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Painting a Fiberglass Door
Question


Hi, How to paint new fiberglass front doors?  Is primer recommended?  What kind of paint?  Heard several recommendations:  latex enamel w/ no primer needed; solvent clean first, then exterior bonding latex primer;  100% acrylic binders latex enamel.  Thanks for any help you can give.  What to do? BGaither

Answer
For a new fiberglass door, I like to clean with denatured alcohol, and a synthetic scrach-pad, or Between Coat Finish Pad from Norton. Scrub with the alcohol, then wipe with a dry cloth to remove loosened contamination. Let dry about 30 minutes. Then you are ready to prime. You need a very specialized primer, because fiberglass is very dense and yet it is prone to some expansion and contraction, so the primer has to grab tight and still stretch a little, so it does not sheer off. 
My best advice for a primer is from Insl-X / Coronado called Stix (prod# SXA-110).  I would topcoat with a top grade 100% Acrylic, even an Industrial Acrylic like Coronado's 90-1, or equivalent product. The great thing about the acrylics is long term color and gloss retention. The downside is the paint dries instantly going on and is difficult to work with.
Best advice when painting a door is to remove and lay down flat, so paint will level and smooth out more than when vertical. Do panels first, then the main stiles of the door. If not possible to remove the door, you can still get a nice job using some proven methods and techniques. If you are painting the door yourself, you may be interested in a Door Painting DVD we have produced showing a good, quick method for great results when painting doors.  Hope this helps. Let us know if we can assist you further.

Doug

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* Pro Tips *
When using Acrylic paint, lightly moisten surfaces to be painted with a damp cloth for better spread and easier job.