How do I stain a fiberglass sidelite or door panel?
Step #1: Selecting stain.
Peachtree recommends Old Masters gelled stain for easiest use and best results- but any good quality artist oil or solid-color linseed oil stain will do the job. The Newport panels have composite surfaces which have a wood-like texture but does not absorb stain to the extent wood does. Consequently, the color you get may be a shade or so lighter than the manufacturer's color sample.
Step #2: Selecting paint.
You may finish these panels with any good exterior grade acrylic latex or oil base paint. The door comes ready for the finish coat--no priming needed.
Step #3: Preparation.
The frame components of your entry system are made of Ponderosa Pine and furnished either primed or clear (optional) to be painted or stained. While no special preparation is required prior to finishing frame components, we do recommend the following for best results:
- Fill and sand all nail holes.
- Complete all required caulking.
- Protect weather-stripping from stain either by masking or by removal until finishing is complete.
- The best stain match between the composite elements and the Ponderosa Pine components can be achieved when you apply a coat of sanding sealer to the wood parts before staining.
- Lightly rub sidelites and door with #00 steel wool.
- Then wipe clean with a mild detergent, rinse thoroughly and allow to dry before painting or staining.
- Do not sand.
- Do not use acetone or lacquer thinner.
- All components should be stained or painted and protective clear top coating applied reasonably soon following installation.
- These should never be finished in direct sunlight when surface temperatures exceed those recommended by the stain or paint manufacturer.
Step #4: Staining.
These stains should be applied according to manufacturer's recommendations with a clean, soft rag or sponge. They require no thinning (although thinning with mineral spirits or adding it to the rag will increase working time and spreadability) and achieve a rich, deep color in one application. Note: It is best to try staining and wiping a small section of the frame to see if the resulting tint is what you desire before proceeding too far. If you are not satisfied with the color, the door can by returned to its original condition by cleaning thoroughly with mineral spirits. This has to be done within a reasonable amount of time from when the stain was applied.
- Use a circular motion when applying stain. It is possible to get a wide range of shades using the same color by using more or less gelled stain.
- Once color has been established, continue with frame and sidelites, concentrating on the sculptured areas of the sidelites, then the flat horizontal section, then the vertical sections.
- For best result, do small sections at a time.
- When you have finished a section, take a clean, dry brush (2"-4", 100 % China bristle brush) and begin to gently sweep or "feather" the stain in the direction of the grain. This helps to blend the stain into the grain.
- Wipe excess stain from brush onto a clean rag. The longer the stain is worked with this brush, the lighter the resulting color will be.
- Make sure to feather the entire sidelite, brushing each section separately, always with the direction of the grain.
- Apply stain to door in the same fashion.
Available at most art supply stores and even at most stores selling a general line of paints and stains.
- Apply a few drops of boiled linseed oil or mineral spirits to a soft, clean rag. this will assist the artist oil in spreading smoothly.
- Now, apply artist oil onto cloth and begin to spread it on, following the same procedures used for the Old Masters gelled stain.
- Apply additional linseed oil or mineral spirits to rag as needed throughout staining process.
- With this material, allow 24 to 48 hours to dry before top coating.
Linseed Oil-based Stains.
Follow manufacturer's instructions for applying these solid color linseed oil stains. Generally, the best results are achieved when applied with a clean rag or brushed on a horizontal surface. It is suggested to achieve colors that are darker than the standard catalog finish, pour off some of the top fluids in an un-stirred can and apply the remaining heavy pigmented material. Now, apply stain onto cloth and begin to spread it on, following the same procedures used for the Old Masters gelled stains. With this material, like with artist oils, allow 24 to 48 hours to dry before top coating.
One way to control the final color is adjusting the amount of stain you apply. The more you apply, the deeper and darker the finish becomes. Be sure to apply the stain evenly across the surface of the door to ensure consistency in color. Heavier application may require wiping in the direction of the grain with a clean rag prior to feathering with a brush.
For an even darker look, let the stain stand for several minutes, then brush lightly. For a lighter finish, brush immediately and with little more pressure, wiping the excess stain from the brush frequently.
Note: Make sure you are satisfied with the finish appearance and color of the stain prior to applying the top coat. Once the top coat is applied, refinishing the stain becomes very difficult.
Step #5: Top Coating.
These panels provide a highly stable substrates that dramatically reduces the tendency of applied finishes to peel or crack, but like a wood door, a stained finish on these panels exposed to the elements must be protected from fading by an initial application of two heavy coats of exterior grade, UV stabilized, clear polyurethane, renewed about every two years-more often where subjected to strong sunlight and harsh elements. Always apply these types of coating as per the manufacturer's recommendations. If you brush the top coat, be sure the door is thoroughly dry, otherwise you will get a non-uniform look to the stain.