Staining is an excellent option to get a wood finish for your fiberglass doors. One type of stain that is suitable for fiberglass doors is gel stain. Gel stains add protection against fading and moisture. We have researched relevant tips from the experts to help you with your gel stain concerns and drying your gel stain effectively.
When applying gel stain to your fiberglass door, you will need the patience to complete the process. Gel stains have a thicker consistency compared to varnish-type stains. When you apply your gel stains, you will need at least 8 to 12 hours before it completely dries. Gel stain brands will call for different drying times. Hence, always refer to the product instructions before applying gel stain.
It is tempting to speed up the drying time, but experts recommend following the minimum time for drying gel stains. Gel stains are tricky to apply, so it is best to stick with the standard. You will encounter some problems, but there are easy solutions you can follow. To help you get started, read further to learn more about drying your gel stains.
How Do You Speed Up Gel Stain Drying?
You will need to let gel stains dry for a minimum of 8 to 12 hours. Here are ways to speed up the drying time, though, if you do not want to wait for long hours:
1. Increase Temperature
The right temperature for drying gel stain is essential to get the intended finish for your fiberglass doors. According to Varathane, gel stain dries at temperatures ranging from 70-80° Fahrenheit. It is best to dry your gel stain in warm environments to cut the drying time. The solvent of the gel stain evaporates faster in warmer temperatures.
To dry the stain, you can use a heater to increase the temperature of your workspace. Keep the temperature within the range. If gel stain dries quickly, it can cause the uneven application on your doors. The excessive heat will not allow the gel stain to penetrate to the surface of your fiberglass door.
2. Lower Humidity
Aside from the temperature, also consider the humidity levels of your working environment. If the place feels humid, there is more moisture in the area. Conversely, if the humidity levels are low, the air can quickly draw out the moisture. To help dry the gel stain, maintain a relative humidity level of 50%.
What you can do to lower the humidity is to use an air conditioning unit. You can also use a portable dehumidifier which works well in isolated spaces. When the humidity is low, the solvent in the gel stain can dry at a much quicker pace.
3. Create Air Flow And Ventilation
When drying the gel stain, you will need a constant flow of air. You can use a stationary fan to dry out the surface evenly. Make sure that the area you are working in has proper ventilation where air can flow easily. If the place is damp, the moisture in the air can slow down the drying time of gel stain. However, you do not need to go far away. The outdoors is a great place to work on your staining project.
4. Apply Thinner Coats
Gel stains have a thick consistency. Even though you speed up the drying time, the surface of the fiberglass door cannot deeply absorb the gel stain. If the gel stain coating is too thick, it can take you up to 2 days to completely dry the gel stain. Therefore, you should only apply thinner coats of gel stain for a quick drying time.
If you think you have applied too thick, you can wipe off excess gel stain. You can use a clean cloth, brush, or applicator pad when removing the excess gel stain. Then, repeat wiping the stain off to get a thin layer. Be careful not to remove all the gel stains away.
Can You Use Gel Stain On A Fiberglass Door?
Gel stains bond well with a smooth and synthetic material like fiberglass. That is why gel stain is an excellent choice for textured fiberglass doors. Also, consider the exterior area where you installed your fiberglass door. The exterior is prone to moisture, which affects the quality of the door. For this purpose, choosing gel stains is best because this will not allow moisture to seep into the fiberglass door.
Here are some gel stain options you can use for your fiberglass doors:
Minwax Gel Stain
Varathane Premium Gel Stain
Old Masters Gel Stain
How Do You Apply Old Masters Gel Stain To A Fiberglass Door?
Before applying your Old Masters gel stain, gather all the materials and tools needed. Below are some tips from Old Masters before applying your gel stain:
- Always take time to read the instructions on the product before starting your project.
- Gather all suggested materials and tools for the project.
- Work in a dust-free, well-ventilated and lighted area.
- Practice applying the stain on your door to check the intended color. Before making the final attempt, do not forget to wipe the stain off.
- Stir the stain thoroughly before starting your staining project.
If you are ready, follow these steps to apply Old Masters gel stain:
- Coat the raised panels, inside panels, and the recessed areas surrounding it with a 2-inch foam brush. Include staining all the crevices and corners.
- For excess stains on the edges, remove them with mineral spirits.
- Remove any streaks or lap marks using a 2-inch bristle brush.
- Let the gel stain dry. The drying times can range from 8 to 24 hours.
- Protect the door by applying a door varnish. When brushing the gel stain, follow the direction of the grain.
For exterior doors, Old Masters recommends varnishing the exterior surface. By doing so, the varnish protects the door from UV rays and changing weather. You can try these door varnish products from Old Masters.
Can You Leave Gel Stain On Without Wiping?
If you leave the gel stain without wiping it off, the results may not be desirable. Remember that gel stains absorb differently from other traditional stains. If you leave a thick layer of gel stain, the stain will drip and cause an uneven finish. Drying will also take longer if you forget to wipe off the gel stain on the surface.
Why Is My Gel Stain Not Drying?
There are several reasons your gel stain is not drying. It is frustrating to see that even after you spend much time and effort, you will need to start all over again. The following could cause delays in drying your gel stain:
1. Thick Application
If you apply your gel stain too thick, it will be sticky to touch. Your gel stain might not dry at all even after 5 days. You will need to strip off the gel stain and reapply it again. To do this, add another layer of gel stain, let it sit for about 20 minutes before rubbing off. Always apply thinner coats of gel stain to avoid wasting time and effort.
2. Surface Not Sanded Enough
Another reason is the surface of your fiberglass door. If gel stain easily wipes off, it means that the door needs sanding. Follow these simple steps to sand the doors:
- Remove the stain using mineral spirits or naphthalene, then wipe it afterward with a clean cloth.
- Completely dry the door before sanding.
- Sand the doors and wipe off any dust before applying the gel stain.
3. Humidity And Temperature
Observe the optimal level of humidity and temperature for gel stain to dry. For example, you could be working during rainy or cold weather, which does not allow the fast drying of the solvent in the gel stain. Try increasing the temperature and decreasing the humidity to dry up the stain.
4. Old Gel Stain
If your paint is already old, your gel stain will be tacky. Check after a few days if the gel stain dries. If the surface is still sticky, wipe off the stain. Let it dry out completely before reapplying. Then, try your luck again by using a new can of gel stain.
Gel stains give that natural wood finish to your fiberglass doors. Although gel stains work well for fiberglass doors, the drying time is critical. You will need to wait for at least 8 to 12 hours before the stain dries completely. The way you apply the gel stain and other conditions like temperature, humidity, and airflow, affect the drying time. If the gel stain does not dry, you can repeat the process. Just take your time and practice to get better results.