Fiberglass Door Finishing Follies

Painting a fiberglass entry door ... what could go wrong? October 1, 2010

I took on a side project to paint a pre-primed fiberglass entry door for my uncle. I used a plastic bonding primer by xim for the plastic molding, and used BM fresh start for the rest of the door and trim and let it dry for a day. For the top coat I used spectra paints exterior latex enamel with ceramic microspheres. The color was tinted to bear paints bear rug. The first coat over the primer went well, but didnít flow as well as I liked so for the next coat I added 5 oz Floetrol and 4oz of water to the paint so that I could use my 414 double orifice fine finish tip. I sanded and shot the second coat seven hours later only to watch the nightmare unfold. The paint skidded off the surface giving the appearance as if I poured hot fudge down the front of the door.

I thought I had ruined the batch with the Floetrol, so I had another gallon made, waited a week sanded everything back smooth and went for it again only to have almost the same thing happen - crackling and crawling all over the surface. So I took the gallon into the paint store and upon their investigation they admitted to having overtinted the product. They remade a free gallon for me accept this time I had them make it for me in BM exterior latex enamel. They told me I could wait a day, send back the bad paint and shoot over it with the BM. The BM sprayed way better, layed down well, but when I came back to inspect it guess what. The left over paint underneath it crawled causing a similar effect on the surface. So now Iím back at square one. It has been two days and the paint still isnít hard enough to sand.

Do I need to strip and start over? Can I use stripper on a fiberglass door? Or do I just wait until its sandable and give it another shot. What was supposed to be something so easy has turned out to be one of the largest finishing problems Iíve ever had.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
Is that color a dark brown by chance?

From the original questioner:
Yes it is what I would describe as milk chocolate with a dash of red. I am currently in the process of stripping it all off. This is my first experience having to strip one of my projects.

From contributor D:
I am not sure it will be of any consolation but I have had nothing but trouble trying to get any dark brown WB products to not do what you are describing. I am not sure what causes them to be a pain but I never found a solution other than not spraying those dark brown colors. If you do try to spray it again, don't use a primer. I do not have the ability to explain it and I don't have scientific data to back it up but the only time I have gotten than to work is by using them as a self sealer and not using primer.