DIY Projects

How to Stain Masonite Fiberglass Doors

Submitted by: Woody Wall on November 25, 2011

Sourced from STAINING INSTRUCTIONS FOR MASONITE® FIBERGLASS ENTRY SYSTEMS Brochure

Please read and understand the entire staining procedure before attempting to finish the door. Be sure to follow the (stain and top-coat) manufacturers detailed application instructions on the product label.

A. How to start

Doors can be stained either hanging in the opening or removed from the frame (recommended). Should you remove the door, take care to protect it from damage. Sidelites will need to be finished vertically. To remove the door from the frame, use a center punch and hammer. Strike the hinge pin from the bottom until it pops up (for outswing units - hinge leaf must be removed from the door). Drive the hinge pin as far as possible with the punch. Using a pair of pliers, grasp the hinge pin and, while twisting, pull the pin out. Remove all door hardware.

B. Preparing the door surface

IMPORTANT: Dust, debris and other surface contaminants can accumulate on the surface of the door. Therefore, to achieve best results and maximum coating adhesion, wipe/clean all surfaces of the door panel(s) and sidelite(s) thoroughly with acetone or mineral spirits. Mask (tape) off all surfaces that will not be stained.

C. Staining the Door

Use a high quality, heavily pigmented, oil-based stain (recommended). Gel stains can also be used. Before starting, and occasionally throughout the project, stir the stain until the texture is creamy. We recommend that before starting, you try staining a small inconspicuous area of the door to achieve the desired color.

One coat of stain is required with the recommended (per manufacturer’s instructions) dry time needed between sides. The stain should be applied in the following order working on one small section of the door at a time.

Finishing Order (See Figure 1):

    1. Panels and sticking (moulding profiles)
    2. Vertical center areas (mullions)
    3. Horizontal areas (rails)
    4. Outside vertical areas (stiles)
    5. Edge of door or stiles

Staining (Figure 2):

    1. Put on gloves and prepare your materials.
    2. Stir stain thoroughly using smooth strokes, avoid creating bubbles and do not shake the stain container.
    3. Working in the specified order and individual section, dip the foam brush into the stain then use the rim of the container to release any excess. Use the foam brush to apply the stain onto the section. Using a cloth, rub the stain into the embossed wood-grain ensuring complete and even coverage. Stop between sections to tidy up the perimeter with a rag and mineral spirits. Clean edges will help define the individual components of the door. If preferred, the subtle color variation found in wood can be replicated by selective removal of the stain. Using a rag or cheese cloth, gently rub the surface removing very small amounts of stain. Apply varying levels of pressure and work in the direction of the grain. Excessive pressure will remove too much stain.
    4. Once the door has been completely stained, check for any drips. While the stain is still wet, lightly brush the entire surface of the door with a china bristle brush. Use long strokes and work in the direction of the grain to even out color and achieve consistency.
    5. Let the first stained surface dry, per the stain manufacturer’s recommended drying time, before proceeding to the second side.
    6. If you prefer a darker appearance, repeat staining steps one through five only after first coat is completely dry. Do not sand between staining coats.

D. Sealing or applying the top-coat (Figure 3)

The top-coat or sealant for your door is very important and required for weatherability. It protects the stained door from the elements and makes the door surface washable. Be sure that the stain coating is completely dry and then apply a high-quality, UV stabilized, clear exterior polyurethane coating (satin or low gloss) – used for any normal exterior wood application.

    1. Stir top coat thoroughly using smooth strokes, avoid creating bubbles and do not shake the top coat container.
    2. Do not overload the brush. Dip the end of the brush into the coating and gently slide the flat side of the brush against the edge of the container to remove the excess.
Note: We recommend that all 6 sides (front and back faces plus all four edges) be sealed to eliminate moisture absorption. The bottom of your door panel(s) may contain a factory installed weatherstripping (sweep) which is sealed prior to installation. Failure to observe this recommendation may void the warranty.
    3. Apply with even gentle strokes. Press hard enough to flex the bristles just a little and then pull the brush gently along the door’s surface.
    4. As you apply the sealant, pull the brush quickly along the area two or three times lightly to even out the brush strokes.
    5. Allow the first coat to dry completely (follow manufacturer’s recommendations) and apply at least one more coat using the same steps as above. A minimum of two coats is required for complete protection and the door should be resealed annually to ensure lasting protection of the finish.
    6. After both sides of the door have been top-coated (twice) and are completely dry, remove the paper and tape from the glass and protected surfaces.
    7. Clean the glass with window cleaner and remove any finishing materials from the glass with a safety razor.
    8. Replace door back into frame.

Requirements

Find a well-lit staining location that is dust-free, well ventilated and within the climate conditions recommended by the stain/top-coat manufacturer.

You will need the following:

Coatings and accessories:

  • Mineral spirits or acetone
  • One pair of rubber gloves
  • Lint-free rags or cheese cloth (recommended)
  • Stir sticks
  • 2" wide foam brush
  • Masking tape
  • Safety razor blades
  • High-quality, exterior grade, UV stabilized polyurethane sealant (satin or low gloss)
  • 2-1/2"- wide china bristle brush

Stain:

  • High-quality, opaque (non-transparent), heavily pigmented, oil-based stain (recommended)
  • Gel stains can also be used
  • Semi-transparent stains are not recommended

Tools:

  • Hammer
  • Center punch
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Safety glasses

Maintenance

    1. In the event that the door is scratched after finishing, the damaged area can be lightly sanded using 400-grit sandpaper (do not over-sand the surface). Follow the staining and top-coat procedures above.
    2. Dirt and watermarks can build up on the surface of your finished door over time. Extend the life of the stain and top-coat by cleaning the door several times a year. Clean with warm soapy water, rinse and towel dry.
    3. A minimum of two coats of top-coat are initially required for complete protection. The door system should be resealed annually to ensure lasting protection of the finish.


Figure 1


Figure 2


Figure 3