Can Fiberglass Front Doors Be Painted?

Can Fiberglass Front Doors Be Painted?

Front Door

Fiberglass front doors are very popular because they are attractive and durable. They can be textured or smooth, but the ones that are textured to look and feel like wood are most common. The doors come in colors or finished like wood. When a fiberglass door starts to look worn, chipped, and scratched, it can be painted to look new again.

Preparing the Door for Painting

Though it is easier to get good coverage when the door is removed and laid flat, it is often difficult to rehang the door. It is less complicated to carefully paint the door while it is in place. Painting a door while in place also makes it easier to keep a home secure during the painting process.

  • The success of a fiberglass door painting job depends on correctly preparing the door before painting starts. When a door is being painted in place, steps should be taken to protect the door frame and the floor below the door. Laying out a painter’s tarp and taping off the area around the door that will not be painted is a good start.
  • The door should be well-cleaned with soap and water, rinsed, then cleaned with a rag dipped in a cleaner such as mineral spirits or acetone. Some experts reverse the order of cleaners used. When the door is clean, it should be left to dry and for the odor from the cleaning chemicals to go away. There should be adequate ventilation during this process.
  • If there is wood trim around glass inserts, carefully sand it with 220-grit sandpaper being careful not to sand the fiberglass surface of the door. Wipe the door with a soft cloth dipped in acetone or a tack rag to get rid of any dust.
  • Carefully tape over glass inserts, hinges, and the doorknob without getting tape on surfaces to be painted.
  • Now, open the bonding primer, stir, and with a small brush apply a generous coat to the wood trim only. Dry this area thoroughly before proceeding.

Choosing and Applying the Paint

Now it is time to apply the main coat of paint. The type of paint used to paint a door is important. A door needs a very durable type of paint. The paint used for an exterior door should be classed as an exterior paint. These paints must also be rated for painting over fiberglass and come in gloss, semi gloss, or flat finishes. The best fiberglass paints are 100% acrylic, polyester, polyurethane, or epoxy.

If primer is being used first, keep with the same base material and manufacturer. Fiberglass doors come in different resins and finishes. This affects the paint choice. If the fiberglass is an epoxy resin, the paint choice should be an epoxy-based one. If the fiberglass is a polyester-resin, the paint chosen should be polyester-based.  

Oil-based and lacquer paints are not recommended for painting fiberglass doors. The correct type of paint will offer the best protection for a door. There will be a better bond when the right type of paint is used. Things like peeling, bubbling, or flaking will be avoided.

Painting the Door

  1. The first step in applying paint is to open the can and slowly stir the paint. Continue stirring slowly until the paint is evenly mixed. Stirring too fast may cause bubbles to form.
  2. Start the paint application process by dipping a small brush in the paint, then wiping off the excess on the edge of the can. Now, paint the wooden trim around the glass inserts.
  3. Use a larger paintbrush to paint the recessed door panels following the direction of the grain. Use even, smooth stokes and smooth out as you go to avoid runs and drips.
  4. Next, paint the stile, or vertical centerboard, of the door. This element requires an even up and down stroke of the paintbrush.
  5. Now, it is time to paint the horizontal rails of the door. Start at the top of the door and work downward. You will be using a side to side stroke to gently blend into previously painted areas.
  6. The remaining vertical stiles are painted next. This requires up and down paintbrush strokes and gentle blending at previously painted areas. Work from left to right and finish with the door edges.
  7. This main coat of paint needs to dry overnight. Then a person can choose to apply a second coat of paint or a sealant coat. This new coat of finish will need to dry thoroughly before the tape is removed and the door is ready to use again.

Do not hesitate to purchase fiberglass doors or to repaint an existing fiberglass door. The results will be worth the effort.