be a model number or info on the edge of the door, hinge side.
Or check your documents from when you bought it.
To check for warranty info.
Or call Lowes customer service to ask for warranty info or help with how to repaint.

Otherwise, you should just take the door off, clean with rubbing alcohol, sand off all loose finish, tack cloth for dust, and repaint with a close color match.
Either a multi-surface spray paint or an exterior grade Rustoleum made for plastic.

A paneled door is a real bear to paint, so many darn nooks and crannies.
Put on very light coats if you spray, and use an almost dry brush if liquid paint.
Paint all the moldings first.
 

Sparky617

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There might be a model number or info on the edge of the door, hinge side.
Or check your documents from when you bought it.
To check for warranty info.
Or call Lowes customer service to ask for warranty info or help with how to repaint.

Otherwise, you should just take the door off, clean with rubbing alcohol, sand off all loose finish, tack cloth for dust, and repaint with a close color match.
Either a multi-surface spray paint or an exterior grade Rustoleum made for plastic.

A paneled door is a real bear to paint, so many darn nooks and crannies.
Put on very light coats if you spray, and use an almost dry brush if liquid paint.
Paint all the moldings first.

The wood grain makes them easier to finish. Mine was painted with latex gloss or semi-gloss. It is holding up well.
 

Jeff Handy

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Yes the wood grain is more forgiving than a flat panel, hides minor imperfections well.
And the texture helps hold the paint.

If you added a storm door, that would help also.
You can get full view doors with a big glass panel.

However, then you must choose a paint that can take high heat, if your door is in strong sun it will really heat up in there.
 
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Sherwin Williams makes a paint for doors, called SnapDry, it is about $25 or $30 / quart, but it dries quickly, and has been durable, on the door I did, so far, been on there for about a year. One quart did the exterior of the door, with 1/2 or more left over. This door faces directly east, with no shade, in FLORIDA, so the door gets VERY HOT all summer long, til sun gets up towward high noon..... paint has withstood that, so far. And I did bright red, and it has not faded at all, so far..... diy, handyman wannabe , here.... Jim in Jax, FL
 

Johnboy555

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Jeff Handy

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I was thinking the same thing.

If you wet a little area of the door with plain water and the color deepens up again, then a finish restorer could work on that old finish.
 

EricK

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I've painted a few front doors including my own. I used a good primer and a paint from Kelly Moore to paint my front door five years ago. I used a roller and a brush; a roller to get the paint on quickly followed up by a brush for a consistent finish. I just hosed it down this week and it still looks great.

I'd consider using an oil-based primer. Just in case your current stain is oil-based you don't want to have a problem. Once that dries completely you can go over it with a good quality paint. Sherwin-Williams, Kelly Moore, Benjamin Moore are the better ones.

Spraying the door is much easier. I have a cheap sprayer that I have to admit I bought at harbor freight for $60. I get a really good finish out of it. But I only use water-based paint so I can clean it. I plan on getting a better sprayer but in the meantime this thing just keeps doing a great job for me!
 

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