Create A Wood Look On A Smooth Finish Fiberglass Door

by THAT Painter Lady

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Questions From Readers

What if your front or entry door is a smooth white fiberglass door and all of your interior doors are oak stained wood? 

Would you want to create a wood looking entry door without having to replace the door? What if you could use paint finishes to look like wood?

This reader has asked how to accomplish this:

All of our interior doors are wood with medium oak stain, but our entry door is fiberglass with a smooth finish.  The builder left it white, but we'd like it to match our interior doors.  Is there a way to create a wood look so that, with stain, it will look more like the interior doors and trim?

I also received this question about the same time:

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My question is i have a double wide manufactured home and i have a ugly plain white metal door it has like a texture on it i would like to do something like paint it or use some sort of faux painting any ideals to make it more attractive thank you

I have painted and faux wood glazed many doors of the fiberglass or steel type. They have very smooth finish with raised panels but it seems that paint would never stick to the smooth finish.

You must prime! Primer is available for exterior use and it's usually an oil based product. You can't sand the door to give it stickability, so you need to apply a good primer coat to give the paint and glaze something to stick too.  

Pick a day that is temperate in climate. 

  • The primer will have time to cure and the weather must be neither too cold nor too hot.
  • The door should not be shut for about 12 hours, or you will risk the primer sticking to the door trim instead of the door.

Zinsser brand makes an excellent primer for just this purpose. Although they state that the primer will be ready for paint within 2 hours, I have not found this to be true on doors that will be closed against a door jam. 

If you are unsure or need more training… this video will be a huge help! 

Faux Wood Graining Doors 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken Schweizer September 23, 2007 at 12:08 pm

In an earlier article you mention that it is difficult to Faux wood grain on a door without any pre-existing grain. What do you do to “make” the grain?

Thanks,
Ken

Hi Ken,

If you are painting a door without a wood grain texture the graining technique will still work. The pre-existing grain does help… because the direction of the wood grain is important and the grain lines help guide you.

If the door isn’t paneled and you want that look… you can use tape to break up a door into sections. This takes a bit of shadow technique to get some good realism.

Click here for an article of painting a faux wood grain on a garage door. I know it is a paneled doors, but he has some great photos of faux wood grain and the angles you should be aware of when painting panels.

This Faux Painting Technique Book has over 65 pages of wood graining techniques and an entire section about designing panels with highlights and shadows.


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CRICKET May 21, 2010 at 3:47 am

tHIS MAY SEEM LIKE A FAR OUT IDEA; BUT WE HAVE A FIBERGLASS SHOWER STALL THAT HAS SOME IRON LIKE STAINS ON IT; WE CAN’T GET ALL THE STAINS OFF WITH CLEANER, SO WANT TO HIDE THEM IF WE CAN. CAN YOU FAUX PAINT A FIBERGLASS SHOWER WALL? IF SO, WHAT WOULD BE THE PROCESS AND WHAT KIND OF PRODUCT?

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