A custom wooden grain door with a curved lite kit.

How to Refinish Wood Grain Fiberglass Doors

Why Refinish a Wood Grain FRP Door?

Every door, even the resilient doors of Special-Lite, need some periodic care to ensure both functional and appearance standards. You know that repainting a hollow metal door and refinishing a wood door require different processes. Most of the Special-Lite FRP doors are similar to the metal door in that a simple repainting will spruce it up if the finish looks too worn.

But wood grain FRP doors, such as our SL-18 and SL-19 models, are yet another matter. Their refinishing is similar to that of a wood door. (Although, if you wish, you can also paint these.)

This image shows what the door used to illustrate this article looked like before it was refinished.
Before Refinishing

When is Refinishing Needed?

It can vary significantly based on climate and UV exposure. But we generally recommend refinishing for wood grain FRP doors every seven to ten years.

However, there is no need to guess about the process or the materials you’ll need.

We have created easy-to-understand instructions that walk through the entire process. Better yet, we also have a short video that does the same thing (see below)!

In short order, you’ll be a wood grain refinishing pro.

Safety first – Before refinishing a wood grain door, you should have a few key items:

  • Nitrile or latex gloves
  • Eye protection
  • A face mask – depending on the chemicals you choose.

Materials & Tools Needed to Refinish Woodgrain Doors

  • Masking tape
  • Paint and varnish stripper
  • Inexpensive brush for applying stripper
  • 4” to 6” wide putty knife
  • Brass bristle brush
  • Wire brush
  • Mineral spirits
  • Tack cloth
  • Exterior grade stain (oil-based recommended)
  • Exterior grade polyurethane
  • Staining pads or brush
  • High-quality finish brush
Two men are about to apply a stripping agent. The outer edge of the door shows masking tape.
Step 2: Mask off the Aluminum Perimeter.

Step-by-Step Guide to Woodgrain Refinishing

Note: This procedure describes the removal of the existing clear coat. You should NOT remove the underlying stain.

  1. Remove the door from its frame. Then, remove all hardware and glass.
  2. Use masking tape to mask off the aluminum casing around the door’s perimeter. Mask off the aluminum perimeter.
  3. Using a cheap brush, apply the stripper. Allow it to stand for approximately 1 hour.
  4. Remove the stripper beginning with the putty knife. Be sure you hold it at such an angle that you do not gouge the sheet. This will remove the clear coat from the higher surfaces.
  5. Continue removing the stripper with a stiff wire or brass bristle brush. This will remove the clear coat that is deep in the grain.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for the other side of the door.
  7. Now, it’s time to clean the door. You can start with air pressure if you have it available. Then use mineral spirits to wipe down the surface, allowing it to dry thoroughly. Then make a final wipe-down with a tack cloth.
  8. Apply the stain with a brush or staining pad, following the instructions from the manufacturer, including drying time.
  9. When the stain is dry, apply the first Polyurethane clear coat. Then, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying a second coat.
  10. When the second coat is dry to the touch, re-install the glass kit and glass and any hardware that you removed.
  11. Rehang the door.
Step 3: Apply stripper using a cheap brush.
Step 5: Remove the stripper using a brush.
Next Steps

Ready to talk more about the Wood Grain Doors Special-Lite offer?